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Đorđe Andrejević Kun - ¡No pasarán!, Gallery-legacy ČolakovićProgramme | 04.11.2016
Đorđe Andrejević Kun - ¡No pasarán!
The Gallery-Legacy of Milica Zorić & Rodoljub Čolaković (2 Rodoljuba Čolakovića St.)
November 4—December 19, 2016 (opening will take place Friday, November 4, at 7 p.m.)
The author of the exhibition: Mišela Blanuša (MA)
The exhibition “Đorđe Andrejević Kun ¡No pasarán!” offers a panorama of the socially engaged period of production in the work of this artist, whose name is a synonym for the Left-oriented art with social tendencies in Serbia and Yugoslavia.
The presented works belong to social, combative and socialist realism in terms of their style, subject and ideological stand: paintings, graphic works and drawings, made during the second phase of Kun’s production, which began in the middle of the 1930s and ran until the 1950s. These works reveal the extent to which the artist freed his expression of the knowledge and experience formerly acquired in art school, searching for a new form that would carry in the most adequate way possible the social message and eliminate artistic and individualistic contents typical for middle class painting from the first phase of his work. As a socially engaged artist, he presented a clear-cut view that art has to be a reflection of reality and real life, no long serving the hedonistic purposes of the middle class, and instead contributes to the struggle of the progressive Left-oriented forces. The art of social and combative, and later also socialist realism, does not entertain a passive relationship towards life but rather favours taking an active stand influencing and reshaping it. Artistic practice had to be focused on social function and subjects in such a way that the revolutionary agenda and political ideas of leftist tendencies could be the most effectively expressed.
His socio-artistic activism begun via his participation in the group “Život” (Life) (1934-1940), setting up his path as an artist to whom art and revolutionary struggle held equal importance. He created first significant works based on socially engaged conception in the medium of graphics, understanding it as a powerful vehicle of expression for the art with social tendencies, given the low cost of its production, the possibilities of multiplication, and therefore also the easiness of dissemination of leftist ideas and awareness-raising in the struggle for human rights and freedoms within broad population. In this vein, he made four maps of graphics—Krvavo zlato (Blood-soaked gold) (1936/37), Za slobodu (For freedom) (1938/39), 20 crteža (20 drawings) (1940) and Partizani (Partisans) (1946), as well a lesser quantity of paintings from the interwar era: Kujina br 4. (The Kitchen no. 4) (1936), Majka (Mother) (1937), U ćeliji (In the cell) (1939/40), U zatvoru (In the prison) (1940).
During the National Liberation War and in the aftermath of the WWII, the communist party set before the artists new tasks demanding of them to put their art in the service of general social goals in the critical moments of history: the armed struggle first, and then in the course of the reconstruction and building of a new socialist state. For Đorđe Andrejević Kun, this task was only a confirmation to convictions wholeheartedly accepted already in the interwar period, and a further incentive to continue down his path in keeping with the adopted tenets of a new social order. These ideas will be brought to blossom to the fullest in the major works from the post-war period: Mrtva priroda sa mašinkom (Still life with a machine gun) (1945), Kolona (Column) (1946), No Passaran (1948), Streljanje (Summary execution) (cca. 1948), Za mir, hleb i slobodu—14. decembar (For peace, bread and freedom—December 14) (1950), Izgradnja (Reconstruction) (1951).
Đorđe Andrejević Kun was the most consistent champion of socially engaged art in Serbia and Yugoslavia, and he used this genre as an outlet for realistic conveyance, in the form of immediate narration, of an ample artistic documentation of human rights struggle and the revolutionary events that marked the age he lived in.
This exhibition will bring forth the works from the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of the History of Yugoslavia, Administration for Joint Services of the Republic Bodies—Palace of Serbia, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Serbia.
The Museum of Contemporary Art wishes to thank the editorial board of the school programme of Radio-Television Serbia for generous loan of archival material.