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“Sculptors of Serbia 2020”, annual exhibition

September 2020 was the month dedicated to the ninth exhibition of the Sculpture Section of ULUS. This year’s selectors were Biljana Jotic, art historian and independent curator, Sanja Tomasevic, member of the ULUS Art Council, and Vida Stefanovic Vujcic, member of the ULUS Sculpture Section. The author of the catalog text, Biljana Jotic, sees the exhibition as follows…

The ninth in a row, now a traditional exhibition organized by the Sculpture Section of ULUS, entitled “Sculptors of Serbia 2020” takes place in the pavilion “Cvijeta Zuzorić”. The exhibition brings together 48 authors, of which 37 were selected by competition, and 11 by invitation. Taking into account that the exhibition of the revival type is characterized by a variety of sensibilities and approaches, related to research and expressions that are current among domestic authors in heterogeneous areas of sculpture today.

Determined by specific conditions that in some way connected the planet and made it a global order of microworlds, the setting corresponds to an artistic reflection of time. The conditions of life, and therefore of creativity in pandemic times, determined the conditions of the realization of the exhibition and practically imposed the format of the prevailing works, works of small format, with individual excursions into larger or larger dimensions.

Although the context of the crisis is practically self-imposed, now further intensified by health threats, the focus should still be on the exhibits. The spatial separation of each work individually and the non-existence of mutual communication reflects the notion of alienation, as well as speaks of the strength and specificity of individual expression, research, concept and technical characteristics that connect the context of space and the paradigm of time.

From marble and iron through combinations of ceramics and soft materials, glass, wood, useful objects, carpets and salt, the natural world, living and non-living nature, works that take up space combined with video work, experiments with light effects within boxes and combinations of multimedia and digital, artists respond to the present. Viewed as a whole, the exhibition speaks of the presence and creative maturity in shaping fluid reality, as a visual testimony to the non-existence of formal boundaries in contemporary art.

Authenticity is best recognized in diversity, which could be extracted as one of the messages provided by contemporary visual art, perhaps most clearly conveyed through a sculptural approach to shaping the ideological foundations, and remains recognizable in forms. The sculpting process itself implies the materialization of ideas that are visible in this exhibition in the breadth of the range of realized forms in the field of sculpture, installation, objects and other compositional solutions.

Also, one can notice the specifics of individual aesthetic properties, which mostly range from avant-garde and engaged thoughts, occasional excursions into academic heritage and surprises with new formal solutions. When everything is taken into account, the presence of critical thought, reaction and rebellion through new forms is noticeably increased. A large number of young exhibitors infused a new energy in response to the need for duration and generational alignment.

Exhibitions of the revival type provide a special opportunity to see the wider context, and that is why there is a need for as many applications as possible, because that is the only way they make sense as a whole. Time did not stop, the faster the newspapers flowed, the more numerous they were. Art responds to change by directly calling for the need for survival and permanence.

The conclusion of this reasonably reduced text would be that the work of art speaks most about itself and includes, in addition to experience, knowledge about contemporary movements, which directly calls for the necessity of exhibition activities of materialized creative sensibility and invites the audience. As the discourse of time came to the fore this year, perhaps next year we will be surprised by some sculptural form that celebrates classical beauty or more experiments with new materials and forms.

Biljana Jotić, art historian and curator

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