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Ješa Denegri


AN EXAMPLE OF AN EXHIBITION OF YUGOSLAV PRINTS ORGANIZED BY THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY IN PRAGUE IN 1968

The cultural policy, that presented and promoted contemporary Yugoslav art in the sixties of the last century, gave the discipline of printmaking a prominent role. One such example was the exhibition "Yugoslav Prints" (Jugoslavska grafika) at the National Gallery (Narodni galerie) in Prague in 1968, realized according to the program of the Federal Commission for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. The exhibition included 52 artists of different generations with a total of 135 prints executed in different stylistic directions and technical procedures. The Museum received additional funds for the realization of this project, intended for the purchase of exhibits, which significantly supplemented and expanded its print collection. According to the unwritten rules of the time, the selection of participants for representative exhibitions of contemporary Yugoslav art abroad, took into account the proportional representation of artists from all republics. However, in this case the criteria was based primarily on artistic values. When defining the concept of this exhibition, the professional body of the Museum was aware that Yugoslav prints should be presented in the most contemporary expressive languages, with a significant share of abstraction and experimental procedures, in order to leave as favorable an impression as possible on a society whose artistic life at that time took place in an unfavorable socio-political context.

Artists participants in the exhibition: Borislav Aleksić, Biserka Baretić, Janez Bernik, Janez Boljka, Bogdan Borčić, Stojan Ćelić, Slavoljub Čvorović, Riko Debenjak, Nebojša Delja, Marijan Detoni, Juraj Dobrović, Živko Đak, Eugen Feller, Mladen Galić, Željko Hegedušić, Joža Horvat Jaki, Dževad Hozo, Božidar Jakac, Andrej Jemec, Boško Karanović, Albert Kinert, Stevan Knežević, Ljubomir Kokotović, Radovan Kragulj, Marko Krsmanović, Bogdan Kršić, Ante Kuduz, Vladimir Makuc, Adriana Maraž Bernik, France Mihelič, Branko Miljuš, Miodrag Nagorni, Virgilije Nevjestić, Milivoj Nikolajević, Ankica Oprešnik, Ordan Petlevski, Mihailo S. Petrov, Ivan Picelj, Marjan Pogačnik, Marij Pregelj, Zlatko Prica, Josip Restek, Miodrag Rogić, Mladen Srbinović, Aleksandar Srnec, Tinca Stegovec, Miroslav Šutej, Halil Tikveša, Zdravko Tišljar, Marjan Vojska, Lazar Vujaklija, Karel Zelenko.


               

Catalogue of the exhibition Yugoslavian Printmaking, National Gallery Prague, 1968
Janez Bernik, Letter II. 65, 1965.
Stojan Ćelić, August, 1967.


               

Riko Debenjak, Magical Dimensions XIII, 1968
Radovan Kragulj, Flower, 1966
Miodrag Nagorni, Shining Fossil, 1966


   

Ordan Petlevski, Plant - Fossil, 1964
Albert Kinert, Nameless Form, 1965


   

Marij Pregelj, Terra Rossa, 1965
Marjan Pogačnik, In the Wind,1967
Ivan Picelj, CM-30, 1967


   

Miroslav Šutej, Ultra AB,1967
Halil Tikveša, Summer II, 1968


Almost all those who in various roles – as artists, theorists and critics, and finally the wider cultural public – make an effort to follow the processes in the world of contemporary art in the first decades of the 21st century agree with the conclusion that they are extremely diverse, unlimited, precarious, that stylistic and media pluralism on a global scale and on certain local art scenes evidently exist. The general situation being as it is, printmaking in the classical understanding of this discipline is only one of the fields of contemporary art, the one that is distinctly less represented in comparison to other fields although it has more expansive options and technologies for artistic expression. However, regardless of the circumstances, printmaking is still a vital artistic discipline in continuous transformation of its own operational means and procedures. Apart from the classic notion of printmaking, there is all the more talk about contemporary print production as "printmaking in an expanded field", "ambient prints", prints of enlarged and unusual dimensions and formats, mixed printmaking techniques, computer prints, digital prints, that is, about everything that takes the discipline of printmaking beyond the predetermined and existing properties and positions it among other distinctly contemporary art mediums. Printmaking still exists and continues to be present, but despite the significant innovative results, its presence on the contemporary art scenes depends on the potential of diffusion as one of the disciplines of the art of reproduction. In the second half of the 20th century, printmaking went from a sophisticated "noble craft" using classical manual printmaking techniques to becoming one of the mass media branches based on the obligatory conditions of producing high-circulation "multi-originals". Thus, we can conclude that printmaking is rarely represented at large spectacular international art events (such as the Venice Biennale and the Kassel Documenta) or at the increasingly frequent authorial curatorial selections. Even specialist printmaking manifestations, such as the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts, internationally relevant during the existence of the Yugoslav cultural space, can no longer survive implementing the original model, but must undergo inevitable conceptual and organizational transformations. The high and lasting artistic achievements printmaking attained throughout the 20th century secured the significant prestige that it still has today. Precisely in order to respect these high domains, institutions dedicated to the collecting and historical-artistic study of the printmaking heritage need to be preserved and strengthened. The most convincing proof of that in our country was the recent exhibition and monograph Imprint of Time organized by the Graphic Collective Gallery, an institution dedicated to preserving the respectable past achievements in this discipline, an institution which should be given stable social support necessary for the survival and the future of printmaking.

Ješa Denegri

Translation from Serbian: Vanda Perović




Jerko Ješa Denegri (1936. Split) graduated and received a doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy (the Art History Department) in Belgrade. From 1965 to 1989 he worked at the Contemporary Art Museum in Belgrade. Since 1990 he has worked as a professor of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade (teaching Modern Art at the Art History Department). He worked at the editorial office of the Art, Architecture-Urbanism and Sport magazines, and as the editor-in-chief of the Moment magazine. He organized a number of exhibitions, was a commissary of the Yugoslav performance at the Youth Biennial in Paris and at the Venice Biennial. He has published a number of books on modern and contemporary art.

btomicka@eunet.rs



 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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