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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Slavko Milenković


The exceptional talent of Slavko Milenković was noticed as early as during his studies, preserved in the memories of his colleagues who studied under professors Božidar Džmerković and Bogdan Kršić at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. Certainly, Milenkovic's unique artistic voice was confirmed in practice, as he stood out even with his first prints and drawings created in the 1980s. Milenković's restless and investigative spirit boldly introduced new elements into his own rich creative field and always surprised with his new and fresh solutions. The poetics of his work are characterized by intelligent ingenuity, wit and lucidity.


         

           

S. Milenković, Some occurrences, somewhere, 1992, dry point, 35x40 cm;
S. Milenković, Untitled, 1980, lithography, 63x44 cm
S. Milenković, III-5, 1984, intaglio, 56.5x70 cm
S. Milenković, Time, 1997, intaglio, 64.5x43 cm


Already during his first solo exhibition of prints, held at the Graphic Collective in 1985, responding to the challenges of the times, the artist hinted at the strongholds of his own inquiries, leaving the impression of an extremely sensitive creator who strives to preserve his own integrity despite being torn between current artistic dilemmas and doubts brought about by challenges of life and creativity. In Milenkovic's long career, a complex system of thinking developed through the evolution of ideas defined through different practices, conceptions and iconography; he created in various fields of contemporary visual arts - from drawing, printmaking, painting to terracotta, photography, graphic design. Obviously, in his creative chronology, he devoted most of his time to drawing, which is confirmed by two exhibitions of drawings in the Graphic Collective, held in 1989 and 1997.
“If we look at the artistic profile of Slavko Milenković in a complex way, it depicts the personality of a printmaker both by education and by vocation, so his pursuit of graphic refinement in these drawings is also understandable. The line of dialogue with the technique, characteristic of the graphic medium, is situated in an emphasized graphic sign that develops as a broken form... The impressively solemn tone of Milenkovic's drawings, with varying colored signs, reminds of a game in which the duration is not determined. The poetic titles of works such as The Confluence of the Congo into the Adriatic Sea, Neon Love, Announced Scream, touch upon restlessness with their enigmatic tones, searching for new situations in which nothing is ordinary.” – as written by Ljiljana Ćinkul in 1989.
On the occasion of the exhibition of drawings in 1997, Kosta Bogdanović explained in the preface the idea of visual metaphor and symbolizing the ambience of the space, stressing that the drawings “point to an authentic world of vision that demonstrates not only contemporary drawing possibilities, but also Milenkovic’s unique creative maturity.” In his review of this exhibition, Jovan Despotović noted:
“The poetic world of the artists revealed, among other things, their desire to translate the external reality into a symbolic language of signs, which will partly be an artificial testimony of time and partly, which is more important for the art itself , individual evidence of an active relationship to the conditions in which we all reside, but do not possess the same level of perception or sensitivity to identify such a reality in all its oddities.”


   

   

S. Milenković, About Time, 2007, digital print, 50x84 cm, Great Seal Award 2008;
S. Milenković, One look changes everything, 2008, digital print, 16x24 cm
S. Milenković, Postcard, 2009, digital print, 47x94 cm
S. Milenković, About time, in more detail, 2009, digital print, 47x80 cm


In the new millennium, Milenkovic's graphic production is dominated by digital technology, and his new iconography of pictorial representations based on personal photographic experience, quotes from art history and the use of signs and symbols from various fields of visual communication was written about by Gordana Dobric on the occasion of the 2009 printmaking exhibition in the Graphic Collective. The Great Seal Award of the Graphic Collective was unanimously awarded to Slavko Milenković in 2008 for his work On Time with the explanation: “in Milenković's style, the apparent simplicity of the collage situation reveals a convincing and layered visual game of framed fields and broken compositions. In this work, the jury especially emphasized sensibility for the chosen medium – in this case, the adequate application of digital technology.”

Translation: Dunja Karanović


     

Catalogs of Slavko Milenković's exhibitions at the Graphic Collective in 1985, 1989, 1997 and 2009.


Slavko Milenković (1959-2018. Belgrade) graduated in 1982 at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, class of prof. Božidar Džmerković and prof. Bogdan Kršić, where he completed his postgraduate studies in 1985, class of prof. Bozidar Džmerković. Since 1985, he has exhibited independently (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Volvic, Šamalije) and at collective exhibitions (Zagreb, Krakow, Bhopal, Koči, Varna, Belgrade...). Awards/selection: 3rd prize at the International Print Biennale Suva igla, Užice, 1993; IV prize at the 3rd International Triennial of Graphics, Kochi, Japan, 1996; Special recognition for contribution to the development of graphics on the occasion of an independent exhibition at the 4th triennial of small format graphics in Chamalier, France, 1997; Award of ULUS at the International Biennale of Graphics, Belgrade, 1998; Prize of the Museum of Applied Arts at the 42nd October Salon, Belgrade, 2001; Big seal of the Graphic Collective, 2008.


 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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