Zoran Vukovic / drawings

At the beginning of the introductory article for the first one-man exhibition of Zoran Vuković, opened at this very gallery thirteen years ago, Danilo Kiš concisely depicted the plastic destination which will remain the landmark of this author till today: »If we were able to reconstruct a work of art, to return it to its very beginning, to zero, to larva, to idea, we could, it seems to me, fully approach it, feel it, not to say understand it, through its recreation (this time in the sphere of mind)«. And indeed, the essence of Zoran Vuković’s artistic opus is in recreation of his work, which has long fermented from the rich analytical and meditative concentration on the substance he sees before him while working, only to be transposed by the magic of painting (drawing) into the plastic entity of the world of authentic picturai presentations.

When he appeared with his first paintings and drawings (which he as media does not stricaly set apart, painting and drawing in a way practically equating one with another), at the beginning of seventies, Zoran Vuković concentrated on ambivalence, or more precisely, on internal conflict in the pictural layer, since this work originated from two different areas. Owing to his artistic education, his works are based on rational understanding of the plasticity problems studied organization of external visual incentives and their transformation into pure painting. In Vuković’s artistic experience this principle was from the beginning disturbet by violent internal »rebellion« originating from the difference in temperament — from more independent, imaginative aiid sensual perception of reality and both visible and hidden relationships ruling it. Further developing his artistic practice, the author displayed ever growing sensuality trait, which finally became dominant in th works we have here today.

The cycle of drawings in Indian ink and pencil made by Zoran Vuković in these last few years and making the subject of the present exhibition, has, conitionally speaking, an eroticized content enabling the author to express his own creative poetics. Nescency, natural and artificial, is the node of this poetical world, reason of each being and of new relationships established among things and creatures. Zoran Vuković is always concentrating upon these, often concealed relationships, which he identified and earlier symbolically represented by snail-shells and organic litter found on the sea-shore after the tide; today, he uses more sophisticated techniques, after some painters he admires (Van Gogh, for example). Identification of one’s own work with one’s ideals is not an infrequent need of an artist, but in case of Zoran Vuković it originates from a completely different experience, or to be more precise, from an aspiration to explain the real reasons of such markedly individualistic creative convictions, first to himself, and then also to the inquisitive observers. In modern painting, and in drawing discipline specifically, examples of such earnest and passionate questioning of the essence and destiny of art in totally different individual author’s experiences are extremely rare.

Jovan Despotović

Gallery of Kolarac National University, Belgrade, 1987