Kosta Bogdanović, New Experiences of Seeing and Presenting, 2007

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Texts EN | No Comments

In the relation of factors of probability (equal – unequal – similar) transformed into visual culture, the term similar has obvious consequences in the field of art based on which the new art is considerably different form the classical art. The term similar is a comparison mediator, both between the terms equal and unequal and in the domain of the term similar, as a relation in contrasting something to something else or someone to someone else. As in the classical art, until the end of the 19th century motives came from natural forms, so is the art of the 20th and 21st centuries focused more on itself as an object. Similar is manifested through the given frames of reference and determinants of new technical and technological signifiers, capacities and standards, by which a contemporary work of art is massively realised. Due to that the term similar in works that are realised under the same technical conditions is unified in style but individualised poetically. And so similar and similarity in contemporary works of art are quite close as types, regardless of individual concepts, dimensions and techniques. In this way visual arts absolutely concretely “borrow” virtual quality of similarity from the natural and embodied shapes, almost without participation of the direct creator during the process of creating the piece. This does not belittle the importance and artistic range of a contemporary work of art, but multiplying the similar leads toward the anonymous form. An important part of such kind of art production remains only in traces of remembering and reduces the authenti-city of a work of art.
In that sense the term similar achieves unity in the standards of technical performance where the term and the meaning of the term authentic almost lose priority in connection to the requirements of permanent modernity. Technicaly, new roads are thus open towards seeing the familiar in a different way.
On the other hand, the other part in the production of the work of contemporary art that emerges from the need of emphasizing a “personal touch” in the production of contemporary works of art, which promote authentic attempts of a “strictly personal signature” (which is importantly connected to the term and meaning of art freedom, so tempestuously conquered by the art of the twentieth century), is approaching more to the general term unequal (as a gesture of differing from others), for that, one by all means believes in achieving authenticity and, what seems, a personalised opinion regarding understanding one’s own art. As much as, in the first case, modern techniques and technologies unify the art production in a media way, adjoining itself to the dominance of the term similar, in the same ratio, the other field is dominated by the term unequal in its widest meanings.

In a wider context of the meaning of similar we find an important poetic segment in the art of Branislav Nikolić. This is especially connected to the sculptural objects intended for public spaces, whose objective-spatial and functional offering is in its appearance quite importantly connected to the similarity to something very well-known. Those are not symbolised attributes of the “portrayed shapes of reality”, but present a self-determined approach to the emancipation of their conventional banality. Actually, it is a demonstration of the author’s desires to create a new show where he wins the power of his already obvious recognisability. Thus, each shape “deserves” its own re-interpretative presentation where it will never be what it was thought to have been. It is a refined step forward from Duchamp’s “army coat” and it is not just the source of just renaming the function of a former conventional-functional object towards its “profane sacralisation”. Branislav Nikolić leans on the essential movement of the outer contour of a reshaped object, not annihilating the feature of the source model, but with crystal clarity pointing out the naked appearance in elementary characteristics of materialised form. Very often he uses a discarded object or one that has already been used. In that sense the term similar of that newly-made object, indicating a sculptural form, in Branislav Nikolić’s work establishes a new convention of recognision of sculptural in relation to taking example by a “similar” already existing object. Aesthetics and poetry of his sculpted objects (church, pillar, ceramic circle, cake), or objects-installations seen in TV commercials cast in concrete, or shapes that represent “trash aesthetics”, as he himself says, actually resurrect an almost invisible world of forms and materials, which only in sculptors’ interventions, as re-composed objects, are given a status of highly emancipated sculpted objects.
In these circumstances of reflexion upon sculpting and installation capacities, this author connects and engulfs the contemporary principles of visual culture with the principles of environmental awareness and recycling. As an artist of urban orientation he makes a simple path towards a creative process, not bearing a burden of instant  and passing effects, where he cherishes his art in coordination with his personality of a serious, curious, quiet man ready to learn.
The best example for this is one of his works called IN/OUT (a sculpture containing the two words), exhibited within BELEF in 2003, in front of Mercator mall in Belgrade. The letters cast in concrete (150 x 100 cm each) are levelled with the ground but at different heights, pointing out to a much wider context, thus presenting the first steps towards understanding urban sculpture in Belgrade, intended for the very urban structure of the city, stripped of any conventional/monument-like role.
Apart from all this, it is necessary to mention his very interesting drawing opus that has emerged during his daily recording of certain shapes and ideas that somehow remain invisible for the “rest of the world”. This is directly connected to his research work in the field of visual culture, and with the passionate collecting of the materials for this activity through drawing, photographing, cutting out newspaper articles and surfing the Internet.
Branislav Nikolić is the co-author of the textbook for art culture from the first to the fourth grades of elementary school. Mentioning these interests and activities is not a mere introduction to his public work, but it is a lot more important to point out a new profile of an artist who does other things on a daily basis, but who can therefore profile his world of art in a modern way.