Aldin Popaja

 

 Aldin Popaja is a graduate from two art schools who first drew attention to himself as a figural painter following the world-wide trend of new figuration, which had affected art in numerous modifications. It may be peculiar that only after having moved to the Czech Republic Aldin Popaja started working with the theme of mediaeval tombstones called “stečky” found only in his homeland of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their historical explanation still remains unclear, as though they were offering an undecipherable message, and so they are interpreted in a variety of ways. However, Aldin Popaja does not capture their form or treat them as a landscape element, he is not interested in them as a historiographer either, but he sensitively perceives their mysterious speech, he listens to the sound of the places. In his paintings the stones lose their hardness and weight, their structure and outline seem blurred, they are not firmly anchored in land but they levitate in an ungraspable unearthly space. Images drawn from the tombstone reliefs, originally in greater detail, for instance a whole figure with its hand raised in a greeting gesture, later with more focus on the signs and symbols used on the tombstones. Most often it is the sign of the cross which Aldin Popaja modifies and confronts with other structures. In the new spatial conditions they relativize the habitually acquired meanings. In his paintings the hardness of soil, the hardness of stone become symbols of a kind, a spiritual message. It seems as if signs and symbols levitate through space on their own, disappearing and suddenly reappearing. With time, the shapes and symbols originating from those engraved in the solid material of land are confronted with immaterial, imaginary geometrical shapes. Originally these shapes existed as a grid in the second plan of the painting. In recent works, however, this geometrical web, the light stain quality of which evokes an idea of light, has permeated the whole area of the canvas. 

 

Aldin Popaja
born January 11th, 1971, in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina

education:
1990 - 1995 Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo,
1995 – 2000 Academy of Applied Art in Prague,

pedagogical activity:
2001- 2003 assistant at the Painting Studio (prof. Pavel Nešleha) at the Academy of Applied Art in Prague
2003 - 2010 assistant at the Painting Studio (doc. Stanislav Diviš), same as above
Lives and works in Prague