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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


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.



Boško Karanović


Even in the most concisely summarized history of contemporary printmaking in Serbia, a distinguished place would belong to Boško Karanović, painter, printmaker, teacher, and mediator of this important artistic discipline. The question of the autonomy of printmaking as an artistic field was raised and largely elaborated in our region during the second half of the 20th century. Naturally, such complex issues cannot be solved by a single person, nor is this process up to one generation to untangle. The historical moment in time was also an important factor for printmaking itself to develop, push boundaries, break down prejudices, and become an integral part of contemporary art. Awareness of the specificity of the printmaking medium was reached by noticing the differences and understanding its true being, the essence of which has to do with its semiotic nature.
Certainly, the artistic activity of Boško Karanović is an inseparable part of the roots, inception, and life of modern printmaking in Serbia, and his personal practice almost provides us with a key for understanding its wider poetic codes.


       

Boško Karanović, portrait;
Boško Karanović, Počitelj, 1984, 50x40 cm
Boško Karanović, Couples, 18x19 cm


Karanović's decades-long artistic practice is rooted in strong and important experiences from his youth and being brought up in the spirit of community, the conviction that the collective front is more important than the individual, and that selflessness is the quality by which brotherhood is maintained.
It was that collective enthusiasm that brought Karanović to become one of the four founders of the Graphic Collective in 1949, which grew from a printmaking workshop in Obilićev venac no. 27 into a gallery of the same name. Karanović established the Graphic Collective as an international branch of ARTA, he founded printmaking collections (at the Academy and in the Graphic Collective), and during the 1990's he led informal printmaking workshops and courses, believing in his mission as an educator to promote this creative medium among amateurs and appreciators.
Boško Karanović had several solo exhibitions in the Graphic Collective, in 1952, and in 1953 and 1955 he exhibited with Stojan Ćelić and Mladen Srbinović. These joint exhibitions represent a turning point in the 1950s printmaking scene of Belgrade.
Karanović's lively artistic career took place during the 1950s and 1960s; he exhibited in the Yugoslav pavilion at the Venice Biennale, in international printmaking exhibitions, as well as in group shows of Yugoslav artists abroad. At that time, he was awarded several relevant awards and recognitions for his work, finalized by the Graphic Collective’s "Big Seal" in 1968 for the linogravure "Herceg’s panel".


               

Boško Karanović, Untitled, 68x46 cm
Boško Karanović, Herzeg's Panel, 1967, 76x56 cm; The Great Seal Award in 1968
Boško Karanović, From Ada Ciganlija, 1992, 42x29 cm


In the Small Monograph of the Graphic Collective from 1983, with a significant study by Zoran Pavlović, 139 Karanović’s works were recorded in the list of prints created from 1945 to 1983; in addition to anthological works, it featured print series, illustrations, diplomas and other works of applied arts. His paintings, mosaics and tapestries were not included in this overview.
It has been stated previously, and we can still hold it to be true, that pedagogy was the main priority of Karanović’s multifaceted career. He inherited the Printmaking Department Chair at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts from his professor Mihajlo Petrov, and continued to be its spiritus movens for decades. In a conversation recorded in 1974, professor Karanović stated: "My life is the teacher's calling." This sentence stands as a natural framework for decades of practice and directs our attention to his commitment to pedagogical work as a creative act. The sentence Homines, dum decent, discunt. (Engl. While teaching others, people themselves learn) could be read as the life motto of this Teacher. Undoubtedly, Boško Karanović used both his creative and pedagogical practice in an attempt to return the specific significance to each printmaking technique. This led him to a thorough research of the printmaking medium, based mostly on getting to know the experience of old masters. From one such experiment at the graphic department of the Academy, together with his colleagues, Karanović innovated linogravure, so it can be said that his graphic opus reached its creative peak within this technique.
The artistic printmaking practice of Boško Karanović is marked by a synthetic expression whose character is determined by a mimetic approach to nature and an amalgam of the historical layers of civilization. Karanović's iconography, with legible stylized forms and symbols, has preserved its idea and orthographic legibility, which stands out in the context of our contemporary art because of its moderation and unpretentiousness.
With the idea of the essence of the graphic sign and the skill of the craft, as well as their role in determining the medium, Boško Karanović irradiated generations in well-tempered waves; The exhibition "Karan and Students", organized in 1985, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Karanović's work, is a true testimony to the meaning of the pedagogical vocation and its challenges.
The exhibition "Through Museums - Drawings from a Pocket Sketchbook", held in 2008 at the Graphic Collective, presented a chronology from Boško Karanović's early scholarship trips abroad to his later years, becoming a kind of impression and projection of personal chronicles of art history. The intimate character of these sketches and notes are signals of the author's artistic sources.

Translation: Dunja Karanović


Boško Karanović, Repetition I, 18x37 cm


Boško Karanović (1924. Bosanska Krupa – 2009. Belgrade)
He graduated in 1948 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, class of prof. Marko Čelebonović. He completed a specialization in graphics in 1949, class of prof. Mihail Petrov. He studied painting in the class of prof. Milo Milunović, Ivan Tabaković and Nedeljko Gvozdenović. Since 1952, he has exhibited independently (Belgrade, Zagreb ...) and at collective exhibitions in the country and abroad (Belgrade, Zurich, New Delhi, Ljubljana, Venice, Berlin, Lyon, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Rome, Brussels, Murska Sobota , Washington ...). Awards / selection: October Award of Belgrade, 1958; October Salon Award, 1960; ULUS Golden Needle, 1970; Vuk's Award, 1985. He is one of the founders of the Graphic Collective. Within the activities of the Graphic Collective, he founded the Club of Friends of Graphic Art. He has been systematically collecting graphic works of students since 1951 and formed the Collection of Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts. He was member of the art group Samostalni. He is the author of conceptual solutions for monuments (mosaics) that were realized in Belgrade, Ruda, Bela Crkva, Bosanska Krupa and Cazin. He was a professor at the Academy / Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade.




 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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