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Exhibitions and Projects
19 June–7 September 2008

Montenegrin Contemporary Painting

from Figuration to Symbol

The Art Gallery in Cetinje (Umjetnička galerija) was founded in 1950. It was the first institution in Montenegro, dedicated to visual arts research in the former Yugoslav territories and, above all, in Montenegro. By collecting, keeping and exhibiting important works of art it has worked towards an overview of the Montenegrin artistic patrimony and creative achievement. Its intense growth through the 1970-ies transformed it into the Montenegro Museum of Art (Umjetnički muzej Crne Gore) that keeps over three thousand works of art arranged into ten collections. Its most important part is the collection of contemporary Montenegrin art. The exhibition at the National Gallery of Slovenia contains thirty select paintings from the museum's holdings. The selection covers several generations, emphasizing the individual creativity of each painter with clear stylistic and formal origins that have crystallized in their personal vocabularies and modern sensibility.

The exhibition begins with the most representative works by the pioneers of the Montenegrin impressionist sense of modernity Pero Poček and Đoka Popović, and the expressionist-mental imaging of Mihajlo Vukotić. These artists started the dominant trajectory in the development of Montenegrin contemporary painting that was rooted in the idea of the genius loci.

The selection enhances its continuity in the second half of the twentieth century presenting Montenegrin modern painting, stimulated by the Antean power of Petar Lubarda's Montenegrin landscapes. An anthological exhibition of his paintings in 1951 was the breaking point in the development of art in the former Yugoslav territories from which the course maintained its impetus through the recent manifestations of intellectually-introverted signification, symbolism and iconicity of pop culture. The artists of this lineage form their creativity on the visual and aesthetic references from classical modernism, expressionism, romantic and oneiric surrealism, abstraction, pseudo-minimalism etc. These paintings are among the most outstanding works of art within contemporary painting in Montenegro, "the country of painters".

The exhibition is mediated by the National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje

Author of the exhibition
Ljiljana Zeković, National Museum of Montenegro

Exhibition curator
Ferdinand Šerbelj, National Gallery of Slovenia

Project was made possible by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Media of the Republic of Montenegro

19 June–7 September 2008
Narodni dom Gallery
Cankarjeva 20
1000 Ljubljana