Author: Jenya Stashkov, art critic
Contemporary photographers are tasked with defining their social and aesthetic position through their practice. The combination of social and aesthetic (artistic) optics is the most interesting and important direction in the development of contemporary photography. Photographers must constantly reinvent and redefine their role in art and society if they want to be truly relevant. Irina Ardan is an amazing example of a photographer who formulated her own unique social and aesthetic strategy of self-identification.
Irina Ardan is a contemporary photographer based in Montenegro, and her works have been exhibited in many countries around the world. As a photographer, Ardan declares that she works with people and for people. But for her, people are not just a source of visual content. People are an important part of the meta-narrative discourse that Irina“s art practise is dedicated to. The photographer offers his model not a photo shoot but a deep journey with elements of psychological analysis, art therapy, and an in-depth interview. Usually, the result is mainly appreciated in photography. But Irina Ardan reverses this value system and returns high value to the process of photographing and preparing for the process of photographing. This is a social function of the photographer”s concern for the model. However, the result (the final photos) does not seem optional or unconvincing (as often happens as a result of most process-oriented art practices).
Irina Ardan“s detailed and professionally verified works amaze with their multitude of techniques: sophisticated chiaroscuro, complex compositions, counterpoint of static and dynamics, text elements, minimalistic colour palettes, symbolism, and references to tribal cultures. It is not surprising that one of the terms that Irina Ardan uses to describe her photography is “magical doing”. The social value of the artist as a magical doer is a very interesting concept. In the modern (vulgar) view, a magician is someone who does miracles. However, in the root culture, a magician is someone who can calm, excite, and solve problems. In other words, a “mystical volunteer”. This is an amazing approach for a photographer to get rid of her own egocentrism. Radical egocentrism is an established practise of self-promotion. And it should be understood that this practise is quite toxic and outdated. Therefore, more and more contemporary artists are asking themselves: Who is my art intended for? What benefit can my art bring? Can my art cause anyone pain or anxiety? Irina Ardan”s approach is as honest as possible. She sees her photographic career as a way of serving people, an opportunity for people to open their hearts to the world and tell the world their innermost stories. This deserves respect and praise.
This world needs more talented and socially caring photographers with bright personalities. If you are looking for such a person, pay attention to Irina Ardan. Her outstanding work will not leave you indifferent. Or maybe you should go on a deep journey with Irina and become her model? Try it! Who knows?