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The Permanent Display of the Works of Yugoslav Art from the Collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art
Author and curator: Dejan Sretenović
The permanent display of the works from the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art is changed every three to five years and is, as a rule, based on the author concepts of the reconstruction of historical periods, movements, tendencies, and individual phenomena in the Yugoslav art space. The last display comprised of 160 works of Yugoslav art originating from the 1900-1981 period, and wass structured as a make-up of a number of mini exhibitions, distributed in accord with the spatial units of the exhibition space.
The structuring of the display by means of autonomous exhibition units has been governed by a twofold reason: an exhibition is a place of the immediate communication between a work of art and an audience and a strategic model of the acquisition of knowledge about art. For that reason, every mini exhibition simultaneously functions as a text which configures and interprets certain chapters of the 20th century history of Yugoslav art, but also as a context for the comparative understanding of the intrinsinc meaning and historical position of every individual work of art. Besides, the reduced number of exhibits in every exhibition segment serves the purpose of emphasizing individual works of art which the history of art has, in general, already verified as anthology works of modern Yugoslav art. Thus conceptualized, the permanent display treats exhibited works as representative semantic and autochtonous esthetic objects, making it easy for the visitors to travel through the world of ideas, themes, and stylistic and linguistic orientation of the Yugoslav art space.
The basic segments of the display are arranged in the following manner: The Beginnings of Modern Painting (Symbolism, Impressionism, Realism), Cezannism and Postcubism, Expressionism (of color and shape), Intimism, The Pioneers of Abstract Painting, Historical Avant-Gardes (Constructivism, Surrealism), Socially Engaged Art, Expressive Figuration After 1945, Fantastic Art and “Dark Modernism”, Abstract Landscape, Informel, Neoconstructivism and Protominimalism, Late Modernist Sculpture, The Belgrade New Figuration, Conceptual Art, Video Performance, Foreign Graphic Art (Abstract Tendencies After 1945, Pop-Art).
The permanent display was situated on 2nd and 3rd level of the exhibition space, whereas the ground floor, 4th and 5th level were scheduled for current exhibitions. During the intervals between current exhibitions, 4th and 5th level were used for the representation of “modular”, predominantly thematic and monographic, exhibitions with the works from the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, which arise from the research work the curators perform within these collections. The body of works originating from 1980 onwards forms special modules, which could not become a part of the permanent display because of the exhibition space limitations. Modular exhibitions made the displays of the works from the collection more frequent, and were also scheduled for the display in provincial towns.