Artists from the Balkans

8 Dec 2016 — 22 Jan 2017 at Gallery 106 in London, United Kingdom

Zolt Kovac, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Gallery 106
Zolt Kovac, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Gallery 106
9 JAN 2017

This exceptional exhibition is a collaboration between Contemporary Balkan Art (CoBA) and Gallery 106. This joint exhibition will introduce the very best contemporary artists to London, who already have well-established reputations within their countries of origin and internationally.

The participating artists have impressive records of accomplishment of exhibiting in groups and solo shows. Many of them have also received prestigious awards. This group of artists share a distinctive way of depicting contemporary society, from the world they live in.

The aim of the exhibition is to introduce and reveal the vision of the participating artists to a worldwide audience through presenting 27 works of art. The show includes art made by using different techniques and media, such as oil and acrylic on canvas, pencil and charcoal on paper, silkscreen and oil on aluminium.

The artist’s influences tend to arise from modern media examining such elements as cartoons, photography and pop videos, falling loosely but not exclusively, into the genera of pop art.

Žolt Kovač (b.1975) is based in Belgrade, Serbia. He received undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. He has exhibited his work in more than twenty solo shows and numerous group exhibitions, in Serbia and internationally (including in Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Greece). Žolt is the co-founder and editor of the influential online arts magazine Supervizuelna which provides critical analysis of some of the dominant issues of contemporary art). He also plays bass guitar in the alternative rock band Jarboli.

A dilemma is created within Žolt’s examines our all-consuming ‘rush’ towards criteria that are being degraded within society; the idea of why we started this rush has disappeared and is no longer challenged, critically. Why are we chasing it? Is it money, fame, happiness or fulfilment of newly created needs? Wants that we can no longer remember when or how they sprang into being, within us. Conversely, time can pass quickly, but there is always the impression it is vanishing and more often, we are trying to overcome it through, manic activities. Žolt’s sparse images are reminiscent of both Patrick Caufield and Roy Lichtenstein.

Iva Kuzmanović (b.1984) is a Serbian artist, educated at the Department of Painting within the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. Her artwork has regularly been exhibited in the Balkans as well as in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland. As a curator and founding member of the U10 Art Space, Iva has produced numerous art shows and projects.

In her work, Iva uses a wide variety of imagery such, which includes frames from pop music videos and the music itself. The imagery is used to create memento mori motifs in a contemporary interpretation of the vanitas, still life tradition. In this show we have a painting that mimics the image created by a person walking through a wall.

Petar Mirković (b.1978) comes from Novi Sad, where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts. Petar has been artist-in-residence at several institutions, including the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, Kiev and the Art Phalanx, Vienna. Petar’s solo shows have included the Cité international des Arts, Paris (2004), Remont Gallery, Belgrade (2010) and Lukas Feichtner Gallery Vienna (2013). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including The Palais de Tokyo Hype Gallery Paris, (2004), Röda Sten, Gothenburg (2006), Zerynthia Rome (2007), Saatchi & Saatchi, London (2007), Tom Christoffersen Gallery Copenhagen (2008), Kunstlerhaus, Vienna. (2014) and has taken part in many international arts fairs.

Playing with shadows, reflections, textures, and glare of street lamps and car headlights, Mirković creates a kind of exciting urban mythology. His works are extremely attractive and leave a strong impression on the observer. Although his drawings are in charcoal on paper, they give the impression of being black-and-white photographs. Peter's works could be categorized under hyperrealism, but the author says he never gave priority to this effect.

Roman Djuranović (b.1969) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje, Montenegro. He has had major solo exhibitions in Canada, Turkey, Germany and most recently at the Tagliatelle Gallery in New York. Additionally he has participated in numerous group shows and has received various prestigious awards such as for Best Young Artist and an Annual Award for Drawing.

Roman uses figurative archetypes to explore social convention and identity, in a world that he perceives as being dominated by a fashion conscious media. Roman sees his work as a part of the Pop Art tradition and as such draws his influences from design, comics, and film. His work is infused with his own cultural experiences that produce his individual and poignant symbolism. His work in this show will consist of monochromatic pencil drawing of stylised human contemporary figures.

Nemanja Golijanin (b.1983) comes from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the Department of Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade. Nemanja received a prestigious scholarship for his achievements in figurative drawing from the Faculty of Fine Arts. This award provided him with an opportunity to be an artist-in-residence at the International School of Fine Arts in Monte Castello di Vibio, Italy.

Nemanja is influenced by the humour of the art of cartoons; the titles appear to serve the purpose of captions in order to give the viewer an insight into his world. He is using this medium in order to take a rye but harsh look at contemporary society. Works such as “Honey you are so Late” is pleasing lighthearted image but it is also possible for the viewer to connect with the anxiety contained within this piece. The numerous alarm clocks in the work make the viewer wonder who is late and why are they late? - Judith Walker

Tadija Janičić (b.1980) is originally from Nikšić, Montenegro but he is currently based in Novi Sad, Serbia. He has an undergraduate degree from the Department of Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Novi Sad and then went on to do a postgraduate degree at the Academy of Arts, also in Novi Sad. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in Hungary, Japan, Montenegro and Serbia. Additionally he has regularly participated in group exhibitions includingÖstersund kunstvideofestival, Sweden, (2004), Lukas Feichtner Gallery, Vienna, Austria (2010), the Erarta Museum in Sankt Petersburg, Russia, (2012), the Gallery le Club des Arts at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France(2013) and the Nest Gallery in Geneva (Switzerland, 2015).

Irony, grotesque and paradox are Tadija’s favourite means of expression; however, he does not intend to use them in order to convey any message of morality or mockery. His attitude towards the world can be interpreted as voyeuristic, whereby what is seen is always a reflection of the viewers own intellectual, emotional, philosophical views, dilemmas and notions. The people who act in Tadija’s paintings are not social subjects, but objects who often take passive acceptance as their sole form of social participation and existence.

  • Nebojša Milenković