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Do You Have Your Own Ex Libris?

Ex Libris = from the books
An ex libris is a small printmaking format intended to be pasted upon the inner covers of books, in order to mark one’s ownership. As an art form, it usually represents the personality and character of the owner, as well as the sensibility of the artist.


R. Ćirić, Ex Libris Graphic Collective; Do You Have Your Own Ex Libris?, catalogue of the exhibition, cover

The Graphic Collective showcased various phenomena related to contemporary culture in its many promotional, educational and interactive programs. One of these kinds of events was the exhibition provocatively entitled “Do You Have Your Own Ex Libris?”, in order to remind the viewers of the tradition of marking ownership inside of books. This artistic/educational program happened in the Spring of 1987, before the digital book came to be. The artist Rastko Ćirić, who created the project, divided it into three parts: an artistic/historical exhibition, an in situ ex libris workshop, and a modest catalog. Dragana Palavestra, the art historian, wrote an extensive historical account of how the art form developed and changed over time, while always retaining the same message - This is mine, and let everyone know it’s mine. It is important to note that ex libris as a form of printmaking was never widespread among the Belgrade art scene, only ever present in a few artists’ works. It was considered an exclusive collectors' art form (like the works of Albin Brunovsky).
Apart from the Slovenian Ex Libris Society, there was an Ex Libris Society in Belgrade, which took an active part in the international project The World of Ex Libris in the 90s thanks to the work and enthusiasm of the member artists. “Do You Have Your Own Ex Libris?” was an international exhibition that showcased artists, collectors, and owners of these often exclusive pieces, usually meant solely for exhibitions, enthusiasts, and library/museum exhibits.
The selection of works was divided into 16 segments based on the artistic, historical, or geographical aspects of the short overview of ex libris - the prints owned by famous individuals, the works of great masters and famous artists, contemporary Croatian ex libris (B.Biškupić’s collection), Japanese ex libris (Č.Ocić’s collection), the collection of dr Rajko Pavlovec from Ljubljana, prints and collections from Slovakia, Poland, Novi Sad, Belgrade, the works of Karol Andruska, and so on. The wide variety of poetics was an integral part of the artistic brotherhood of the time - from Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia, as well as Belgium, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Germany, Austria, Italy, etc.


Do You Have Your Own Ex Libris?, invitation for the exhibition, program of the events and call for artists

Visitors had the opportunity to get their own custom ex libris prints made as a part of the exhibition’s program. The program was open to the public every day, from 5 to 8 PM, at which time different artists printed their works in situ - Rastko Ćirić, Zvonko Grmek, Zoran Todović, Gordana Radošević, Dragan Milosavljević, Ilija Knežević, Branislav Fotić, Olivera Stojadinović, Gordana Petrović, Slobodan Manojlović, Predrag Marković.
One fine June evening was also devoted to a discussion on Japanese ex libris, its history, and its artistic significance within the wider context of the art form.

(translation into English: Dunja Karanović)


I Have My Own Ex Libris, badges


B. Kršić, Ex Libris Zdenek Blažek; B. Kršić, Ex Libris Grafički kolektiv; B. Karanović, Ex Libris Janko Šafarik; M. Ćirić, Ex Libris Jure Žuljević


Z. Grmek, Ex Libris Dr. Rajko Pavlovec; Ex Libris Časlav Ocić; E. Kralj, Slovenian Ex Libris Society; M. Ćirić, M. Kozamernik, Slovenian Ex Libris Society



Graphic Collective Gallery, Dragoslava Jovanovića 11, Belgrade, Weekdays 12 - 20h, Saturdays 12 - 17h, Sundays closed
tel: +381.11.3285.923; tel/fax: +381.11.2627.785