BOGOMIL ELEGIES BY MIROSLAV DJORDJEVIC

In ourrent committed painting the tendency of the authons to detenmiine in a highly conscieotious and explicit way the authentioity of therir own roles within a seguence of wide new-wave happenings is most stressed at the present stylistic moment. The first half of the eighties is, therefore, marked by the appearanee of many interesting young artists who, even when they cooperate within a unique plastic whole, endeavoor to indicate and form, occasiionally, extermely individualistic pictural statements.

Miroslav Djordjević, whose series of paintings called “Bogomil elegies” we now see for the first time, is one of those authors who rarely uses the opportunity of one-man show. Togehter with some positive consequences of such an attitude there is also a risk of the inability to follow his work in continuo. However, on group exhibitions, Djordjević has always suggested in his pictures a thought of interesting factual developments which besides their own different expressions possess a common creative intention.

Djordjević entered the artistic scene with the pictures meant to provide an answer to the challenges of the conceptual art of the previous decade… The artistic practice which aimed at dematerialization of the object — transmission of the artistic expression from objective to ideal, from factual to contemplative — had as the consequence that the work of those authors eager to cling to the medium was moved towards the borderline contents of fine arts. Insisting on the primarity of the means used and the analytic process of painting were the hallmarks of such work. Miroslav Djordjević found himself on the same line, aware of the initial point as well as of the consequences of concentual art. At one moment, this author had indeed surpassed the miraculous border of the material when he chose, shortly, the art of perfor-mance and the textual form of hif work. In fact, the need to give fois ideas a material form has never left him. That is how the first series of his “Palimpsests” was made and where his present interests are founded.

In “Palimpsests”, as the name shows, Djordjević focused his attention on those aspects in the process of the art history which arise at certain periods and act as a moving force; the force that tincites the artists, grouped around new programmes of defining new contest in art, to add their own significance to the passeist concepts. Djordjević made this process evident when alongside with his black paintings he painted fragments of some very famous specimens from history of art (Greek vases, frescoes from the Middle Ages) leaving a very reduced trace of his own present-day existence by a move, a wide stroke of colour. In that very personalized way, the author came close to painting with the object rin its base supplemented to a large extent with the symbols of another kind.

In the most recent paintings, made during the last two years, Miroslav Djordjević continues his research this time with more definite intentions and clearly defined aims. Un’imposing expressionism of “Bogomil elegies” not only distinguishes his painting but moves the current story about the “memory” of the past transposed into the air of this age more towards the conceptual in painting. These works go in line with the discussions about the place of the new painting in relation to the new artistic practice and the origins of recent art as the phenomenon of the latest spiritual state. Djordjević finds an unusual answer. For him the value of present-day paintings is obviously founded on a refined artistic idea, the one which can explain itself with minimal means (hence, a clean canvas without a frame, raw black paint, ascetic iconography) and be revitalized by a new insight into the themes which are a bit traditional, even classical but still remain a fruitful source and a moving force. The singularity of this theme indicates it. Universal message of these (Bogomilj writings both in literary and plastic sense is to be decoded. Djordjević hints the difficulty and the essential justification for such reading by means of special experience caused by these paintings, by a general atmosphere lasting and the impression of the immemorial which in this age is recognized according to the identity of meaning. When the call of some “past” artistic work of the author is recognized in these pictures, it becomes clear that another meaningful entity has been captured. The question is not only that of reminiscing historical artistic truths but also of evoking one’s own creative experience in new conditions of reading and understanding. Figurative painting, after all the structures of the iconic ascetism of Byzantium, has suffered hard times in these parts eversince. The search for concepts yof every art in new ages and in the preseint one was undertaken acoordiiing to free mimetic notions, free to Siuch exterrt that they go far away from heir oniginal content whein orga-nized under the circumstances of their natural, cultural and artistic milieu. For Miroslav Djordjević the phe-nomenon of the abstract in art is not yet sufficiently developed form of visual thinking. These paintings of his — pseudoabstract and certainly non-figurative, form the basis of the non-material, that is to say, con-templative and non-iconic. Hence, one of the possible answers to the question of how one can experience these paintings as autochthonous is that they are in agreement with the spiritual coordinates which reach into the distant past. 

Jovan Despotovic 

Gallery of Youth Center, Belgrade, 1986