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Kosta Bogdanović

Kosta Bogdanović, was a sculptor, art theorist and historian, curator - a polymath whose layered and comprehensive work represents an essential part of our contemporary culture’s history. His works are part of museum exhibits and his monumental works are exhibited in public spaces in Belgrade and elsewhere. He founded the first Center for Visual Culture in this region, and held many professional seminars. He was a professor in universities and lecturer on art theory, while a significant part of his pedagogical work was put into creating fine art textbooks. He was a warm and gentle person with high ethical standards, openness and dedication to art, science, and teaching. He was a beloved colleague whose intellectual and creative disposition and renaissance character were respected among contemporaries. This particular synergy of friendship, professional relationships and trust within the artist-gallery dialogue can be seen in Bogdanović’s two exhibitions in the Graphic Collective. His first solo exhibition was held in the Collective’s gallery in 1964, and the second, a jubilee, in 2004. This period spans the most important phases of the artist’s understated, yet sophisticated and coherent creative poetics.

Video of the opening of the Kosta Bogdanović's exhibition, the Graphic Collective, October 2004; Video by: Aleksandar Zlatanović

Marking the fortieth year of his artistic career, Kosta Bogdanović presented his “Small Paintings” exhibition in the Graphic Collective in October 2004, as part of his series “Virtuality of the Three-Dimensional” (1995-2003). The exhibited drawings were a continuation of his research into the spirited shape with an aura, in which the author explored the concept of three-dimensional forms and their illusions in our visual culture. His refined line and sensibility for the dialogue between form and material were accompanied by projected frames. The works were conceived/projected as wall installations, and grouped into series and systems whose poetic concision and asceticism confirm Bogdanović’s main artistic values: beautiful, sublime, healthy, and quiet. The exhibition was opened by the art historian Ljiljana Slijepčević, who pointed out that a sculptor’s point of view was discreetly visible in the ways in which the author dealt with the forms and subtle volumes of his drawings. Kosta Bogdanović didn’t look for hierarchy in his hybrid painterly/sculptural forms, he sought after a process of shedding contemporary light onto ideas through materials and forms. He explored the theoretical aspects of visuality and visibility and the relationships between what is really seen and what is imagined. The ease with which he switched between different media reflects “the sublimation of great experience in both art theory and practice, which work together in harmony”, as Ljiljana Ćinkul put it in the exhibition catalogue.





Photos of the opening of the Kosta Bogdanović's exhibition, the Graphic Collective, October 2004

Bogdanović’s artistic oeuvre was inspired by the foundations of the ancient arts of the Middle and Far East - the Japanese, Islamic, and Byzantine art and cultures. He was devoted to creating a new and expansive understanding of the beautiful and sublime in art. His years of artistic practice were especially marked by a sensibility for materials/matter, and more specifically - wood. “When I take a piece of wood into my hands, I start off by observing it in order to understand what it expects from me… The spirit of wood is very important. Ancient peoples believed the spirit of wood (trees) was much wiser than man.” - the artist used to say. He described the state of contemporary man as a “time of universal and visual pollution”. This sense of pollution was probably what drove him towards a reduced colour palette, consisting mainly of ultramarine, gold, and white. “Ultramarine is a colour which cannot be found in nature; what we perceive as blue is just air… Ultramarine is the last shade before violet. It is a colour which suggests depth and symbolizes the spiritual realm, the sky and the cosmos. (Marija Đorđević, “Politika”, 09.10.2012.)


Catalogue of the exhibition of Kosta Bogdanović, the Graphic Collective, October 2004



Photos of the exhibition of Kosta Bogdanović "Small Paintings", the Graphic Collective, October 2004

Kosta Bogdanović (Osijek near Sarajevo, 1930 - Belgrade, 2012) graduated in 1962 art history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. From 1958 to 1961, he studied sculpture in the studio of Sreten Stojanović. A member of ULUS since 1962, he has exhibited more than 40 solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in the country and abroad; his works are in numerous museum collections in Serbia and around the world. He realized 27 sculptures in public space in Belgrade, Pančevo, Šabac, Kikinda, Majdanpek, Apatin, Zenica, Split ... In the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, where he worked as a curator, museum advisor and director (1985-87), he founded in 1974 the Center for Visual Culture as an innovative department for museum pedagogical work. He has held hundreds of professional seminars, lectures and educational exhibitions in the field of visual culture, which he founded as a subject in higher art education. He was a professor at art academies in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Novi Sad and Belgrade. Bogdanović has published more than ten books in the field of the theory of visual culture and the history of sculpture, including "Introduction to Visual Culture", "Awareness of Form 1, 2", "Poetics of the Visual", "Poetics of the Visible", "Face and Character in Visual Cognition”. He participated in the publication of a series of textbooks for art education in elementary schools. The selection of the awards Bogdanović received include: Zlatni beočug (1974), Politika Award (1993), ULUPUDS Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), Belgrade City Award for the retrospective exhibition “Sublime in the Shadow” (2010), held in 2009 at the House legacy in Belgrade, which presented six decades of his work. At that exhibition, which was shown in other cities as well, the author Rajka Bošković, curator of the Sculpture Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, who dedicated her master thesis to the work of Kosta Bogdanović, presented Bogdanović's sculptures, paintings, photographs, conceptual works, posters and drawings.

Translation from Serbian: Dunja Karanović



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