I thought I would begin a little feature, where every week I include a short biography and some works from various ‘Outsider Artists’. Today, I am going to begin with the work and life of Vojislav Jakic.
Vojislav Jakic (1932-2003)
Moving to Montenegro from Serbia when he was three years old, Jakic was the son of a strict Serbian Orthodox father. His brother and sister died from scarlet fever and diphtheria respectively and his father’s profession was frowned upon by communist authorities; he was an ‘outsider’ even at school. Experiencing poverty in his early life, Jakic managed to scrape together money by painting portraits of the dead for their grieving families. He often created these portraits using the deceased’s passport photographs and it was during his time creating these works that his exceptional drawing talent was really first identified. Jakic left for Belgrade in 1952 where learned how to draw and sculpt.
In 1970, Jakic produced his semi-autobiographical book entitled Nemanikuce (Homeless), where themes of suffering, pain and death were prominent. His paintings continually focused on similar themes, filling the pages he worked on completely. This concept of leaving no area of the page untouched is something that is commonly found amongst the works of ‘Outsider Artists’. It suggests a compulsion to fill every gap; to leave no free space – perhaps, much like the thoughts inside our brain.
Jakic most typically created impressive, large scale pieces with ballpoint pen, pastels or gouache. The pieces were principally nightmarishly dark in the content, focusing on motifs such as human insides, insects, death and bones. His paintings are raw, portraying the suffering and fear of death he felt as a person. One of his works he describes as being ‘neither a drawing nor a painting, but a sedimentary deposit of suffering.’