252 године уметности

252 Years of Arts / Memory Strategies

From the history of the arts associations of Vojvodina
April 8, 2022 – May 8, 2022 

In the year when Novi Sad is one of the European Capitals of Culture, MSUV decided for the first time in our country to organize a chamber exhibition with the accompanying events dedicated to the decades-long activities of Novi Sad and Vojvodinian arts associations -- The Union of Associations of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV), The Association of Novi Sad Architects (DaNS), and The Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Vojvodina (UPIDIV) in order to commemorate the 252nd anniversary of our collaboration.


The 252 Years of Arts / Memory Strategies exhibition, including the accompanying materials, aims to offer in optimal gallery conditions at the central museum of contemporary arts in the AP Vojvodina a unified glance at rich, decades-long activities of the three representative fine artists associations that have been continually operating for over a half of a century – The Union of Associations of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV, 1946), The Association of Novi Sad Architects (DaNS, 1960), The Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Vojvodina (UPIDIV, 1964), as well as The Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina (MSUV, 1966). The materials to be displayed at this collaborative, tripartitely conceptualized exhibition include curated documents of the associations; parts of the exhibitions of their respective histories; publications such as books, catalogs, posters, etc.; specially designed and printed materials with legends in Serbian and English; documentaries to be shown on wall displays; and the selected works of the associations’ members from the MSUV collection – paintings, sculptures, ceramic, ceramoplastic, drawings, posters. All the materials on the website are available in both languages, which will ensure general access to the crucial information about the origins and copious activities of the associations. The manner, type, and format of the presentation of the content of the exhibition will be new media and social media friendly. In addition to the exhibition and media presentation of the general visual materials, there will be multiple curators’ and the curator team’s guided tours; public presentations of the work and recent publications of the associations and MSUV; conversations with artists; workshops for children and youth of different age facilitated by artists and architects. The exhibition and the electronic presentation will be accompanied by the corresponding music of Vojvodinian composers originating from the latter half of the twentieth century curated by the composer Aleksandra Vrebalov. All the events related to the preparation of the exhibition and the exhibition itself while it is on will be recorded. Also, short documentaries will be made about the history of the associations and MSUV as the hub Provincial museum that incorporates research, study, presentation, and collecting contemporary art in Vojvodina and the region. 


In the year when Novi Sad is one of the European Capitals of Culture, for the first time in our country, MSUV decided to organize a chamber exhibition with the accompanying events dedicated to the decades-long activities of Novi Sad and Vojvodinian arts associations -- The Union of Associations of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV), The Association of Novi Sad Architects (DaNS), and The Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Vojvodina (UPIDIV) in order to commemorate the 252nd anniversary of our collaboration. The years during which the Museum has been working were added to the sum of the years of the activities of the associations, which resulted in the number indicating over a quarter of a century long collaborative, simultaneous work in the field of artistic creation, as well as a fifty year continuity of monitoring the current architecture and fine arts scenes through museums and galleries. The curator team was confronted with a challenging task. They needed to present a brief, succinct, spatially limited, and symbolic account of the decades-long work of arts associations. Despite numberless limitations, which did not discourage us, we tried to present our vision of the history of the associations, whilst amply deploying written sources; monographs; salon, solo and group shows catalogs; posters; press clippings; video and audio recordings. In order to present the works of the associations through the works of their members available at MSUV, we have opted for several, most prominent Vojvodinian artists from the second half of the twentieth century. Special attention was paid to the electronic presentations at the exhibitions. While curating numerous events, exhibitions, and manifestations, we also aspired to visually enrich the exhibition by providing a selection of art pieces and posters. Being aware of the impossibility to provide a comprehensive account of the history of the associations, we targeted the instances that from a contemporary point of view can symbolize them. In our opinion, a contemporary viewer and reader is the one who has gotten to know their past and who, accordingly, is capable of independently making choices in the spirit of the world in which one lives.


It is very difficult — verging on the impossible – to provide a focused, yet comprehensive account of the decades-long work and activities of the associations. The 1960s and 1970s were particularly fruitful. That was the time when the associations started hosting exhibitions in their (new) galleries which shortly acquired the status of the key spots on the city’s fine arts scene. At the same time, the tradition of annual and biennial exhibitions, including the fall and spring salons, was initiated. At the time not very supportive of publishing books and catalogs, the associations managed to publish many monographs and a series of catalogs accompanying solo shows. With its numerous activities that focused on tracking and promoting the works of the members of the associations, the Museum of Contemporary Art was soon to become an active player on the Provincial cultural scene. Two generations of curators had already been following the work of the artists and contributing to the organization of solo and group shows accompanied by quality catalogs. The Museum has been the depository of documentation about the practices of each association. Over years, its diverse collections have included original artistic pieces of the members of the associations. SULUV has long-established programs and activities such as the Member Exhibition Program, the Collaboration and Partner Realization Program, the Review Program, the Education and Research Program, the Exchange Program, the Publishing Program, and the New Art Practice Program. Through its numerous arts sections, UPIDIV has been nourishing exhibition and publishing practices, as well as the biennial event FORMA (1965). In addition to the publication of the DaNS magazine (1982) and awarding the Architecture Prize Đorđe Tabaković (1995), DaNS has been organizing the now regional events Salon of Architecture and Days of Architecture (1993). In addition, it has been participating in the preparations of various architecture and urban planning grant competitions, and also providing insights into the current urban planning practices.


The associations were state subsidized and integral to the cultural politics of the State, Province, and City, which funded their work and all their projects. Also, the associations were simultaneously fighting for the improved status of its members and for the generation of the fine arts scene through the exhibitions and salons, publishing, encounters with artists, etc. After the collapse of the socialist regime and the subsequent installment of the transitional capitalist system, as well as the increasing tendencies of the ruling elites to rid themselves of the (financial, funding related) burden, the scene became overshadowed by a dark omen…Only recently has that shadow started to recede and weaken. Yet, the associations are still striving to improve the social status of artists and the artistic community by large. Those prestigious organizations have been selecting their members from the very beginning. Hence, SULUV nowadays has 563, UPIDIV 434, and DaNS 613 members.


The collaboration of artists’ associations started in the early 1960s. The 1970s marked the period of very intense collaborative practices and projects of the so-called synthesis, which enabled solving the problems of decoration and artistic ornamentation of new public urban objects. Likewise, members of each association actively participated in managing urban planning problematic, especially the instances of the so-called small-scale urban design (urban design of smaller urban areas). They were also committee members selecting the winners of grant competitions concerning the best architecture and urban planning solutions regarding particular locations and objects. The organization of Novi Sad Fine Arts Salon (1971) was another collaborative project. The hub institution unifying these associations is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina (then The Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts), aiming to monitor, promote, and historicize the activities of the three associations, and succeeding in sustaining these activities for over a half of a century.


One should by no means forget stable, friendly, and professional relationships amongst all the members of the associations. In the past twenty years, the previously established cooperation was somewhat stymied, even discontinued. The reason is that the associations themselves, as well as the majority of their members, have been struggling to sustain the continuity of their presence on the brink of extinction. Yet, in addition to managing the professional status of their members, the associations have recently initiated actions concerning general social issues regarding urban planning and design. Hence, this very project initiated by MSUV is among the activities seeking to establish a reinforced and improved collaboration on finding new collaborative practices. In the past years, the associations themselves have developed a form of a new sensibility and expressed an increased interest in various types of historicizing their own work, as evidenced in many texts, exhibitions, projects, books, catalogs, and magazines. Finally, recent practices of the associations related to research, studying, and presenting the works of their members are worth noting and greatly admired: The SULUV Archives: Seven Decades of Continuity (1946‒2021); a two-volume monograph entitled UPIDIV: 50 Years of Applied Arts in Vojvodina; the DaNS publication Twenty Five Years of The Architecture Prize Đorđe Tabaković and 88 issues of DaNS magazine for architecture and urban planning, one of the longest-lasting magazines for architecture in the country. All the previously mentioned, alongside the rich research production, indicates a high-quality artistic offer in this area, which has been aptly tracked and recorded for the generations to come. One of the main goals of this exhibition, the accompanying catalog, and the website is a collegial museological contribution to the historicization of the activities of the fine artists’ and architects’ associations of Vojvodina and Novi Sad, as well as increasing their visibility in the cultural and artistic spheres of the life of the city.


The choice of musical works spans from 1956 to 1998, paralleling the years of creation of artworks from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina‘s collection selected for this exhibition. Eleven musical samples represent three generations of composers active in Vojvodina in the second half of the XX century. Composers Rudolph Bruči and Nikola Petin built upon the European modernism, leaving the legacy of historically established forms of concert music such as their two symphonies Brevis (Petin, 1956) and Lesta (Bruci, 1965), the latter being internationally recognized with the first prize at the Queen Elizabeth Composition Competition in 1965 in Belgium. Besides their artistic pursuits, they were instrumental in both establishing and working in musical institutions of Vojvodina after WWII. Erno Kiraly and Katalin Ladik, left a powerful mark on both academic and experimental art circles. Graphic notation, improvisation, construction of new instruments, experiments with magnetic tape, while at the same time delving deep into the ethnomusicological research such as in Kiraly’s case, place these two artists into the very center of the musical avant-garde on par with contemporaries such as John Cage and Joan La Barbara. Miroslav Štatkić, Slavko Šuklar, Stevan Divjaković and Zoran Mulić had academic careers and were active members of the Society of Composers of Vojvodina. Their creative input was based on the tradition of Western classical music expanding further to the field of electronic music, such as Šuklar‘s Flaura 94, the inclusion of elements of folk music as well as the exploration of classical forms of non-Western musical traditions. Early works of Boris Kovač, Stevan K. Tickmayer and Mitar Subotić Suba marked the height of invention and authentic, personal expression outside of institutional structures of the early 80s. Coming from different musical backgrounds, mostly non-academic even in case of Tickmayer who has held an academic title in music composition, by the late 80s their careers flourished abroad. Their wide musical interests went far beyond composing - they were active as performers, they collaborated with other composers (and among themselves) like in pieces selected for this exhibit, and led ensembles that consisted of both classically trained musicians and improvisers. They worked with both notated scores and improvisation, as well as explored sampling of ethnic instruments (Kovač and Suba). They pioneered fusion of different musical genres stretching thus the established notion of concert music prevalent in academic circles.

Nikola Petin (1919—2004), Druga simfonija / Brevis, 2. stav, 1957; Rudolf Bruči (1917—2002), Simfonija Lesta, 3. stav, 1965; Katalin Ladik, Phonopoetica, odlomak, 1976; Ernö Kiraly (1919—2007), Phoenix, Perpetuum Mobile; Miroslav Štatkić, Svita za klarinet, odlomak, 1984, Boris Kovač, Caravan Orient, 1988; Mitar Subotić Suba (1961—1999), In the Moon Cage, Annex 01, 1988; Stevan K. Tickmayer, Oriens / Occidens, 1988; Stevan Divjaković, Altum Silentium, 1989; Slavko Šuklar, Flaura, 1994; Zoran Mulić, Ciganska paganinijana, 1998.

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АЛександра Вребалов
Aleksandra Vrebalov
Music selection 

Doctorate degree obtained from the University of Michigan. Authored more than 90 pieces performed at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican, the Library of Congress, the Serbian National Theater, Kolarac. She has been twice the recipient of the Mokranjac Award.

252 године ууметности у Војводини

252 Years of Arts
Memory Strategies
From the history of the arts associations of Vojvodina


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