Relja Rajkovic (Croazia – EU) was in Residence in October 2015
The olive tree as a motif came about somewhat logically, through remembering the things that surround me – both in places I have lived and where I will be staying as a guest artist. And so my motif also joins together people that have for generations cultivated this tree of life and nourishment. While sketching the old olive trees on the south slopes of Grisignane – capturing that twisting rhythm of knots – I began to visualize a three dimensional metal sculpture, a trio of identical flat iron plates. During the initial casting of the plates I intentionally left more material which I later melted into the final shapes at the ends of some of the branches. I later soldered copper details and accents to the iron. The piece became truly exciting once the plates were connected into a triangular shape, gaining a three-dimensionality that embraces the Umbrian landscape.
“Three Olives”/ “Three Olive Trees” is my first permanent outdoor installation in Italy – as an artist, this is very dear to me. During my ten days in Podere Conte Racani I felt complete freedom, without a schedule and without the restrictions that my daily routine imposes and to which I’ve become accustomed to. Right before my second visit, I felt as if I was simply returning to finish something that I cared deeply about and wanted to see fully realized.
After the piece was installed at Podere Conte Racani, the reaction at the symposium from the people that I met during my stay was overwhelming. The working conditions were similar to what I’m used to with my own metal working. The manufacturers of the welding and angle grinding machines as well as the hand tools are pretty much the same. The strength and consistency of the electrical current throughout the work was great and I’m especially grateful for the logistics of getting the necessary welding electrodes.
What I will most remember from meeting the people here is a kind of genuine hospitality that isn’t overbearing, but fosters comradery. Along with openness, sportsmanship and similar affinities, these seem like ideal foundations for a lasting friendship. .Relja Rajkovic 19.X 2015
For a Relja video interview go HERE