Between ourselves: Connecting collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Subotica

September 05, 2018 | Ana Simona

The exhibition “Between ourselves–Connecting collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art (1) and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Subotica”(2) opened on the 31st of August in the exhibiting place called Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art. This exhibition is a result of the collaboration of these two art institutions and serves as an example of good curatorial practice since it is creating a meaningful connection between two art collections. The curators of this exhibitions are Una Popović from Museum of Contemporary art and Nela Tonković from Contemporary Art Gallery and exhibited artist are Saša Tkačenko, Miloš Tomić, Mladen Bizumić, Nikola Savić, Žolt Kovač, Marta Jovanović, Maja Rakočević Cvijanov, Vesna Pavlović, and Ivan Grubanov. The purpose of this collaboration is to encourage networking of institutions, future curatorial projects and question valorization of art that is already part of collections, as well as contemporary art at the current art market. 

These two institutions were founded almost at the same time during the 1960s when the network of art and cultural institutions that collect and exhibit contemporary art was being established all over Yugoslavia. The Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 1965 with the ambition to research and collect contemporary art. The Contemporary Art Gallery in Subotica was established in 1962, also with the aim of creating a collection. Collections of both of these art institutions illustrate how cultural policy of Yugoslavian institutions could and did recognize values of contemporary art quite on time. The Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art (situated right next to Academy of Fine Arts, in the very center of the Belgrade) from its beginnings shows the latest production and actively participates in creating and recognizing the value of contemporary art. 

The exhibition “Between ourselves”is actually a call of the Salon of MSUB to the Contemporary Art Gallery in Subotica to exhibit together certain acquisitions and gifts of artists that had already participated in either solo or group exhibitions organized by both of these institutions separately. The exhibition is thus an attempt to think about what do these two collections have in common. 

The Salon of MSUB exhibits: 
“Musical Diary #1” (2012, video) Miloš Tomić 
“Searching for pictures” (photo installation in the lightbox, 2011) Vesna Pavlović 
“This is my body” (sculpture, 2012) Marta Jovanović 
“Lunch” (oil on aluminum, 2007) and “Coffee in bed” (oil in aluminum, 2008) Žolt Kovač 
“First Epistle to the Corinthians by St Paul” (13:4, acryl on canvas, 2008) Nikola Savić 
“Memorial Bush” (oil on canvas, 2007) Ivan Grubanov

The Gallery in Suboticapresents: 
“Here and Now (Subotica)” (Fuji photo paper, 2013) Mladen Bizumić 
“Sugarloaf” (object, 2004) Maja Rakočević Cvijanov 
“Good people – Hard times – Bad habits” (installation in space, 2013/2018) Saša Tkačenko

Since all the exhibited art was made during the last decade or two, these exhibitions show what has been recognized and institutionalized as important contemporary art, and what tendencies exist in the art world lately. On one hand it shows intimate world of artist is being more and more present in their artworks, in a form of visual or another type of diaries (like artworks of Miloš Tomić or Žolt Kovač), or by dealing with personal issues like body image, identities, and status (like in sculpture of Marta Jovanovic). On the other hand, there is a strong tendency to be politically aware and engaged (like the art of Ivan Grubanov), which is not necessarily unrelated to personal issues or histories. By telling a story about themselves or their problems, the artist is pointing at various social phenomena often by making their art ironical and provocative (Saša Tkačenko). 

Artists work in all different artistic media, from painting to video art, objects, installations, and conceptual art, which shows that even inspire the old-fashioned program of education which Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade provide, artists are still finding their own ways of expressing creativity beyond these limits. Careers of named artists are developing not only in Serbia but also abroad, in Europe, USA, Australia, where they actively take part in various art shows(including Venice Biennale)or artistic residences all over the world from New York to Beirut. 

Websites of artists: 
  • Marta Jovanović - 
  • Maja Rakočević Cvijanov - 
  • Ivan Grubanov - 
  • Miloš Tomić - 
  • Žolt Kovač - 
  • Saša Tkačenko - 
  • Vesna Pavlović - 

Footnote :
(1) MSUB -
(2) SGUS -

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