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Jasmina Cubrilo
BELGRADE ART IN THE NINETIES
A Personal View

I

One could say that the new artistic scene in Belgrade in the nineties emerges together with a group of young sculptors (Srdjan Apostolovic, Zdravko Joksimovic, Dobrivoje Bata Krgovic and Dusan Petrovic) whose works show their inclination to investigate the phenomenon of the concrete, of form and turn to the basic ontological questions of sculpture. Toward the end of the eighties they begin their engagement in sculpture by treating the pure plastic and concrete values of the material, of form and space. Art criticism tries to find the right name for them and different texts in magazines or catalogues contain different terms, like: Young Belgrade sculptors[1], New Belgrade sculpture[2], Young Belgrade sculpture[3], or even Young Belgrade sculptors of new sensibility[4]. Relevant literature has yet another name, the one these artists used when exhibiting abroad (Budapest) Workshop group.[6]

In any case, whichever of the terms we apply, we should primarily be concerned with the fact that these sculptors do not belong to a homogenous group with a firmly defined programme. At one moment, in the summer of 1988, they came together in the Visual Arts Workshop of the Students Cultural Centre Gallery[6]. This workshop developed in several phases, as determined by artists themselves; it recorded the typology of works and the art language changes that occurred within a short span of time. The Visual Arts Workshop has remained the crucial point in further development of these authors, a precious memory and a precious experience. What they did and accomplished in the Workshop can be observed through all of the existing common features or those that emerged in interaction, in their friendship, exchange of views, a meticulous treatment of each work, but also in their individual languages and personal ways of modeling and expression. Therefore, one should point out once again that we are talking about four strong individuals with personal characteristics. This fact will be clearly explained very soon.

If we were looking for a possible common denominator of their engagement in sculpture, then it would certainly be their relationship and approach to material, whether it be wood, terracotta, metal, or randomly collected objects. The working procedure assumed an almost elementary preparation when everything superfluous was discarded in order to express the essential character and meaning of form. Work of the protagonists of New Belgrade sculpture were distinguished by a reduced form and manual execution until they achieved a perfect craftsmanship in the treatment of the material. These authors were from the very beginning had a clearly defined relationship to the medium, their realizations were based on explicit stipulations of the medium and stayed strictly within the possibilities of the material and the given requirements of space and time, endeavouring to accomplish a new spatial-visual form. In that sense, within the context of the European art of the last decade, this sculptoral scene overcomes the spatial notions that stem from postmodernist iconography and strives to repeat the modernist sculptural experience founded on the properties of different materials and the achievement of pure form. At the same time, one recognizes the eclectic postmodernist legacy expressed in elements of anecdote and in the interest and ties with international unexpressionism[7], articulated through a relationship to the so called "New British sculpture"[8]. Parallels with the "New British sculpture" do exist, but there are also particular characteristics related to the Belgrade scene. First of all, the third word in both phrases contains the basic concept - the work of both British and Belgrade artists is undoubtedly sculpture. The next common feature would be exactitude, perfectionism in the traces of hand, a primal and pure sculptoral form, the stability of formal composing. In both groups we recognize symbolic, narrative and allegorical elements contrasted to formal plastic solution. Also, in both groups the formal procedure in structuring a sculpture is based on collage, montage, assemblage (in which works, reclining on floors, hung on walls or displayed in space, bear a historic reference to the cubist tradition and its modernist elaboration). At one moment, Belgrade sculptors bring into their work waste materials from junk yards and those gradually influence their production, the character and quality of their modeling procedure. However, this tendency to use junk is not an issue of an ecological awareness or a cynical commentary of the back side of a consumer society; this passion for waste and warehouses cannot be identified with the poetics of the threadbare and rejected.[9]

Apart from this, so called rational or reductionistic current characterized by a compressed form, although never minimalist, one could speak about the so called rhetorical current[10]. This parallel rhetorical line in sculpture of the nineties is close to the language of reduced figuration developed here by Mrdjan Bajic[11] in the eighties. The influence of M. Bajic, mostly indirect, can be observed in the works of young sculptors from the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties. With Apostolovic, Petrovic and Joksimovic, this influence, beside the strict demands of materialization and the collage method is evident in imaginative, amazing quality of transposing different objects from the real world into the world of a sculptor's imagination. Decentralization is another element of their works, although decentralization can be treated as commonplace in postmodernist composition, both in painting and in sculpture. However, their expression is more compressed and more peaceful than with Bajic. he was also affected by this tranquillity in the second half of the eighties, but the dramatic experience of neo-expressionism from the preceding half of the same decade was too strong to be dismissed easily. Finally, we can discern the influence of various aspects of Bajic's sculpture both in the reductionist and the rhetoric currents, while the generation of sculptors who came after Apostolovic, Joksimovic, Krgovic and Petrovic, and these are, for example Dragan Jelenkovic, Bozica Radjenovic, Tatjana Milutinovic-Vondracek, Gabriel Glid, suffers a variety of influences from the works of their predecessors[12].

The sculpture of Srdjan Apostolovic bears the features of reduced form, whose origins lie in the reductive and minimalist practice of the twentieth century. In his early works these are mostly geometrical bodies or irregular geometrical forms made to be hung on walls or placed on floors. Of course, this applied geometry has no metaphorical of symbolic superstructure. Apostolovic does not want his forms to be seen as associative representations (although there are associative elements in his later works, since 1993), they are real, material objects, unusual, unfunctional, created out of the sculptor's pure imagination. In the objective context of created forms and their imaginary functions, these works can be seen as imaginary modules/models or prototypes of a complex entity. Form (or shape) is certainly in the focus of this artist's interest, but not form in itself, form in interaction with space. He attaches great importance to the treatment of surface, to mutual effectiveness of different structures of the same, or diverse materials (metal, wood, rubber, glass, terracotta, plastic, paper) and their combination in specific formal relations and ratios toward his personal ideas and feelings. So, he "models" (cuts, welds, attaches, glues, combines) material(s) with which he works, or, treats their surface in various ways (for example, in his first works from the end of the eighties, corrodes with acid), or he follows and "listens to" the visual features of the surface of the material he is using. In fact, all of this is part of his investigations of what a specific material can offer. In general he makes his sculptures himself, in his studio, using the available tools. His last cycle Weapons was made in a factory, after his designs.

Zdravko Joksimovic is exceptionally sensitivity to materials but also to the shaping of an actual objective model. In his work he strives toward a unity of form and themes and his whole working procedure is dedicated to establishing a relationship between the character of the material and the narrative context that supports a work of art. His sculpture is based on the modernist principle of the autonomy of sculpture as a medium and a typically postmodernist method of manipulating the models and patters from the history of modern art. He is not eclectic in the sense that he would put together different artifacts into one work, but when one takes into account his overall production, one finds a complex compound whose constitutive elements have different origins. He displays an exceptional precision in choosing the forms or, sometimes, in their gradual inerlocking, with full respec for the imperatives of form, size and pigmentation. He carefully attends to each individual work and the visual effectiveness of each detail. This respect for form and visual effectiveness is felt as a constant characteristic of his opus.

Like Apostolovic, Bata Krgovic comes to sculpture from the world of painting, without even considering sculpture as a possibility at the beginning. It all started as an experiment with canvas: first on its surface, with the application of different non-painting materials. Initially it was only their chromatic properties, later the material itself. The road from this non-classical painting materials lead to the classical sculptural, e.g. terracotta, metal, wood. Krgovic frequently works with inconsistent materials, soft, liquid like bitumen, paraffin, wax, oil. In fact this interest in disparate materials originates in his view that all materials are visually usable within a certain context, depending, among other things, on one's personal sensitivity toward them, the sensitivity that shapes the new aspects of materialization in space. Also, for Krgovic, space is part of his work, so that his sculptures, one the one hand condense space, and on the other, they appropriate it.

Dusan Petrovic is a sculptor with a relatively small production and a modest number of exhibitions (both group and one-manshows). He treats sculpture as form subjected to its (medial) internal plastic regulations. His works could be defined as purist in their articulation, but some of them show signs of a direct treatment of the material. The forms of his sculptures are condensed, pure and clear, and the rhetoric is reduced to lapidary statements. The majority of his sculptures are made in wood, although there are some pieces in other materials (e.g. granite, glass). The predominant basic forms, particularly in his early works, are circle, square and triangle, and their spatial projections. One could find symbolic meanings in these forms, but this aspect is not of utmost importance to Petrovic, because in sculpture he is primarily interested in the work process on a particular form. His vertical and horizontal structures are not so monumental in their dimensions, as in the size of their permanence, their normality and nobility. These upright or reclining forms possess the properties of (either) fullness (mass) and/(or) emptiness (hollows, capacity of volume). In all of his works one can recognize a single rule built into them in a subtle and inagressive way. It concerns sizes and relations. There is no universal type of symmetry or golden rule in his sculpture, but an entirely personal order of things. This standpoint - to move within the framework of his own abilities - is in a way reflected in the appearance of his sculptures: they physically resemble him.

II

After the Visual Arts Workshop in 1988, some other, younger artists, will appear in the Gallery of the Students' Cultural Centre. Then first year students at Belgrade's Faculty of Visual Arts, Mirjana Djordjevic and Ivan Ilic will follow the path of extreme reduction in their wall or spatial installations. If we wanted to make a general classification of the phases of their overall opus, we could say that their production in the last six years (since their emergence in 1989 until the present moment) has evolved from neo-conceptual strategies of reinvestigating space, objects, materials and execution methods toward solutions (installations) that favour elementary (geometric) forms: square, circle, sphere, cube, cone, straight line, cross[13]. At first sight, these forms can misdirect one to interpreting them as formats of reductive and minimal art. However, in their case we cannot speak about the process of reduction since these artists do not proceed from abstraction or purification of form and do not apply in their work the process of reduction to elementary units. They take it as accomplished and they depart from those forms as artistic and cultural allotments. The materially and visually rich and complex world is presented through (refined) primary geometric forms and geometric relations of golden rule, symmetry, seriality, repetition and association. These two artists have in common the fact that they take their work more like an impersonal product than a subjective projection, a product that assumes a conceptual approach but also a perfection in its execution. In order to avoid obstinacy, clumsiness, imperfection, even an imprecision of the hand (may it be the hand of an artist), M. Djordjevic and I. Ilic adopt the principle of industrial realization of their works[14]. This idea has origines in the minimalist tradition, the "specific object" (as Donald Judd said "neither a sculpture nor a painting") and its evolution into installation. These two artists formulate their concept as a project that will be realized with no additional interventions after the professionals (e.g. production process engineers) have made possible corrections. Depending on the material used, elements of an installation may be produced in various factories. These elements are then arranged in the exhibition hall after a previously designed installation pattern. And so, the work itself originates from a formal projection of a situation which is later mechanically/industrially treated and realized. The artists expound their striking and literal non-expressiveness through the annulment of their subjectivity or the trace of their own hand, by a precision and perfection of their, mechanically executed, works[15]. An ideal geometric form, on the one hand, and an absence of subjectivity (expressed in a manual act), one the other, can be interpreted as a unity of the universal and the individual on different levels, from the primary one connected to the manner (industrial) of creating the form (i.e. object), to the specific one related to each particular case and its context.

Contrary to minimalist art where all objects are devoid of symbolism or super-meaning, thus remaining what they really are, M. Djordjevic and I. Ilic use given forms and the power of their (archetypal) substance. Also, contrary to minimalist serials, where the number of elements is not important and the series can be continued in any direction, these two artists take care of the number of eleme

The terms critics use to explain the artistic position of M. Djordjevic and I. Ilic are techno-art[16], technospiritual art[17] and techno-aesthetic realization[18].

III

The beginning of the nineties sees another group of painters fostering a reduced visual language. At one moment they will realize a number of works dedicated to Mondrian and his opus, relying primarily on his Composition II from 1929, in the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade. The authors of this Project Mondrian are Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, Zoran Naskovski and Nikola Pilipovic.[19]

The very act of paying attention to Mondrian and referring to his artistic legacy indicates that Dimitrijevic, Naskovski and Pilipovic use postmodernist procedure of reinterpreting a great historical model of radical modernism. However, they do not take Mondrian's painting as a motive for plastic interpretation, for repetition with alterations or quotations. They depart from Mondrian not as a model quoted (simulated), but as a concept. Reference to Mondrian is more their intimate need to preserve within a painting and emphasize dedication to work, the virtue of asceticism in work, the decision to voluntarily abandon the commotion of everyday life. therefore, they deconstruct certain elements of Mondrian's compositions to the point that their "Mondrianian" paintings can be observed within the context of some representatives of high modernism, like, for example, Newman, Reinhardt or Ryman. Mondrian's compositional scheme and its evolution is reduced to analytical processes. The verticals, the horizontals, strips, minimal spatial units are executed so that their presence is emphasized and identified with the surface of the whole painting. In that way the focus is transferred from the cause to possible consequences and even further. In fact, the essential interests of Dimitrijevic, Naskovski and Pilipovic were then (and it will be more or less continued in their further works, after the Project) concentrated on the problem of the very plastic ontology of painting as it is, on questions of the spaces of coloured fields, the character of foundation, the effectiveness of colour or monochromy, the relationship between the foundation and the interventions done on it, the features of texture, the role of strokes, i.e. some analytical procedures as the basic elements of the painting. In the case of these "Mondrianists", foundation can mean real foundation, literally, material foundation as a pictorial surface or the basis of formal arrangement. However, monochromy, or a tendency toward monochromy (a crucial point in abstract painting) relieves the painting of its mimetic and metaphoric-symbolic organization. Monochromy is always the ideal painting, the one that is only the painting of painting as medium, a manifestation of the achieved autonomy of painting as medium. The work with monochromy or aspects of monochromy as aspects of the annulment of form and composition, can be interpreted in the case of Project Mondrian as a radicalization of Mondrian's method (his compositional aspects of netting and coloured fields) and as defining or surmounting the borderline between composition (Mondrian) and monochromy that is, by its nature, has no composition (the principle of paintings by Reinhardt, Newman and Ryman).

Concept is emphasized in all of these actions of the "Mondrianists". It will become of primary importance to stress concept in all of their further activities, which will have different issues, evident in their ensuing divergent development.

These three artists, each for himself, will once again revert to Mondrian's "Composition II" in the project called "Experience Remembered" in the National Museum.

Before Project Mondrian, Aleksandar Dimitrijevic was elaborating the form of the cross (where he contrasted the compositional relation between the foundation and form) and used the procedure typical of hard-edge painting: the form is flat and spreads from one edge of the painting to another, thus appropriating the spatial aspects of foundation (this makes the relationship between the foundation and form irrelevant). After Project Mondrian, that is after he was engaged in the ontological problems of a painting, Dimitrijevic began to deconstruct the modernist dogma on the autonomy of the pictorial space of a painting, in order to denote painting as an object in space.

Drawings and paintings of Zoran Naskovski from 1991 and 1992 have the properties of precise monochromatic concentration on a saturated surface similar to that of Mondrian and Reinhardt, i.e. a concentration on the surface of the painting and the realization of a material completeness of the flat surface. This manual treatment, this direct, physically articulate gesture can be felt in all of his works created before 1994. From his drawings, later twelve modestly-sized pieces of paper soaked in black ink (made for Project Mondrian), all the way to the white and black paintings - just monochromy. His diptych White Cloud (1994) will be the sign of a turning-point with Naskovski and will announce his new research in form and the medium.[20]

Pilipovic radically repudiates all narration, illusionist or symbolic aspects of the material, and works on the matter itself, with material, object, space, respecting their essential qualities and nature. The concepts of modernism and late modernism Mondrian, geometrical painting, monochromatic painting, the reduced expression of minimal art, arte povera all of them are points of departure he does not quote in the process of recycling, but develops and improves in the directions his predecessors could not or did not want to go. These concepts are chosen for the sole fact that they represent the most convenient forms for Pilipovic to realize certain ideas. His earlier works (Project Mondrian and White Monochromes, New Belgrade as well, to a certain point) he developed high-modernist themes of minimal art and formalism. His new works show his movement from the formal to the energetic.

One could says that the works of Dimitrijevic, Naskovski and Pilipovic express the plastic order of the world, in accord with Mondrian's paintings and the De Stijl definition of art. Their artistic goals are to define the surface of a painting as the only possible universe, as an interpretation of painting as the medium. Furthermore, their tendency toward monochromy and minimalism in expression defines their works as literal surfaces (reference to minimalist art) and an issue of meditative and contemplative processes. We can recognize yet another aspect in their procedure. They point to a sensitive and therefore painful spot of the twentieth century art - the question of "the death of art" and its evident "resurrection" in a new cycle that proves its further survival despite catastrophic forebodings.

IV

The artists treated up to now in this text have felt or suffered (in one way or another) the influence of conceptual art. They refer to their knowledge of and direct experience in conceptual art and from there they take over the very essence of it: the idea of concept (the "Mondrianists", Ivan Ilic, Mirjana Djordjevic, Talent, Skart, Nina Kocic, Marija Vauda, Mirjana Munisic, even Zdravko Joksimovic and Bata Krgovic). It is not unimportant that conceptual artists themselves became active again toward the end of the eighties Era Milivojevic, Nesa Paripovic and Jovan Cekic. It seems that (neo)concept could be taken as a working frame for the art of the nineties, knowing, in fact, that there is nothing one can easily but responsibly call the art of the nineties. The cult of individual approach makes classification impossible, because it excludes programme and system. The absence of a dominant style, certain "fragmentation", the presence of opposite models, all of this testifies of a broad scale of activities of a pluralistic postmodernist disposition. The multitude of different standpoints and orientations that live simultaneously in a common moment of the present time have canceled certain recognizable directions that could be identified in the eighties, at least for a short time, as trans-avantgarde, neo-expressionism, anachronism, non-expressionism, neo geo and other neo-isms of the second half of the eighties. Such a plurality makes every attempt toward systematization very difficult. On the other hand, this subtly affects attempts to follow, investigate and describe different creative approaches.[21]

V

While on the one hand there are reductionist practices (in painting and sculpture) in the art of the first half of the nineties, on the other there is a group of young painters and sculptors who insist on returning the figure in the focus of (visual-scenic) happenings. This painting continues the presence of representations and scenes and the most frequent is the motif of portrait and self-portrait.[22]

Contrary to the representational and scenic painting from the beginning of the eighties, which is in expressive spasms deformations, violent strokes, this painting from the first half of the tenth decade is reserved, indifferent, depressive. However, it is more reserved only at first glance, in reality, in its internal essence it is displaced, agitated. This mood is hidden behind a detached attitude and irony. the articulation of this specific renewal of figuration moves within a broader scope of fine, tranquil urban intimism (as the intimism of the Serbian painting from the thirties, surviving in atrophied or modified forms all this time, has suddenly appeared in its full glory in this last decade with iconographic solutions immanent to our time), all the way to a certain subjectivity frequently reaching the limits of arrogance and brutality.

These painters preserve tradition and one can feel in their painting that they know and show in a subtle way the strong foundations of their visual culture and education. They use classical means: paintings in oil or acrylic, drawings in pastel or combined techniques. Also, there is a tendency toward smaller formats of both paintings and drawings. Their central motif is the figure, a group of people, portrait or self-portrait, frequently static, in the silence of a frozen gesture. Their models are their own faces and bodies (self-portrait is constantly present in the paintings of Uros Djuric and Stevan Markus) or faces of familiar persons, friends or cousins (e.g. with Dimitrije Peric, Jasmina Kalic or Daniel Glid). Their themes are everyday events in the life of an artist, or a dream world, anxieties, frustrations, subdued passions, desires, while details echo rock-and-roll culture. History of art usually refers the motif of self-portrait[23] to narcissistic behaviour. However, in these cases it is the subjectivism as an articulation of the self and an awareness of self-existence with all the accompanying dilemmas, insecurities and protectedness, weaknesses, (un)satisfactions, fears, joys... This subjectivism can also be observed within the context of portrait, since these painters make portraits of their friends, neighbours, cousins, people from their direct environment. and as a rule we are much better in understanding our friends than ourselves. In fact, this figuration of the nineties relies on a projection of the mate worlds of each of the painters, otherwise very close in age, who live in a specifically unsafe time, in an atmosphere of recent isolation, lack of communication, therefore lack of interest, indifference, alienation, melancholy, fear. What is left is to take care of oneself in small, long cherished circles of friends. The art that chooses figuration is created in these (safe) surroundings. Paintings are taken as flat surfaces, frequently without a hint of depth or space. Sometimes the depth and space of a painting are suggested by a detail, but such interventions imply more an imaginative than real sense of space.

The pluralistic climate of individual ideas, actions and different sensibilities, is felt here as well. In fact, what one could denote as the common denominator of the works of these painters and sculptors is their interest in figure.

Dragana Ilic is the only one from the circle of sculptors who has continued her work in figure, i.e. portrait as the motif of her sculptures. At the beginning those were small portraits in brass or plaster. Later, in 1994, during the artists' colony Terra in Kikinda, she made busts of larger dimensions in terracotta, which she partially coloured afterwards. All of these portraits are portraits of the people from her closest setting: her family and her friends. What distinguishes the heads she makes from the traditional, monumental approach, is the absence of the solemn tone so characteristic of monumental/traditional portrait sculptures; their moderate expressiveness suggest the opposite, a sedate tone of an intimate atmosphere.

(February 1996)

Notes

1 B. Tomic, pref. cat. Dessins et sculptures de petit format, S. Apostolovic, Z. Joksimovic, D. Krgovic, D. Petrovic, Lisbon, April 1990 and Strasbourg, may 1990; J. Despotovic, "Mladi beogradski skulptori" (Young Belgrade Sculptors), Moment 18, Gornji Milanovac, April-June 1990, p. 91.

2 A block dedicated to this theme was prepared by N. Jakasovic and D. Popovic in Moment 20, Gornji Milanovac, October-December 1990, pp.46-55; J. Denegri, pref. cat. Rane devedesete -jugoslovenska umetnicka scena (Early Nineties - the Yugoslav Artistic Scene), Novi Sad and Podgorica, 1993; N. Suica, "Sumrak morala i pritisak strasti" (The Moral Twilight and the Pressure of Passion), Projeka(r)t 3, Novi Sad, July 1994, p. 23.

3 L. Merenik, "Skulptura" (Sculpture) - Vasiljevic, Jelenkovic, Radjenovic, Moment 22, Gornji Milanovac, April-June 1991, p.86.

4 Z. Eric, "Zdravko Joksimovic", Projeka(r)t 3, Novi Sad, July 1994, p.89.

5 B. Tomic, pref. cat., Naturally, Nature and Art in Central Europe, Ernst Museum, Budapest, March-May 1994.

6 Before the Workshop began Apostolovic and Petrovic had their exhibitions in the same space. They were then joined by Z. Joksimovic in the Workshop itself; a year later, in 1989, they are also joined by D. Krgovic.

7 G. Celant, Unexpressionism, New York, 1988.

8 On New British sculpture from: "Nova britanska skulptura" (New British Sculpture), ed. M. Prodanovic, Moment 15, Gornji Milanovac, July-September 1989, pp. 33-30; J. Stojanovic, "Posao kustosa da predstavi umetnika na pravi nacin" (Curators should properly introduce artists), an interview with M. Kalinovska, Moment 9, Gornji Milanovac, January-March 1988, pp. 53-59; P. Bickers, "Generations of British Sculpture: the British Sculpture Tradition", Artpress 202, Paris, May 1995; H.H. Arnason, A History of Modern Art, Thames and Hudson, London 1986, pp.689-690.

9 Although these works are actually based on a process of recycling (of postmodernist provenance) that was not the basic intention of their authors. With Belgrade artists junk turns into an obsession of finding pieces, parts of discarded objects of metal, bronze, aluminium, copper, rubber. Junk yards represented places of relaxation and provocation, of creative dialogue. They had their personal reactions to the discarded pieces, depending on their personal sensibilities toward the observed form, or its particular feature, in fact, it was not directed toward choosing the parts as ready-made objects. They found pieces were treated as any other material that could be used for sculpting a specific form. those subsequent interventions would free the found piece of any previous function; it may also be decomposed to its constitutive elements which would then be combined with other elements, like an assemblage; or, such a found piece could become an element in the construction of a new form. In that way, what was found in a junk yard would not be transposed from the context of discarded object into the context of art, but would be endowed new meanings through the process of sculpting. simply, these artists treated discarded things as any other material for sculpture.

10 L. Merenik, "Skulptura" (Sculpture), Vasiljevic, Jelenkovic, Radjenovic, Moment 22, Gornji Milanovac, April-June 1991, p. 86.

11 The work of this sculptor will influence a kind of self-awareness in the medium of sculpture in terms of inversion and decomposition of the academic form, a distancing of the stereotype of monumental sculpture, in small formats, an underlined trace of the hand, on the one hand, and imaginative poetical visualizations of unconventional scenes and contents, on the other. "The sculpture of representation", as a predominant expression, indicates a transformation of the object into a dislocated, impossible, surrealist representation. It is far away from the descriptive and mimetic and suggests surrogate. His sculpture is decentralized, inclines, almost falling down (although it could not happen without outside "help"), twisted. More on this: L. Merenik, Beograd: osamdesete (Belgrade: the Eighties), Novi Sad, 1998, pp. 40-43, 71-73.

12 At a certain moment, in their evolutive treatment of the same or similar forms, their sculptures will come close to the forms used by M. Bajic. This could be proven by the exhibition held in the Youth House Gallery in Belgrade, 1991, with works of Vasiljevic, D. Jelenkovic and B. Radjenovic.

13 There are, of course, specific features that distinguish each of them, as well as their phases of development, and the works themselves.

14 When asked "Do you lose anything by this form of realization: the precisely conceived works and industrial production?", M. Djordjevic replied: "I have confidence in the machine. I prefer precision and unexpressiveness that the spontaneity and expressiveness of the hand.", Z. L. Bozovic, Likovna umetnost osamdesetih i devedesetih u Beogradu Razgovori (Belgrade Visual Art of the Eighties and the Nineties Interviews), Beograd, 1996, p. 32.

15 Such an approach places M. Djordjevic and I. Ilic in the midst of the 20th century unexpressionistic traditions, from Malevich, Mondrian to Moholy-Nagy and Judd.

16 M. Suvakovic, "Tehnoumetnost, intervju sa Ivanom Ilicem" (Techno-art, an Interview with Ivan Ilic), Projeka(r)t 5, Novi Sad, August 1995, pp. 50-51.

17 "Technospiritual is a work that reveals in the exact technical (machine, medial) realization of an object or environment, the order of the meaning of optical symbols and even symbolical effects", M. Suvakovic, pref. cat. M. Djordjevic, Students Cultural Centre Gallery, Beograd, 1994; Also: "... thanks to the expressive ambivalence of this art's features (the polarities of the technological and spiritual in search of unity) it can simultaneously be understood as a more advanced degree of a conscious overcoming of the paradigm, toward a re-evaluation of certain characteristic formal principles of modernism, where the point of gravitation is transferred in recent art from the face, figure and representation, to the form and its unified plastic/visual and symbolic/spiritual features", J. Denegri, "Prioritet forme i obnovljena duhovnost u umetnosti devedesetih" (The Priority of Form and Renewed Spirituality in the Art of the Nineties): Mirjana Djordjevic and Ivan Ilic, Transkatalog 2/3, Novi Sad, Summer 1995, p. 62.

18 "... technoaesthetic and technospiritual strategies can be recognized as design procedures for industrially realized "pieces" and constellations of "pieces" (installations, ambiental art) in a symbolic rearrangement and indexing of optical space", M. Suvakovic, "Korekcije modernizma - tehnoestetski prostori Ivana Ilica" (Corrections of Modernism - the Technoaesthetic Spaces of Ivan Ilic), Projeka(r)t 5, Novi Sad, August 1995, p. 46.

19 See catalogue for the exhibition called Mondrian 1972-1992, the Cultural Centre-Contemporary Gallery "Olga Petrov", Pancevo, Students Cultural Centre Gallery, Beograd; Experiences from Memory, National Museum, Belgrade, 1995.

20 For example, the concept of drawing is transposed into another medium, photography: as in the works Drawing I (photo John Thomson) and Drawing II (photo Helmut Newton).

21 Despite the pronounced individuality, there are two "groups" of artists or phenomena in Belgrade art of the nineties informal (stemming from critical reviews and following the smallest common denominators, e.g. New Belgrade sculpture) and formal (formed by authors themselves. brought together around certain projects of shorter or longer duration and smaller or greater coherence, e.g. Skart, Project Mondrian).

22 The division to figurative and abstract painting could be taken as operation, since the present day criticism does not make strict divisions to figurative and abstract art; D. Puresevic organized an accompanying exhibition to the 1995 October Salon dedicated to self-portrait, this "subordinate, but important phenomenon of the current artistic production", D. Puresevic, Autoportret u umetnosti devedesetih (Self-Portrait in the Art of the nineties), pref. cat. 35th October Salon, Beograd, 1995.

23 Self-portrait is the constant feature of the works by Uros Djuric and Stevan Markus. The choice of self-portrait as the basic motive stems from their search from the best possible way to articulate the principle of artistic creation. Departing from the "personal principle" they evolve in their Manifest of Autonomism, ed. Radio B92, Art vrt (Art Garden), Beograd 1994 and which assumes that the work of art is "conditioned by the artist's self, his ethical code as the principle of his environment", they arrived at self-portrait.



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