Belgrade’s Trajkovic Collection returns for Part III of it’s exploration “Phenomena, Formations And Ideologies Of Serbian Art In The Second Half Of The 20th Century”. Part III is titled “Change of Epochal Cultural and Artistic Paradigm: Postmodernism – Art Of the Eighties in Serbia”, following is the accompanying text, written by Ješa Denegri:
At the end of the 1970s came another major change of epochal civilisation and cultural paradigm: shortly after literature and architecture, the world of contemporary visual arts also faced a true spate of using the term ‘postmodernism’. Its general definition implied the phenomena that emerged in the processes of crisis and final ending of the previous paradigm of late modernism. According to Tomaz Brejc “the seventies were not just another decade of the 20th century, but a crucial period when there was the last twitch of genuine modernism”.
Modernism eventually surrendered in the mid-seventies, and various forms of postmodernism prevailed. It was not only change in the media and language, recognisable by trends of the transavant-garde, anachronism and neo-expressionism, but a much deeper, essential, and ultimately, psychological and ideological change. As Brejc put it: “It resulted from the basic premise of postmodernism that 1968 was a failure, that the illusions and utopias are over and done with, that art can be preserved only in separate, but ecstatic and totally uncensored expressive forms. Postmodernism proves that utopist predictions of interlinking artistic and other social practices failed and art deliberately returned back to the framework intended for it.”
Strongly supported by the revival of the artistic market, exhibitions and collectorship of a network of galleries and museums by critics and curators openly favouring it, postmodernism with all its versions and variants, started from the beginning of eighties and further on. Indeed, local protagonists of eighties art were formed, debuted and were affirmed as beginners in a very stimulating, spiritual and artistic climate. This was within the broad language and media pluralism which was in true accordance with the very nature of art of this decade, second in a row of two rich and turbulent decades, full of action and production. Leaders of the complex and heterogeneous early eighties art production of the Serbian art scene, mostly concentrated in Belgrade, were members of the ‘new wave’ generation. They were the representatives of ‘new image’ painting, and also still very active actors of the new art of the seventies who adjusted to the changed circumstances. There were also numerous artists from various generations who absolutely could not be grouped nor gathered under the same terminological qualification, but who were all equally prone and inclined to accepting the principle of language pluralism as the crucial characteristic of postmodern art. However, the mid-eighties cooled down the high voltage expressive energy of the early eighties, and critics of that time explained it as a shift from neo-expressionism of the first half of the eighties to non-expressionism of the second half. And this term implied the phenomena of new geometry, new informal and was the first herald of the new Belgrade and Vojvodina sculpture – the phenomenon that would fully blossom at the beginning of the nineties.
Local eighties art has been analysed in several books and numerous articles and exhibitions’ catalogues. It represents an exciting chapter of Serbia’s recent art history, leant onto a continuation of aspirations toward integration with Europe of previous generations of Serbian artists, from artists of historical modernism to artists of post-historical postmodernism. However, it also seems that somewhere behind all these visible and fruitful art events in the spiritual psychosis of epochal “fragile thought” lied scarce hints and pale presages of the dramatic social and political turbulences that broke out in a catastrophic full blast during the last decade of the 20th century.
/Trajkovic Collection: The Personal Escort, Beograd, 2012; Publisher: FoundationTrajkovic Collection/