Vera Bozickovic Popovic

Postinformal landscape 

Landscape painting in Serbian 20th century art has agreat tradition and many adherents. We need only be reminded for a moment of Nadezda Petrovic, Petar Dobrovic, Jovan Bijelic or Sava Sumanovic, whose art presents the highest realm of this type of paintlng and anthological examples for our overall creativity. 

In such a tradition and among such extremely brilllant examples, the art work of Vera Bozickovic Popovic that has appeared in the past dozen years holds an exceptional place, and in terms of plastic language, artistic values and overall aesthetics, presents one more great episode in the above sequence. 

Vera Bozickovic Popovic’s earliest art teachers were Zora Petrovic and Jovan Bijelic, followed by Milo Milunovic and Ivan Tabakovic, and Marko Celebonovic who was her fomal teacher at the Academy of Arts, and then Ivo Gattin whose experience brought her to the informal; these comprise a framework that greatly enables an understanding of the different aesthetic contents in many of the phases of her painting. While still a student, with a group of like-minded painters in Zadar during several months in 1947, she announced the first public rebellion against dogmatic socialistic realism, which was deflance, spite, a measure of her temperament, and more of an ideological than an artistic ansiver to that hard aesthetics. And then, before her experience with the informal, in two cycles she actually continued this defiance of one other apologetic – socialist aestheticism. At the very end of the 1960s, Vera Bozickovic finally liberated herself from the principle of’ the aesthetics of opposition” and began her most brilliant painting episode – structural painting. 

A roughperiodization ofher creativity enables the establishment ofthreephases: the flrst, seeking formal-plastic strongholds in the past and against the leading truths/mistakes (ranging from insinuating realism, neocubism to Ijrical abstraction); the second, seeking formal-plastic strongholds in current creativity and to the beneflt ofthegreat international language ofart (structuralpainting, informal); and the third, the present painting of Vera Bozickovic Popovic. 

Informal paintings, at least for me, have always been reminiscent of micro-landscape painting for many reasons, such as: the presence of natural material in the painting, what the surface looks like (sand, tar, minerals, geological structures and other natural contents), even the titles that confirm such aplastic sight. The postinformal landscapes of Vera Bozickovic Popovic now irresistibly remind me of even smaller details ofher informal paintings. The repetitive, familiar appearance of paintings torn down the middle, which is one of the permanent dramaturgical components of the informal, in the current artistic phase of Vera Bozickovic Popovic is repeated in a new coloristic intensity and illuminated enchantment. The once-subdued coloring is intensive today, once, in her first encounter with the Mediterranean (Zadar, Rovinj), light was delicately present, today it prevails completely. The rest is practically the same. 

All of these landscapes, primarily from Rovinj, these olive groves, channels, canyons, rocks, shorelines, rockslides… can almost be viewed and interpreted in two contradictory ways: as structures, matter (artistic and natural), scenes of pure art, and as coloristic interpretations of familiar landscape motifs. Such an integration of completely different motifs and stimuli is the sign of masterly artistic poetics, standing now at the end of this century as a new paradigm for overall Serbian art just like her distant artistic predecessor Nadezda Petrovic who had a similar but much shorterpath. In her previous informal phase, the example of Vera Bozickovic Popovic reached the highest level of international artistic language, and if her painting at that time went the furthest in decomposing the picture, the current phase, owing to its manner of searching for final artistic points of departure, is naturally, painlessly, logically, developing and surmounting the former artistic drama to the advantage of reshaping scenes according to those same data from nature that are constant and final. This is just how it is within Serbian 20th century art, and the paintings of Vera Bozickovic Popovic. 

Jovan Despotovic

Gallery Zepter, Belgrade, 1994