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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Vera Božičković Popović
"Drawings - New York"


Vera Božičković Popović (1920 Brčko - 2002 Belgrade) was an artist whose works have been part of our vibrant art scene for decades, who captivated with her sophisticated femininity and convincing creative imagination applied in painting, drawing, tapestry, theater and film costume, and who created a significant oeuvre within the national art scene of the second half of the 20th century. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1949, in the class of prof. Marko Čelebonović, and two years earlier she took part in the activities of the Zadar Group. She was a member of the Association of Serbian Artists LADA. She spent a long time in Paris, and in the eighties she returned to America with her husband Mića Popović and their son Jovan. She started having solo exhibitions from 1956, in Belgrade, Sombor, Rovinj, Kragujevac, Topola, Bijeljina, Loznica, as well as participating in many important national and international group exhibitions. She received several awards, and her works are included in public and private collections in the country and abroad. Critics followed and evaluated the work of Vera Božičković, emphasizing in their texts the author's contribution to the aesthetics of Informel - from the apologist of this poetics - Lazar Trifnović, to texts by Miodrag Protić, Radomir Konstantinović, Ješa Denegri, Zoran Markuš, and the monographic study ofJovan Despotović.


         

Vera Božičković Popović, The Graphic Collective Gallery, 1956 (from photo-archive of Borba);
Drawing from the New York cycle, 1981


Recognizable for her specific abstract process, the painting of Vera Božičković Popović reached its full expressive potential by the end of the sixties in the form of "sculptural painting" (Jovan Despotović) - a unique contribution to the Yugoslav informel. In relation to the dominant poetic trajectory of her painting, the exhibition organized in the Graphic Collective in September 1981 "Drawings - New York" was a double novelty and a surprise. Although the reflection of urban environments has been present in Serbian art, especially that of local and European centers, primarily Paris, the artistic impressions of the American megalopolis as a "geometric synthesis of glass and concrete" (Z. Markuš) represented a significant creative step forward at the time. The painting of matter gave way to expressive drawing, and the choice of motifs and different treatment of surfaces in the realization of the works brought back space to the center of the stage. These drawings were focused on some of the striking symbols of New York, highlighted by the names of the works: Third Avenue I, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Patrick of Fifth Avenue II, Chrysler Building in the Mirror, etc. Somewhere between being representational and illusory, these projections of sharp architectural verticals have subordinated the mimetic aspect to the psychological observation of space, which at times acts like "an expressionist nightmare" (Z. Markuš). In the foreword to the catalog, analyzing the two basic models applied by the painter - the mirror option and the painting within the painting - Lazar Trifunović talks about the possibilities of a self-space in which “the painter does not show what is really in front of her, but a space she is in and perceives more as a psychological than a physical phenomenon. Božičković skillfully used that monumental mirror that absorbs and attracts the surrounding shapes as a compositional basis upon which drawings emerge with a developed contrast between a strict geometric grid and the broken lines of the imaginary world in the mirror". Emphasizing the lucidity of the artist's creative perception, Trifunović writes about the new connotations, metaphorical and symbolic meanings of her paintings, elegiac atmosphere and harmony of different effects, and the contrast of "real and imaginary, organization and entropy, reality and dream".

Translation from Serbian: Dunja Karanović


Invitation for the exhibition of Vera Božičković Popović "Drawings - New York", September 1981



 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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