Three Yugoslav women sculptors

Darija Kačić, Duba Sambolec, Aneta Svetieva

Within the present transformation of contemporary Yugoslav art, particularly intensive during the eighties, the role of sculptur is prominent. This above all indicates the artist’s intention to effect by their art the space, his direct work environment, the artificial characteristics of artefacts that attempt to define this particular object of art as material and physical fact (in this respect modern painting has acquired that third dimension which is not specific to it as a medium). This tendency has destructed the very idea of placing sculpture in space, because the work of sculpture today acquires more and more the characteristic the work of sculpture today acquires more the characteristics of an installation (therefore they change their character according to the environment in which they are set) and it is the ambience of the environment and sculpture that has replaced former traits of sculptural language.

In recent Vugoslav sculpture the domination of women sculptors who belong to the young, or rather the youngest generations is an important factor. This phenomenon is not rooted so much in raised consciousness of belonging to one gender, which is the general tendency on a broader civilisational and cultural plan, but generally speaking, greater adaptability of today’s sculpture to the essence of plastic transformation in this moment: all three women sculptors representing Yugoslav art at this exhibition—Aneta Svetieva, Duba Sambolec and Darija Kačić have built their own authenticity, corresponding abova all to their refined sense of form, one could say, for ’mannual work’ which is traditionally a ’female’ field of expression.

Aneta Svetieva belongs to those Yugoslav artists who recently attract a keener attention of professional critics, although they have already worked and exhibited beforehand. The reason for this is the extraordinary sensibility of this artist that has sprung from a marked feeling for the material with which she wrorks (terracotta), for a completely “new type of manual work” in sculpture which seems to have been lost, in an epoch of the significant penetration of modern technology into artistic production, and which has been immediately perceived as a clear sculptural answer to the challenges of form-making in the eighties. The group The Lady Bather took two years to be completed and it represents an ambient that provokes a series of diversely oriented reminiscences: from archaic plastics to authentic folkore art by anonymous artists form the Mediterranean are.

Although she has already been through a complete creative phase, Duba Sambolec is a disctinct representative of  ’New imagery’ sculpture which is definitely the most characteristic type of sculpture in the Yugoslav art of the eighties. While somewhat earlier she worked on defining relations between ‘soft’ (wax) and ‘hard’ (metal) materials, which was a form of addressing problems of her intimate poetic and imaginary worlds metaphorically, today she prefers to work with metal (bronze) upholding her previous determinations of form. The Triptych Memory of Time is an especially characteristic example of her  understanding of sculpture as something that is only determined by a completely liberated lyric-plastic imagination, with the creator’s personal associations concerning his understanding of the place and role of contemporary sculpture.

Among the youngest Yugoslav artist Darija Kačić belongs to those who have experimented with the use of various procedures and materials during their creative activity. This artist finished this “preparatory” phase rapidly and started making a series of wall and spacial installations in various materials (plaster, skin, synthetic fibres, etc.). Today she expresses herself mainly through terracotta, sometimes colored, which brings out, by texture, form and minimal representation of the object, a sort of perceptive indecisiveness into which the observer stumbles when he finds himself confronted with the deciphering of that what is real and that what is imaginative. But at the same time, in a special and immediate way these works are the continuation of the best sculpture of traditional orientations and schools, which is best seen in her purely fine art qualities.

The examination of small sculpture as an autonomous discipline of art, with all its particularities regarding different or related forms of expession is going through a more and more substantial move away from “large” sculpture. The reasons for this lie in the need of the contemporary artists to transpose his or her artistic personality into intimate, very private dimensions of a work that can be seen at a glance and on which the attention focuses directly. Small sculpture is considered today as an area which is convenient for projecting the deep layers of artistic consciousness, those views about the world that in the bright moments of quick perception, high concentration and durable contemplative effects, defined the world as a sum of extremely individualized spritual phenomena and related physical results. 

Jovan Despotovic 

7th International small Sculpture Exhibition of Budapest, Palace of Exhibitions, Budapest, 1987