Zarko and Nina / Photo and Drawing

When Zarko posted these images side by side on his Facebook page, I thought he was responding to Nina’s work with photos of scenes she reminded him of—first his photo of the Gobi desert, then his photo of an Umbrian valley.



No, he said,

“Meine Fotos da am FaceBook sind keine ‘Begleitung’ der Arbeiten Ninas. Ich stelle die Fotos nicht neben Ninas Bilder. Die Fotos sind Basis, Vorlage für die Arbeit Ninas. Foto und Bild stellen unsere gemeinsame Arbeit dar. Und so läuft es bei uns seit längerer Zeit. Ich schicke ihr die Fotos, und sie malt darüber. Ich stelle ihr Aufgaben, und sie arbeitet daran. So entstehen die Arbeiten-Paare: Foto + Bild. So machen wir weiter… Früher hat Nina auf meine Texte visuell “reagiert”, jetzt auf die Fotos.”

Joint work, he writes, I send her the photos and she paints over them. . . . Earlier Nina “reacted” visually on my texts, now on the photos.

With that explanation I see the paired works differently; and now, walking along a Utah mountainside, I see the contours and colors of Utah Valley with new eyes.


Thank you, my friends.

I have copies of some of Nina’s visual responses on Zarko’s texts hanging in my my study.



And here is an essay I wrote about Nina’s work, including her painting in response to a novel by Zarko:

Finally in this celebration of joint work, a link to a website featuring Zarko’s and my two books and a reminder that our third book, WE: A FRIENDSHIP, is well underway.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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