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Through the Binoculars of the Graphic Collective - mapping history. Within the framework of an online project, we present artistic phenomena and events that marked the contemporary art scene in Serbia and the activity of the Graphic Collective. Since its founding, this House of Artists has been a cultural hub that brings together representatives of various fields of artistic activity, many of whom have achieved a paradigmatic role in their creative field.

Halil Tikveša

Halil Tikveša, is a remarkable creative persona who has been present on the contemporary art scenes of Serbia, Bosnia, and former Yugoslavia for more than half a century. He studied at the Belgrade Art Academy in the late 1950s, and continued his artistic path by staying true to the classic printmaking techniques and traditions of the Belgrade school of printmaking.

Video of the opening of the Halil Tikveša's exhibition, the Graphic Collective, June 2004; Video by: Aleksandar Zlatanović

Halil Tikveša created an authentic iconography based on the principles of poetic figuration, the vital energy of the senses, hedonism and lyrical metaphysics, with a strong belief in the power of visual arts to interpret the chthonic elements of heritage. The artist’s concept and visual compositions comprise sensual intimate scenes set in the Summer season, with luscious female bodies, amorous embraces, rowboats and the river Neretva as the main figures.




Photos of the opening of the Halil Tikveša's exhibition, the Graphic Collective, June 2004

Tikveša’s creative potential was acknowledged as early as 1966, when he received the Graphic Collective’s Large Seal award - the jury consisting of Peđa Milosavljević, Mladen Srbinović, and Branko Miljuš, referred to the ‘clarity of style, creative imagination, and contemporary poetics’ of his print “Elements of Wind”. The artist has had numerous exhibitions and awards, received local and international recognition, as well as many positive reviews from art critics such as Stojan Ćelić, Đorđe Kadijević, Ljiljana Slijepčević, and Ljiljana Ćinkul, who have attested to the strength of Tikveša’s artistic concept based on the visualization of the tectonic force of Being, which raises questions about Identity, Love, Ancestry, Life - its fullness and joys.

A retrospective exhibition in June / July 2004 at the Graphic Collective marked four decades since Tikveša's first solo exhibition in this Gallery. The exhibition was part of three simultaneous events that provided a complete overview and insight into the artist's extensive oeuvre - his drawings were exhibited in “Haos” Gallery, his collages and art objects in the Gallery of ULUS (Association of Fine Artists of Serbia), and a selection of the artist's printmaking works was on view in the Graphic Collective. In that representative selection of his opus, primarily aquatints and etchings, were recognizable motifs - round and voluminous figures, oval stylized boats and the river Neretva with its landscapes. The exhibition was rounded off by an installation of Herzegovinian large pebbles which were placed on the gallery floor; as artistic objects, these white perfect stone forms from nature were real and symbolic signs of the energy and antaean source of the artist's creative self. In the preface of the catalog, it was pointed out that even today Tikveša “doesn’t let go of the refuge of his homeland (Herzegovina) and, as Sisyphus, has no choice but to push the cargo of his native destiny up the Hill” (Lj. Ćinkul). Tikveša himself never perceives the mentioned load as a heavy burden, which can be seen in the lush plasticity and jovial/optimistic synergy of his pastoral landscapes and eroticized figuration. In this context, the titles of the graphic cycles themselves are suggestive - "Summer", "Hutovo", "Odysseus and Calypso", "The Charms of a Woman", "Like the Core of Summer".

In Tikveša's work, the idea of a heavenly ambience is materialized more as a vision of a warm and tangible daydream about the Garden of Pleasures than as a lament over lost/abandoned harmony. “While we think about the poetic sublimation of the experience of sensuality in these prints, footage from Pazolini's “Arabian Nights” comes to mind; we could say that in the sensuality and chastity of these two creative codes there is a certain spiritual analogy” - Ljiljana Ćinkul points out in the preface. This exhibition by Halil Tikveša, as well as the anniversaries of other prominent members of the Graphic Collective, are what binds together time and program, renewing personal and professional cycles, and elaborating new insights into the achievements and merits of prominent actors of our art scene.


Catalogue of the exhibition of Halil Tikveša, the Graphic Collective, June-July 2004
Summer 9, 1970, aquatint, 35x25 cm
The Old Mill, 1975, etching/aquatint, 62x50cm


Summer 23, 1976, aquatint, 60x50cm
A Travel Friend, 1970s, intaglio
Ice Cream on the Terrace, 1971, aquatint, 60x50cm


Odysseus and Calypso 2, 1979, etching/aquatint, 60x77cm
Drunk Boat, 1980, etching/aquatint, 56x77cm

Halil Tikveša (1935. 1935, Šurmanci, Herzegovina) graduated in 1961 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, where he also completed his postgraduate studies. Since 1962, he had many solo exhibitions (Mostar, Belgrade, Warsaw, Hanover, Geneva, Paris ...) and participated in collective exhibitions in Serbia/ex Yugoslavia and abroad (Belgrade, Zagreb, Budapest, Sao Paulo, Havana, Sydney, Ljubljana, Krakow, Paris, Prague, Stockholm, Berlin, Kyoto, New Delhi ...). He has won several awards and recognitions / selection: Award for graphics at the Spring Exhibition of ULUS, 1964, 1968; The Great Seal of the Graphic Collective, 1966; Award at the Triennial of Yugoslav Art, Belgrade, 1967; Award at the Exhibition of Yugoslav Printmaking, Zagreb, 1968; ULUS Golden Needle, 1974; Award for printmaking at the October Salon, 1976. He was a professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad until his retirement.

Translation from Serbian: Dunja Karanović



Graphic Collective Gallery, Dragoslava Jovanovića 11, Belgrade, Weekdays 12 - 20h, Saturdays 12 - 17h, Sundays closed
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