I met Ana ten years ago, when I was living in Munich. She was a friend of Anita Gessulat, her galerist at that time. When I think of Ana I always have to think of her way of seeing things, which always allow me a different perspective on seeing things. The inspiring conversations we have, her creativity and last but not least: her beauty, inside out.

Ana, you just recently just moved back to Munich, before living in Cologne for a couple of years. How do you feel now that you are back?
I can’t stress enough how much I disliked being in Cologne. And before the art community will jump on me and put me in a conservative box together with the Munich vibe, I will say something about my background so that people can understand why this answer is crucial and going to be really long. I grew up in Serbia, in an organised, back then corrupted society, where most of the time most of us didn’t have enough of … anything! Even now polarisation is still huge there. On the street, you can see people looking like they are coming out from Vogue and the rest is just without teeth. When I was in basic school we had the war in Bosnia, in my high school, the NATO air strikes bombed us from March to June day and night. And the only thing I wanted to do is art and especially art that doesn’t have to do anything with that. I hate when I hear that art must or should be “socially” active. I just don’t believe in that. Art and artists are absolutely “antisocial”. You have to be as subjective as possible to paint a picture. You must only pursue what you have in your own pocket. You have to commit yourself to Sezanne, to de Kooning, to pictures. That’s all you need. And I don’t want the situation in my country to define the subject of my art. And I don’t have to live in Berlin to do good art.    

“I hate when I hear that art must or should be “socially” active. I just don’t believe in that. Art and artists are absolutely “antisocial”.”

Munich is a over-organised, stable town, where most of the stuff is actually working, it calms me, it’s letting me be focused only on my work. The order around is influencing my work in an incredible way. I can’t say the same thing about Cologne. I need to see beauty. I need to see clean streets. Clean facades. I even need Munich’s “coldness”. I am someone who lives in my own bubble. Even though this may seem very restricted, it is the only way I can truly express myself. But I also understand why other artists want to run away from here.    

Why do some cities influence us more than others. Why do we feel like we feel in certain cities? 
I tend to be very messy, inside and outside. As I explained before, Munich is representing everything opposite of that and is something I really need so I can truly function. In Munich, I saw the first work of modern art in reality. I couldn’t travel until I was 25 years old and we didn’t have a working museum of modern art until 2019. Here I could study and be accepted as an artist. So it’s precisely clear why this town is important to me. I am sure it is the same with other people and other towns. Our backgrounds are shaping our taste and desires, it’s a combination of coincidence and the possibilities we have.

What is your favorite place in the world – why?
Desert. Any kind of desert. I am a big desert lover. Just empty space. No humans, or just a few. When you are so small in front of nature, your everyday problems are disappearing. Hell, it feels good!

“I am a big desert lover. Just empty space. No humans, or just a few. When you are so small in front of nature, your everyday problems are disappearing. Hell, it feels good”

When did you know that you want to be an artist?
In 1991. And in 1995 I convinced my parents to send me to an art high school, in another town, alone, with basically no money and no clue what art is. They still can’t believe they actually let me go. I was 14. But if you would know me back then you would know that I could sell you a hot potato convincing you it’s a magic stone. Nevertheless, secretly and behind my back, they signed me up for some school of economics. I was furious knowing my name was just formally on that list. I didn’t speak to them for the whole summer. 

Henry, Henry Nero, Toulouse and Giancarlo, Acrylic on canvas 4x300x190cm, 2020

What would you have done if you don’t become an artist? 
That was never an option.

Which piece of art would you like to own?
Art I really admire and art I wish to be in my living area is not always the same thing. As most of the hours of the day I spend in my studio working with hot magma, flashing pink or neon orange, in my living area I aim to be minimalistic and color restricted. In fact, in my living room, you will find objects only in bright gray. Art that I truly respect I like to see in the museum. Maybe one Cy Twombly would be nice to have.   

What was the best advice someone gave you? 
“This is all shit, start from the beginning on”.

What kind of art do you have at home?
My studio is connected to my apartment. Or better said my apartment is connected to my studio. My paintings are everywhere down the hallway and in the library room. In my sleeping room, I just have a big black canvas from an unknown artist. In the living room on the left side is Adrian Wall’s “The Scoop”, a painting sculpture, and on the right is Analia Martinez’s paper sculpture “Head” from the series “Inventar”. 

Scarlet, Acrylic on canvas, 120x80cm, 2020

What was the best advice someone gave you? 
“This is all shit, start from the beginning on”.

That sentence saves my life every time I am driving to a dead-end in my work, just because of stubbornness that doesn’t want to fail and doesn’t accept bad pictures, bad series, bad me. I have the need to impress you with everything I do. Normally, I always have a plan, I paint very systematically, more paintings at the time, with a precise idea of what I want to reach. But sometimes this idea is just gone in the middle of the work. And then I am standing there, miserable, and desperate, holding on the idea I should just put in the trash.

“Sometimes I paint shit and it’s ok” is what I have to remind myself very often. 

“Social media is simply a platform for information. You can either choose to use it unconsciously or consciously. The choice is yours.”

What advice would you have given your younger self and why?
Go more into the theory. Make sure you know everything that happened in history. And then drop it all. Try to keep things intuitively open. 

You are on Instagram. In what way do you interact with it. And in what way does it influence or change your job?
If you think social media is toxic, it just means how you use it, is toxic. Social media is simply a platform for information. You can either choose to use it unconsciously or consciously. The choice is yours.

Which of your art pieces you wishes you didn’t sell but keep for yourself. And why?
Some paintings are more important in the whole process of developing than others. They represent the crossroad and the reason why I turned left or right. They are my diary and reminder. I look at my old work over and over again. Repetition is the subject in my work and it is highly important for me to be able to access these important paintings anytime. Without them, I can’t continue further. So, yes! Some of them are not for sale. And yes, in the past I made mistakes and sold some. Very often I say to my customers, you have to guarantee that I can look at my work anytime. But in the end, I never came! I really need them at my studio.       

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