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Miodrag B. Protić (1922-2014)
“Watercolour as a Sign, a Symbol, a Path towards the Whole”

Miodrag Protić was a unique personality within contemporary Serbian culture, and thanks to his work and dedication to making art, he became one of the most influential people to make a mark on our art scene during the second half of the twentieth century. In his parallel and continuous work, Protić acted as a painter, scholar and author of many significant studies of art, as well as the founder and director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. The amount of work this polymath and intellectual produced would have been enough for several lifetimes. His impressive professional resume was one of the many reasons why all of his exhibitions and publications always received special attention.


In his creative reflections, Protić usually started working from sketches and drawings, which were significant for his painting practice as a kind of conceptual foundation; as it usually happens, the sketches were left unexhibited, overshadowed by the paintings. These watercolours play an important role to us as a sort of database, as they focus on the “problem within”, mapping out the way from the original idea to the painterly realizations, or final products (in which all of the details have been finalized and the large:small proportions set in balance). An original energy and spontaneity are qualities specific to these significant episodes of drawing in Protić’s artwork, and they represent a precious collection of artwork.

The very title of the exhibition, “Watercolour as a Sign, a Symbol, a Path towards the Whole” said a lot about the significance of these works for the artist’s oeuvre. It was in this exhibition, in the Graphic Collective in 2010, that Protić first exhibited only his watercolours.




“Just like his oil paintings, Protić’s watercolours are based on the same principles of a typically modernist two-dimensional sense of space, flat layers and a non-descriptive quality of colour, which does not come from the colouration of natural phenomena, but from the inner laws and demands of the artwork itself, and the sense of relation and tonal gradation between its elements. Protić often made watercolours, but with regular breaks due to other, more high-priority engagements. He worked on them more intensely when he had the opportunity, and such was the case during a two-month stay in the art colony “Yaddo” in Saratoga Springs, USA in July-August 1981. It was during this time that Protić created over a hundred sketches and finished pieces.” (from the Foreword by Ješa Denegri)
Translation from Serbian: Dunja Karanović





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