Bojana Burić

Twelfth Exhibition of Niš Art Foundation “Youth 2018”


For twelve years in a row, each spring, young artists and the professional community have eagerly awaited the open competition of Niš Art Foundation for the best works of fine arts by creative individuals eighteen to thirty five years old. The turnout of interested artists has been massive: since the establishment of this prize fund there have always been between four and five hundred young authors applying to the competition. Therefore, the selection committee always has a task that is simultaneously responsible and not at all easy – to go through the plentitude of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, works on paper, find those pieces that excel in quality, and conceive of an annual presentation that will most appropriately exhibit the achievements of the youngest artists and point to new personalities or occurrences on our art scene.  This yearly overview of the youngest artists’ creative work has the primary goal to suggest personalities, but it also aims to register new tendencies in the treatment of the classical media required in the terms of the competition. The intention is not only to favor and preserve the painting, sculpture and print techniques, but also to incorporate their extended forms so as to acknowledge new language idioms and reversible processes of implementing the practical experience of working with new technologies.


The advantage of this reward competition lies not only in the significant amount of money or the honor for the awarded artist whose piece becomes part of the respectable collection of artworks of Philip Morris International, but also in the fact the same artist can apply again, until the age of thirty five. In practice, this means that the artist can reveal him or herself to the jury every year and test whether his or her success was a flash of freshness and youthful playfulness, or if the creative personality in question cherishes his or her personal investigative and artistic program which he or she surmounts in different ways in different periods, striving for personal and artistic maturation. This invaluable professional practice of participating in the open competition, sometimes successfully, and sometimes not, helps the young artist overcome the temptations of public life of art and develop self-criteria regarding his or her own work. The practice according to which the jury gathers several times with a slightly reduced, but professionally the same, number of members, testifies to the fact that in this way changes in the creative work of the young are monitored and achievements in various age groups are compared. 


This year’s selection of pieces participating in the competition suggests the domination of painting compared with other forms and techniques of expression. It seems that rethinking the capacities of two-dimensional, flat space is the main preoccupation this season. Different narratives, with figural presentations prevailing, occupy the attention of this year’s candidates. Portraits with hyper-realistic or photorealistic traits are still a creative challenge that young authors wish to try their hand at. This often employed technique sometimes goes so far as to provide the result showing one’s skill only (today so praised among collectors). In that respect the pieces by Paunković and Krstić supersede the standard, veristic approach, while efforts of some authors are driven by other interpretations of this classical genre. In the treatment of the de/reconstruction carried out by Đorđević we find a serious ambition to use colored surfaces so as to suggest a configuration of the face, or head silhouettes, which reveal themselves as a coloristic echo in the painting by J. Spasić. In the monochromatic pieces by N. Adamović, who frames his scenes with the details of figures entering and leaving sequences of darkness, there is a direct link with the photographic / filmic understanding of the painting.  The portrait as a photo negative is the piece by the artist I. Mašić. From the figural compositions with several participants in the piece “Lunch” by Ž. Vitorović, providing a testimony of alienation, to the dramatically painted scene of present-day refugees in “The Second Raft of the Medusa” by M. Stepović, one finds engagement and preoccupation with the topics of contemporary life and world which use their specific atmosphere, in the latter case also the tragic nature of the chosen documentary / photographic template, so as to provide a well thought-out and artistically refined way to present humane ideas and express genuine concern for human suffering on the personal, individual, but also global levels.  Interior and architecture, exteriors as selected motives are only an inspiration to examine camera shots, presentations of reality, translated into the language of the plastic, executed in the manner of a drawing, in the absence of description or materialization in color, which is the case with artists such as Đ. Sivački and L. Milovanović. What one can claim with certainty is that photography and photo optics are very much present and important in the works of the youngest, which is obvious in this year’s competition too, as already mentioned in this text. Let us just add a few more remarks on the relationship between photography and painting that can be read in this year’s selection, where the paragon between these media is one of its most striking characteristics. In that sense some of the pieces made after a photo could belong to the culture of remembrance as a reflection of the past or transience, which is noticeable in the paintings by B. Radišić, I. Milenković, V. Miljković or the reliefs by N. Kirćanski. Sculpture is discreetly present (in terms of numbers), inclining toward spatial drawing, arabesque, or systemic, modular construction (I. Milev), while only three sculptures are spatially conceived; the author T. Dragan has presented herself with a low relief polyptych as a corpus of reduced drawings and superposed surfaces in the metal, thus contributing to the impression that in this year’s offer of works themes have prevailed reflecting on the challenges of bringing visual effects together – from two- toward three-dimensional forms and vice versa.


Let us finally mention the presence of authors whose refined abstract expression has contributed to the versatility and quality of this year’s selection. Yet we should pay particular attention to the fact that young artists have stepped into the adventure of monumental painting and successfully conquered the painting formats they set before themselves. In this respect, one should note the paintings by A. Ilić and R. Tepvačević who used fragments, outlines of figures, or textual interventions on the painted, abstract picture background to successfully create the concatenation of plastically consistent pieces, for which one could use the perhaps not so audibly aesthetic, but still precise technical term “glocal creative work” (which blends local character and global meaning).


I also wish to stress that the point of this text, even though the names of a few authors have been mentioned, is not to favor some of the participants, but rather to provide a reception of the poetics dominating this year’s selection, as a possible snapshot of the currents among our young professionals in fine/visual arts.


I believe it is always necessary to mention the founder of this Foundation, Radovan Lale Đurić, who not only left a trace in the culture of his hometown through his work as an artist, but was also noble and visionary enough to establish Niš Art Foundation, a legacy for the future with full responsibility, to serve young artists and at the same time to raise awareness on the importance of investing in the future of art in our area. The initiative of this artist, who had an important career in New York, but who also gained valuable experience in terms of the need to encourage large corporations to support art, has not remained without a response in Niš. As part of its corporate social responsibility, Philip Morris International has responded and financially supported this project, which unfortunately remains a sole such example in our area. Convinced that Philip Morris International will remain committed to this noble mission and continue providing significant marketing and financial support to the youngest artists, thus contributing to the development of culture in the area in which it operates, we hope that artists will also find followers in other institutions with a similar profile, ready to support their work.

Bojana Burić

Art Historian

Catalog Young 2018

Dvanaesta izložba Niš Art Fondacije “Mladost 2018”

Svakog proleća, već dvanaest godina, mladi umetnici i stručna javnost sa nestrpljenjem očekuju konkurs Niš Art Fondacije za najkvalitetnije radove u oblasti likovne umetnosti stvaralaca koji su u dobu od osamnaest do trideset i pet godina. Odziv zainteresovanih je masovan i od samog osnivanja ovog nagradnog fonda na konkurs se prijavljuje uvek između četiri i pet stotina mladih autora. Stoga, komisija za izbor radova ima istovremeno odgovoran ali i nimalo lak zadatak da u tom mnoštvu slika, skulptura, grafika, crteža, radova na papiru, pronađe onaj broj dela koja se izdvajaju svojim kvalitetom i da koncipira godišnju prezentaciju koja će na najadekvatniji način pokazati dostignuća najmlađih stvaralaca i ukazati na nove ličnosti ili pojave na našoj likovnoj sceni. Taj godišnji presek stvaralaštva najmlađih umetnika pre svega ima za cilj da ukaže na ličnosti, ali i da registruje nove tendencije koje se javljaju u tretmanu klasičnih medija koji su traženi u propozicijama konkursa. Namera je ne samo da se favorizuju i očuvaju tehnike slikarstva, skulpture i grafike, već da se u njihovim proširenim poljima uoče novi jezički idiomi i reverzibilni procesi implementiranja iskustva prakse rada u novim tehnologijama.

Prednost ovog  Konkursa za otkupne nagrade je ne samo u značajnom finansijskom iznosu ili počasti za nagrađenog da njegovo delo postaje deo respektabilne kolekcije umetničkih radova kompanije Filip Moris, već što može ponovo konkurisati, sve do svoje trideset i pete godine života. To praktično znači da se može pokazati žiriju svake godine i potvrditi da li je njegov uspeh samo bljesak svežine i mladalačke razigranosti ili da je u pitanju stvaralačka ličnost koja ima svoj istraživački i umetnički lični program koji savladava u različitim periodima na različite načine, težeći ka personalnom i umetničkom zrenju. Ta dragocena profesionalna praksa učešća na konkursu, ponekad uspešno, a nekad i ne, pomaže mladom umetniku da savlada iskušenja javnog umetničkog života i da radi na izgradnji auto-kriterija prema sopstvenom stvaralaštvu. Praksa da komisija ili žiri radi već više puta u nešto smanjenom ali profesionalno istom sastavu, ide u prilog činjenici da se na taj način prate mene u stvaralaštvu mladih i odmeravaju dostignuća u različitim godišnjim konkurencijama.

Ovogodišnja selekcija radova prijavljenih na konkurs ukazuje na dominaciju slikarstva u odnosu na druge načine i tehnike izražavanja. Čini se da je preispitivanje mogućnosti dvodimenzionalnog, plošnog prostora, ono što je glavna preokupacija ove sezone. Različiti narativi, sa preovladavajućim figuralnim predstavama, zaokupljuju pažnju ovogodišnjih kandidata. I dalje su portreti sa hiperrealističnim ili fotorealističnim karakteristikama stvaralačko iskušenje u kojima mladi autori žele da se oprobaju. Taj često upražnjavani tehnicizam ponekad dobaci do rezultata koji samo podrazumeva veštinu (danas tako cenjenu među kolekcionarima). U tom smislu radovi Paunkovića i Krstića prevazilaze standardni, veristički pristup, dok su napori nekih autora usmereni drugim interpretacijama ovog klasičnog žanra. U tretmanu de/re konstrukcije koje sprovodi Đorđevićeva prepoznajemo ozbiljnu ambiciju da se bojenim plohama sugerira konfiguracija lica ili siluetama glave koje se ukazuju kao koloristički eho na slici J. Spasića. U monohronim ostvarenjima N. Adamovića koji kadrira svoje prizore sa detaljima odlazećih i ulazećih figura u sekvence tamnine, direktna je veza sa fotografskim/filmskim promišljanjem slike. Portret kao fotografski negativ, delo je umetnice I. Mašić. Figuralne kompozicije sa više aktera  rada “Ručak” autora Ž. Vitorovića koje je svedočanstvo o otuđenosti, do dramatično slikanog prizora današnjih izbeglica u “Drugom splavu Meduze” M. Stepovića, ukazuju na angažman i preokupaciju temama savremenog života i sveta koji svojom atmosferičnošću, i u drugom slučaju tragikom izabranog dokumentarnog/fotografskog predloška, na vrlo promišljen i slikarski emancipovan način, iskazuju humane ideje i iskrenu zabrinutost nad ljudskom patnjom na ličnom, individualnom kao i globalnom planu. Enterijer i arhitektura, eksterijeri kao izabrani motivi, samo su povodi da se preispitaju rakursi, izgledi realnosti, prevedeni na jezik plastičnog, crtački izvedenog u odsustvu deskripcije ili materijalizacije bojom, što je slučaj sa umetnicima kao što su Đ. Sivački i L. Milovanović. Ono što se može sa sigurnošću konstatovati je da je fotografija i fotografska optika veoma prisutna i važna u delima najmlađih, što je evidentno i na ovogodišnjem konkursu, a već pominjano u ovom tekstu. Dodajmo samo još nekoliko zapažanja o odnosu fotografije i slikarstva koje se može iščitati u ovogodišnjoj selekciji, a čini se da je taj paragon između ovih medija jedna od najmarkantnijih karakteristika. U tom smislu neka od dela nastala po fotografiji bi mogla pripadati kulturi sećanja kao refleksiji na prošlost ili prolaznost, što se ogleda u slikarskim radovima B. Radišića, I. Milenkovića, V. Miljkovića ili reljefima autorke N. Kirćanski. Skulptura je diskretno (u broju) zastupljena sa inklinacijom ka prostornom crtežu, arabeski ili sistemskoj, modularnoj konstrukciji (I. Milev), dok su samo tri skulpture prostorno mišljene; autorka T. Dragan predstavila se plitkim reljefnim poliptihom kao korpusom svedenih crteža i superponiranih površi u metalu i na taj način doprinela utisku da je u ovogodišnjoj ponudi radova preovladala tematizacija problema mogućnosti približavanja vizuelnih efekata i izazovima dvodimenzionalnih ka trodimenzionalnim formama i obrnuto.

Spomenimo još i zastupljenost autora čiji je odnegovani apstraktni način izražavanja doprineo raznovrsnosti i kvalitetu ovogodišnjeg izbora, ali posebno obratimo pažnju na činjenicu da su mladi umetnici zakoračili u avanturu monumentalnog slikarstva i sa uspehom osvojili sebi zadate formate slika. U tom pogledu spomenimo slike A. Ilića i R. Tepavčevića koji su na islikanoj, apstraktnoj pozadini slike, fragmentima, obrisima lika ili tekstualnim intervencijama uspeli da ostvare svezu plastično konzistentnih dela, koja bi se u stručnoj terminologiji mogla nazvati, možda zvučno ne tako lepim ali preciznim terminom glokalnog stvaralaštva (koje objedinjava lokalni karakter i globalni smisao).

Takođe bih istakla da smisao ovog teksta, iako su pomenuta imena nekolicine autora, nije favorizovanje nekih od učesnika, već samo recepcija poetskih dominanti u ovogodišnjoj selekciji, kao mogućem snimku stanja u podmlatku naših likovnih/vizuelnih stvaralaca.


Mislim da je neophodno uvek spominjati osnivača ove Fondacije, Radovana Laleta Đurića, koji je ne samo svojim umetničkim radom ostavio traga u kulturi svoga rodnog grada, već je i svojom plemenitošću i vizionarstvom osnovao Niš Art Fondaciju kao zaostavštinu za budućnost sa punom odgovornošću šta će to značiti kao podrška mladim umetnicima, a istovremeno u razvijanju svesti o važnosti ulaganja u budućnost umetnosti u našoj sredini. Inicijativa ovog umetnika koji je ostvario značajnu karijeru u Njujorku, ali i stekao dragocena iskustva o neophodnosti uključivanja velikih korporativnih sistema u podršku umetnosti koja nije ostala bez odgovora u Nišu. Kompanija Filip Moris odgovorila je u okviru svoje korporativne društvene odgovornosti i finansijski podržala ovaj projekat koji na žalost ostaje usamljen u našoj sredini. Sa ubeđenjem da će kompanija Filip Moris ostati u svojoj plemenitoj misiji i nastaviti da pruža značajnu finansijsku i marketinšku podršku najmlađim stvaraocima, a time i doprinese razvoju kulture u sredini u kojoj deluje, nadamo se da će umetnici i u drugim institucijama sličnog profila steći sledbenike koji podržavaju njihov kreativni rad.

Bojana Burić

Istoričar umetnosti

Katalog Mladi 2018