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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Milan Blanuša


Milan Blanuša, is a visual artist and a striking author who has for over five decades been building a recognizable oeuvre of drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures with a convincing intellectual and creative habitus. He skillfully articulates an expressive poetic code with a multifaceted figure in the center of attention and thus sublimates critical messages. Expressing his conceptual preoccupations in several different media simultaneously, he ranges from examining the social phenomena related to the alienation of modern man, often visualized in an impersonal and a grotesque caricature of the yapi, to artistic self-referencing and relativization of established cultural paradigms. The course of Blanuša's creative development - from his debut exhibitions until today - can be followed through an insight into his solo exhibitions in the Graphic Collective (1972, 1997, 2005, 2010), as well as his continuous participation in other programs of the Gallery - May Exhibition of Printmaking, Small Print Form, etc.


   

Video of the opening of the Milan Blanuša's exhibition "About Beckman", drawings and sculptures,
the Graphic Collective, October 1997.
Video of the opening of the Milan Blanuša's exhibition "Wo stehst du mit deiner Kunst, Kollege?",
the Graphic Collective, June 2005; video by: Aleksandar Zlatanović

   

Videos of the opening of the Milan Blanuša's exhibition "We decide what art is",
the Graphic Collective, November 2010; video by: Aleksandar Zlatanović


The exhibition of drawings, organized in February 1972, was put together shortly after Blanuša finished his postgraduate studies with Professor Voigt in Braunschweig. In the foreword to the catalog, Stojan Ćelić expressed his observations about the synergy of the two experiences and two ways of artistic thinking - Belgrade, Braunschweig - and the initiation of the concept, which will further affirm Blanusa in his work.

The natural logic of Blanuša's nurturing of his own creative potential towards different media is visible in the "About Beckman" series, which essentially thematizes the idea of transformation. Drawings, graphics and terracotta sculptures, exhibited in October 1997 in the Art Gallery of the Cultural Center of Belgrade and the Graphic Collective, conquering a close-up of a face or figure (male or female), in their suggestive and powerful action, examine the paradoxes of man and the world, with pronounced existential nausea, as a sincere and deep creative obsession. Paraphrasing the psychological drama of Beckman's self-portraits, Blanuša sums up his own reflections through a great spiritual brotherhood with other artists.


                 

Catalogues of Milan Blanuša's solo exhibitions held in the Graphic Collective 1972-2010.


The idea that neutral art does not exist, which Blanusa will deepen in his following thematic series, almost in the form of visual exclamation, dominates the composition of “Belgrade by Night”, a drypoint for which he was awarded the Grand Seal of the Graphic Collective in 2000. The awarded work, depicting the motif of a raised fist “stood out with its powerful artistic expression, technique suitable for the idea, impressive iconography as well as dramatic testimony about our present” - conclude the members of the jury for the award, Irina Subotić, Biljana Vuković and Branko Pavić.

The provocative title of the project “Wo stehst du mit Deiner Kunst, Kollege? / Where are you with your art, colleague? ” which Blanuša presented in the Graphic Collective in June/July 2005 can also be understood as a testamentary appeal of one generation to another at the turn of the century. Exploring the poetic ideals and political misconceptions of the German painter Imendorf, Blanuša's system of messages is read as a creative walk along the thin line between translating politics into history and its re-interpretation with fierce visual provocation. In that context, the artist frames a gallery of famous characters of the communist international - Tito, Castro, Marx, Engels, Stalin, Mao… The conditions of media and traditional norms were also relativized by the curatorial concept, as the matrices were exhibited on the walls while the actual prints could be leafed through in portfolios.


   

Photos of the opening of Milan Blanuša's exhibition "Wo stehst du mit deiner Kunst, Kollege?",
the Graphic Collective, June 2005.

   

Photos of the opening of Milan Blanuša's exhibition "We decide what art is",
the Graphic Collective, November 2010.


The new series of prints “We Decide What Art Is” presented in November 2010 builds on the subversive discourse of previous problem frameworks. The title of the series, in the form of an exclusive statement, indicates Blanuša's opinion that criticism is uniform today. Blanuša focused on the artist:critic/art historian relationship through iterations of one person’s portrait (Ješa Denegri) in 15 prints, each with the name of a younger colleague. The series explores the question of spiritual authority, professional positions and expectations, mutual trust/respect, and ethics/aesthetics in the processes of interpreting art.


Milan Blanuša (1943. Jagodina) graduated in 1967 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, class of prof. Ljubica Sokić. He completed his postgraduate studies in 1971 at the State College of Fine Arts in Braunschweig. Blanuša specialized in printmaking in 1978 at the State College of Fine Arts in Frankfurt am Main. Since 1968, he has exhibited independently (Braunschweig, Cologne, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Paris ...) and at collective exhibitions in the country and abroad (Hanover, Regensburg, Coventry, Bratislava, Bucharest, Manila, Olbeni, Miskolc, Alexandria ... ). Awards / Selection: First Prize for Drawing at the 14th Biennial of Mediterranean Countries, Alexandria, 1982; ULUS Golden Palette, 1992; First prize for graphics at the International Biennial of Graphics, Belgrade, 1997; Grand Prix at the International Biennial of Graphics Suva igla, Užice, 1999; Politika Award from the Vladislav Ribnikar Fund, 2001; "Sava Shumanović" Award for painting, Novi Sad, 2005. He worked as professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.


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