Stevan Vuković – Hybrid Object (2010)

The initial group exhibit in the SKC Gallery after it began operation in 1971, was the result of an invitation to several young artists to instead of artworks, display objects that are inseparable parts of their personal worlds. Realized under the title “Drangularijum” (“Trinketrium”), it was coded as a collection of various objects found before one’s eyes in immediate living surroundings, which the artist actually does not consciously select, but rather stumbles upon as present in his everyday habits, tying them to many layered experiences that unfolded in their presence. It was conceptualized as a game that was supposed to enable the mutual permeation of two constantly separated worlds – the world of art and the world of life. The exhibit for the first time in the framework of a collective action gathered a wide group of artists from which would emerge the main protagonists of a new artistic practice in Belgrade.

Many generations of artist had since, in the same space, repeatedly pondered the question of the placement and function of an object in contemporary visual art. Among them are representatives of the New Belgrade sculpture, some of who are current professors at the College of Fine Arts in Belgrade (Dušan Petrović and Zdravko Joksimović). Their work was initially formed specifically through visual arts workshops and exhibitions of the SKC Gallery. Unlike the members of the so called conceptual generation, in bringing objects from their immediate surroundings into art spaces, they acted in a way that was not evocative, nor did it emphasize the objects’ previous functions. They used them simply as material that was integrated into strictly structured sculptural entities dominated by principles of formal element composition.

This project’s goal is to present the ways in which generations of young sculptors who have in the past few years stepped onto the gallery scene in Belgrade, contemplate status and the use of personal objects in the process of creating their art works. In the initial group consisting of six artists educated within the past decade at the College of Fine Arts in Belgrade, are persons with a highly evolved consciousness of the medium they choose for the realization of their individual projects in the full complexity carried by the installation of such works in specific spaces and institutional frameworks. They do not give up on sculpture, but they strive to keep the concept of what sculpture is, what it can possibly be, as well as the process of sculptural development as open as possible.

The process of hybridization of a found object, as the root of this project, has the goal to examine one of the possible existences of sculptural practice. Transporting from the personal to the public domain, from a random surrounding to an institutionally defined space, accompanied by a string of interventions that structurally and implicationally alter the reconstructed object, assembling the structure of its referential fields, this object becomes a hybrid material object in a given physical space and a theoretical object used to experiment contextually. As a control group in this experiment is a same-sized group of French sculptors of the same generation, with whom the Belgrade group shares some fundamental strategic elements of approach to the sculptural medium, as well as many generationally determined cultural references. Collaboration of these two groups in conceptualizing, directing and realizing this project, leads to spontaneous manifestation of a singular platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and further joint initiatives.

Stevan Vuković

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