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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Miodrag Nagorni


Miodrag Nagorni, with his creative commitment and artistic production lasting six decades, is an example of an artist for whom art is a kind of paradigm of existence and destiny in the causal sequence of factum-fatum. In the very rich and respectable professional biography of Nagorni, the dominant position belongs to his printmaking practice, based, above all, on his superior drawing technique. A part of the creative ambitions in his diverse resume is also devoted to painting. It can be said that the most intense and successful period in this artistic career belongs to the 1960s and 1970s, the golden age of social and cultural life in Yugoslavia. In those decades, printmaking also represented an exclusive segment of contemporary artistic practice, and Miodrag Nagorni, in full creative maturity and agility, by participating in respectable events dedicated to this medium, strengthened his position as a prominent artist.
In the Graphic Collective, Nagorni exhibited for the first time in 1958, and a decade later, in 1967, he had a very notable performance, among the twelve authors who were nominated for the Youth Biennale in Paris, a prestigious event where he was awarded for his printmaking work. In November 1977, he presented a new series of prints in the Collective, the thematic focus of which was the life of bees. Sreto Bošnjak, the author of the foreword in the exhibition catalog, pointed out that the acquisition of drawing and printmaking mastery and superior knowledge in technological processes presented for Nagorni a prerequisite to "articulate matter into the entirety of the experience" and to focus on "the fate of the work of art itself, its complex relationship to the issues of human existence, human situatedness in the cosmos and, in addition, to some basic philosophical problems that touch the very essence of matter".


     

M. Nagorni in his studio, photo B. Karanović; Opening of Miodrag Nagorni's exhibition at Graphic Collective, October 2011 (M. Nagorni, Lj. Slijepčević, B. Karanović)


In her reception as art historian-critic, Ljiljana Slijepčević classified Nagorni's printmaking work in the chapter New Forms of Fantasy, bringing his work into relation with the poetic symbolism of the first post-war generation of fine art printmakers in Serbia. A confirmation of his creative foundation was also the selection of Nagorni's works at the strictly selected exhibition One Century of Printmaking, held in 2003 in the Gallery of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU).
The exhibition "Poetic Visions of the Cosmos" held at the Graphic Collective in October 2011, presented a selection from the artist’s printmaking oeuvre, which reactualized the somewhat neglected, but due to its media vitality and possibilities of new readings, anthological works of Miodrag Nagorni. In the text in the catalog, Ljiljana Ćinkul stated that the entire poetic world of the artist is focused on "unraveling the mystery of the birth of life and the riddle of nature - from cosmic, microscopic, primeval, the perspectives of fossil and bee - to various metamorphoses, sound and noise, to echo and silence, to drops of life juices, to the beehive as a metaphor..."


M. Nagorni, Untitled, 1958, engraving, 50x35cm; M. Nagorni, Bee, etching/aquatint, 67x57cm; M. Nagorni, Performed in Belgrade, 1963, etching, 50x35cm; M. Nagorni, Two Bodies, 1968, etching, 61x43cm


There is a well-known anecdote about the small amber that Nagorni showed to his students, trying to associate it with the values of the fossil code of past millennia. During his study stay in Oslo in 1966, the experience of looking through a microscope revealed to him the world and the richness of forms of microorganisms and their changing states. As a fantasist with an alchemical spirit, he fed his poetic fictions with data from the fields of modern physics, astronomy, literature, history, philosophy, religion, spiritual heritage and collective memory. He lived and created reclusively, somewhat hermetically in his own planetarium, combining symbols of nature and metaphysics, artistic transposition to the enigmatic... In his works, a noble drawing fabric is structured and poetic visions of the cosmos develop.
Symbols - organic geometric forms are associated with flowers, fruits, chromosomes, radiating fossils, amoebas... The author visualizes in his drawings and printmaking series the relationship between the individual and the multitude in the creation of life - in a very small and infinitely large space, in the similarity between cosmic movements and those in atoms and their cores. Nagorni constructs legible forms of biomorphic and vegetal associativity that resemble the structures of crystalloid schemes; he concretizes with his magical talismans the energy of radiation and birth, the process of creating matter in its complex forms.

Translation: Dunja Karanović


                       

Catalogs of Miodrag Nagorni's exhibitions at the Graphic Collective 1977, 2011; "Painter of life", interview of Aleksandra Mijalković with Miodrag Nagorni, Politika Magazin, 11. 12. 2011.


Miodrag Nagorni (1932. Vlasotince - 2016. Belgrade) graduated in 1958 from the Academy of Fine Arts (prof. N. Gvozdenović), in Belgrade, where he also completed a special course in 1961. He specialized in graphics in 1966 in Oslo, in the studio of Anne Breivik, and with S. W. Hayter in 1969 in Paris. Since 1966, he has been a member of the international group of graphic artists "Atelier Nord", Oslo. He was a professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. His works are in many museum and private collections. In 2013, the native department of the National Library "Desanka Maksimović" in Vlasotince opened the legacy of Miodrag Nagorni with a collection of paintings, prints and portraits of the people of Vlasotince.




 

 

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