And I repeat: Take it, take it!
2001, oil on canvas, 173×81 cm
I have been drinking you but not drunk you up, Love
2001, oil on canvas, 173×81 cm
How coud the whole soul be given to anouther soul
2001, oil on canvas, 93×210 cm
And when I would fancy the dance of the stars
2001, oil on canvas, 140×140 cm
Moon is my mother. She is not as gentele as Maria
2001, oil on canvas, 140×145 cm
Only remove the veil, veil, veil
2001, oil on canvas, 140×145 cm


The goal of Natalija Šeruga's artistic creation is not merely a painting as its end result, but also the process of painting, which in her case has characteristics of a ritual. The painter first stretches a piece of canvas onto metal tenterhooks wrapped with white cloth. Then she pierces the canvas with a needle and fastens it to the tenterhooks. She sews slowly and with mental concentration. She almost ritually performs a stitch after stitch. After all, it takes time to enter a painting. Rhythmic gestures that the painter performs help achieve the concentration of the spirit and the concentration of the spirit leads into contemplation that touches upon "consecrated" and therefore taboo topics. The act of painting is thus made more prominent. The symbolic meaning In the sense of a subtle paraphrasing of the content being revealed on the canvas joins this characteristic process and contemplation.

The piercing of the canvas is really its degradation, a painful appropriation of its body, an encroachment upon its wholeness, the creation of mutilation of what represents the bearer of the body of the painting. And this is merely a conceptual introduction that generally matches the content of the painting. What the physical wound of the body of the painting really predicts is the punctum of what hits us about the painting in an instant and may even wound our gaze. These are bones and parts of human body in the painting, which are shown (how interesting!) more or less in counterpoints to decorative, viably ornamented bodies. Body art made human body a primary artistic event. Issues that were almost taboo were researched on the body: where the border between human and inhuman is, where the border between a human being and a machine is, what the significance of meeting with the mortality of our own bodies is, are we ready to face it without the inner moral imperative screaming inside us etc. And the painter translates this research into art content; the events are condensed on the art surface, where bones and parts of human body appear, which are the consequences of its dissection, degradation and even hint to a possibility of its annulment, death.

In the art content there is a mysterious connotation of life and its extensiveness, which is conditioned by the body, which defines our primary essence of being. Love and pain, duration and end come with the body. The body is not a play, but a real and an experienced fact. And this physicality does not merely bring deliverance and light, it carries with it an incessant accompanying sound of pain. Therefore the body cannot only be looked at as beautiful if it brings us pleasure, we cannot only symbolically transform its phenomenon into an ornament, adornment, we have to tackle its pain as well. The body is really the mystery of our life, the bone and pain of borders between life and death. Therefore it is a mystery that we have to solve. The painter shows it covered with a veil. Uncover it.

Natalija Šeruga's painting - from the process of preparation to the final execution - contains some subtle note that translates terror and shock into something mysterious, perhaps even dignified and therefore exquisite. The process of making those objects that are otherwise shocking into something beautiful creates an opposite effect: the "terror" contained in her pictures becomes "beautiful" and acceptable due to its mystery. The painter's credo could be phrased as poetical answer seeking to "consecrated" and taboo questions. The content of her paintings and her art is intimate, however, it also opens up to the observer who can easily appropriate it. Her sublime aesthetics perhaps even enables the observer to embrace also terror, the end and death. It could be that Natalija softens taboos, terror and fear and gives them meaning with her aesthetics.

Polona Lovsin
(text from the catalogue Natalija Šeruga: Bolest in strast sta v isti krozni crti /Pain and Passion are on the Same Circular Line/ , Art Gallery Maribor, 2002, Slovenia)