Aquatic Photographs and Paintings

What I enjoy most when I’m taking pictures is to enter Mikoljiland, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “the flow”. It is a level of concentration, which I only achieve when I am immersed in rivers doing my creative work.

I started in underwater photography when I met Oliver Lucanus, whom I accompanied on an expedition for several weeks. We went to the rivers: Morichal Largo, Caroní, Orinoco, among others and I helped him in his work. One night we were in the Atabapo River, floating around one in the morning, looking at the night sky. And suddenly I thought:

“If you like photography so much, fish and these jungles where you feel like your home, all this includes what you like. At that moment, I decided what I was going to do in my life. And it was thanks to that expedition that I found my destiny.”

The most important thing in my work is to teach people what there is, such as an inventory of the biodiversity that must be preserved and protected to maintain life on the planet since everything is linked to a planetary ecological system, which is extremely fragile. It is curious for me that in my exhibitions, people thank me for showing them the indissoluble plot on which life on Earth depends. It is as if I was inspiring them, changing the cultural mindset of the people who see the photos, and you make them love the planet more and feel part of it. In addition, that change of attitude is one of the objectives of my work.

Ivan Mikolji
Explorer and visual artist


Aquatic Photographs and Paintings has been exhibited at:

  • Barquisimeto Photo Library. 2018
  • Martin Tovar y Tovar Technical School of Plastic Arts, Barquisimeto. 2018

Curatorial Statement

IVAN MIKOLJI: Aquatic Photographs and Paintings

Ivan Mikolji, as researcher and explorer, created a photographic language which is indebted to the refraction of light and the transparency, opacity, and physical-chemical qualities of the water.

The photographs are born from an adventure into the unknown. It is normal for Mikolji to submerge himself for hours with a mask, snorkel, and his photographic equipment, searching for the desired frame, and not ending the session until his vision materializes.

Mikolji eternalizes the changing essence of the aqueous to transform it into visual traps that perceives water as evanescent matter. He has created a fine art language, intimately linked to aquatic and subaquatic landscapes, and this is observed in his paintings and drawings in the predominance of curves, angles, geometric shapes and seriality. The line is a restless, dynamic echo in both the external shapes, and in the colors that are linked to the kaleidoscopic reflections of light on the water and the bottom, which characterize many of these works, as evidenced in the Altum series.

Eduardo Planchart Licea
PhD. Latin American Art History, UNAM


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