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Milica Antonijević

Ljiljana Ćinkul in her text "History in Progress" written for the publication marking 65 years of the Graphic Collective (Imprint of Time - History in Progress), quoted Octavio Paz: "To be truly modern, we must first accept our tradition" - a thought that expresses the essence of everything. It was the spirit that pervaded both throughout my five-year undergraduate studies under professors Bogdan Kršić and Božidar Džmerković (artists who fostered the tradition of the Graphic Collective) and while working on my Master's thesis under professor Milica Vučković (recipient of the Great Seal Award in 1980).

In August 2019, I had the opportunity to present a lecture on my work in the field of printmaking, as part of the jubilee celebration of the Graphic Collective, 70 years of activity, in the gallery of SANU (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts) in Belgrade.

The cycle of prints AQUA PERMANENS is my long-term commitment that has largely determined the poetics and essence of my work (drawing / painting / prints), so much that the doctoral art project that is in progress is titled Aqua permanens - multiplication of the matrix in shaping visual structures by bricolage ( paintings /objects) - exhibition of paintings. The initial impetus for the project was given by two previous exhibitions with the same title held in Salon 77 in Niš and the Graphic Collective Gallery in 2013.


Gallery SKC, Kragujevac, 2016.
May Exhibition of Printmaking, Graphic Collective, 2018.

In my creative process, I combine the classic technique of letterpress printing and use a roller as a tool while various reproducible industrial products serve as matrices. As a "binder", I mix white with other colors for halftones and industrial felt for laminate as the base that serves as a foundation. I never have a clearly planned sketch for my work, but only the basic idea, and while working I am guided by my feelings and many years of experience. As for the colors, everything I need for execution of the concept, that is, the idea, is to use black, silver, turquoise blue/mother-of-pearl green and gold. The change of paper also had a significant impact on the general impression of the prints. I did not take up the process of making handmade paper because I managed to find it on the market and it completely suited my concept. The edition, at least as far as large format prints are concerned, has long ceased to be an imperative for me. Author’s proofs fulfill my printmaking mission, for now. This procedure enabled me to adjust the making of prints in accordance with my concept and my sensibility, significantly speeding up the printing process, and all that without the direct use of a computer.


Golden Needle Award of ULUS, 2017.
Dark Breathing in 18 Fields, 2020.

The three exhibitions that preceded the doctoral art project and that strengthened the idea of paintings /objects as the final outcome were the exhibitions Seekers in the Atrium of the Belgrade City Library (2018), then Prints (with B. Otašević and V. Ranković) in City Gallery Bridges of the Balkans in Kragujevac (2019) and The First and Second State of Breathing, Rhythm and Natural Processes (with D. Novaković) in the National Museum Gallery in Kragujevac (2020).

At the Seekers exhibition, I also showcased, for the first time, a mini series made of black matte Klirit with a glowing background with motifs directly taken from the prints. Among the presented works were sculptures /lanterns with impressions of matrices used for prints. The leitmotif of the Prints exhibition was the thought, that is, the analysis of professor Bogdan Kršić: “For a long time now, modern printmaking has been developing in two basic, often opposite directions: towards a small, intimate, book sized form, and towards a large, gallery one. The first (...) manages to maintain and improve traditional printmaking procedures, opposing the second, which is moving further and further away from printmaking and touches on other artistic fields, mainly alternative visual research in the spirit of general tendencies. " Vladimir Ranković wrote, in the catalog text, that the intention of the exhibition Prints was to show, to a certain extent, what modern prints could be, and the exhibited works undoubtedly belonged to second direction.

The latest exhibition The First and Second State of Breathing, Rhythm and Natural Processes was an attempt to connect two elements, water and air, so they could be perceived through prints, analog black and white photographs and the joint video Nebulae that connected the seemingly incompatible . Another attempt to go beyond the framework of classical printmaking expression and presentation and move into the field of installation and object was the work Dark Breathing in 18 Fields presented for the first time in this exhibition.

Atrium of the Belgrade City Library, 2018.

The subject of the doctoral art project Aqua Permanens - multiplication of the matrix in the design of visual structures by the process of bricolage (hereinafter Aqua permanens) is the realization of the research procedure in the design of visual structures. The project refers to the research of structures and their interaction obtained by using available material in the form of industrially obtained matrices, i.e. consumer goods, which I used earlier in the realization of prints, paintings and drawings.

The artistic goal of the proposed project Aqua Permanens is the realization of visual structures by transposing existing matrices, that is, the impressions obtained by their use in the printmaking process, into new structural concepts with the application of the bricolage procedure. The initial idea refers to new possibilities in the realization of the image in my previous artistic practice, by compounding the matrices that give the newly created compositions a large number of mutual combinations, and serve as a link in research, for me, a new bricolage procedure in relation to already used and verified results in printmaking. Thus, within one image, smaller three-dimensional objects made by the process of bricolage could stand out and would dominate in the two-dimensional form of the image.

By a procedure of simple templates that will represent the first matrix, compounding the industrially obtained matrix and its parts, multiplication, construction, deconstruction, reduction, repetition, complex units will be made that will represent a consistent work of art.


IV Međunarodno trijenale grafike, UP Cvijeta Zuzorić, 2020.
Majska izložba Grafičkog kolektiva, 2020.

The intention is to expand the form of the exhibition, to make the art project Aqua Permanens a consistent work, but also as fragmentary wholes, available to the public at different levels of presentation. The idea is to avoid a documentary presentation of the origin and presentation of the project, but that the work can be "possessed" in fragments - smaller wholes. I will achieve this through applications specifically programmed for these works, occasion and devices. Despite the fact that these compositions are executed in the techniques of collage, bricolage, etc., it is only an illusion because each part of the image that exists in a real setting will be interpreted differently when viewed through a technological product (e.g. mobile phone, tablet, etc.).

Student' City Cultural Center, Belgrade, 2017.
Modern gallery, Lazarevac, 2019.
Gallery Bridges of the Balkans, Kragujevac, 2019.

Thus, we get the opportunity to gain a completely different impression, vision and interpretation of the work, using classical techniques in relation to the conceptual essence that I want to present to the observer.

The goal of this approach is that, although the work physically exists in a limited and finalized format, in virtual reality it gives each observer the opportunity to see it according to his/her own desire and sensibility. It will be a "passive-interactive" work that will not exclusively be limited by specific conditions and space, but which each observer can, in accordance with his/her own discretion, observe in his/her own way, record that image and take it with him/her out of the gallery space.

Richard Noyce, the art critic from Great Britain, said in one his conclusions made in 2009: "Prints are art, and contemporary prints are contemporary art." Artists who have chosen to create and express themselves in the medium of printmaking at the moment are faced with A GREAT CHALLENGE in the creative and every other sense. The curators will be there to follow them, verify and point out new aspirations ... And the Graphic Collective, as Ljiljana Slijepčević, the art historian, wrote: ... "is both the custodian of the autonomy of printmaking creativity as well as the expansion of the framework of that autonomy."

Milica Antonijević
Kragujevac, 14 September 2020

Translation from Serbian: Vanda Perović

Milica Antonijević (1973, Kraljevo, Serbia), graduated in 1997; postgraduate studies Applied Arts and Design in 2003; doctoral studies Applied Arts and Design, presently, at the Faculty of Applied Arts and Design in Belgrade. ULUS, 1998. Professor for drawing and painting at the Faculty of Philology and Arts, Kragujevac. More than 32 solo exhibitions, since 1995 and more than 300 group exhibitions, including biennial and triennial exhibitions nationally and internationally. “Gold Needle” award at the spring ehxibition, ULUS, 2017, Belgrade.

Awards (selection):
2002. Grand Prix for graphics, 2nd November Salon, Maržik Gallery, Kraljevo
2006. Purchase prize for graphics, National Museum, Kragujevac
2007. First prize for drawing at the 14th drawing exhibition, Gallery of the Cultural Center, Šabac
2008. First prize for graphics at the 52nd October Salon, National Museum, Šabac
2009. Second prize for drawing, 9th November Salon, Maržik Gallery, Kraljevo
2011. Third prize for graphics, 10th November Salon, Maržik Gallery, Kraljevo
2012. Purchase Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, Small Graphics, Gallery Grafički kolektiv, Beograd
2015. First prize for graphics at the 9th EX-YU competition, SKC Gallery, Novi Beograd
2015. Phurchase Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, painting for the collection, National Museum, Kragujevac
2017. Golden Needle at the ULUS Spring Exhibition, Cvijeta Zuzorić, Belgrade
2018. Purchase Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, Small Graphics, Gallery Grafički kolektiv, Belgrade
2019. Purchase Prize for graphics, National Museum, Kraljevo



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