The cosmos in which Krsto Andrijašević rules

While we talk in the studio in the courtyard of Karađorđeva street in Nikšić and slowly "sort" through the past, Krsto reveals the world he lives in, where his life and creativity intertwine, where gentleness conquers, childlike naivety and purity reign, creating an infantile attraction that you cannot stay immune...

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Krsto Andrijašević in the studio, Photo: Svetlana Mandić
Krsto Andrijašević in the studio, Photo: Svetlana Mandić
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

When we started the conversation, I was instructed not to ask him questions that others ask him (which is almost impossible), and at the end I was praised that the conversation flowed "spontaneously and easily, like a river."

He talked Cross Andrijasevic, a famous Montenegrin artist with a unique expression, about muses and daughter-in-law Svedarka, flowers and books, about man and unfulfilled desire, about an unbreakable relationship with Balosav and Nikšić.

"From childhood and youth, I remember every detail, but now I forget everything and I meet people five or six times," says the seventy-five-year-old artist, who breathed simplicity and purity, simplicity and warmth, all that he carries with him, into his drawings, paintings and sculptures.

Life is made up of memories - beautiful, but also ugly

While we talk in the studio in the courtyard of Karađorđeva street and slowly "sort" through the past, Krsto reveals the world he lives in, where his life and creativity are intertwined, where gentleness conquers, childlike naivety and purity reign, creating an infantile attraction that you cannot remain immune to. .

"I had to get rid of the past, to put on paper what happened to me in my youth. There were both ugly and beautiful memories. My illness was ugly...but so was the Army. I was full of some impurity. The army 'cleared' me and I got out of the army completely clean. I don't like that memory of the army though. But there were also good memories. My brother worked in Germany and met Svedarka in Munich. I was a brother-in-law at that wedding. Well, that is a particularly nice memory for me".

From the studio
From the studiophoto: Svetlana Mandić

And Svedarka, a woman with an unusual name, is a gift to Andrijašević and Krst. That's why he often mentions her.

"I get up at four and I like to paint until six or seven o'clock. Then I have breakfast and wait for my daughter-in-law Svedarka to drink coffee together. She cleans the apartment, arranges everything. If it wasn't for her, I would be neglected. I have a good daughter-in-law, a Dalmatian, better than ours. From a beautiful family, which has beautiful offspring. Everyone has graduated from university, no one drinks or smokes".

He also finished the manuscript "Remembrance and some more" which will be bound next year, and there is hope for a new monograph.

"I love literature, I've always read and it just came to me to write. So a few years ago I wrote 'Girl's embroidery from Balosava' and now 'Memories'. In this book, I will also include a graduate thesis from the university, I think it is good, and a homework from elementary school on the topic of the cosmos. Whatever one of the teachers in the Gymnasium asked who had read it, I would answer. My friends were surprised that I was so well-read that I couldn't write a written assignment. Those topics were irrelevant to me, so I didn't know what to write about. And when I wrote about the cosmos, my imagination was awakened and I wrote very beautifully".

A world tailored to the ecstatic

The cosmos is the world in which he lives, his world, and the works he creates and Andrijašević's recognizable style - unique, warm, chaste, which is additionally "seasoned" by his wide-open eyes, innocent smile and easy speech.

"I started painting since I was little, and when I enrolled in Pedagogy, I realized that I had found something I was born for. When I look at the drawings in the notebook, they are nothing special, and when I give them away and see the work framed, I am delighted. I thought he wasn't up to it, but he turned out to be amazing. It always seems to me that I will make a better sculpture than the one I made. It also happened that I did a new one over one work, because I was not satisfied. So I made 300 pictures - first with charcoal colors, but I didn't like them, so I coated them with color and painted them again. They were all gone, I gave them away for free or for a small amount of money, because it seemed to me that they didn't work. Now that I see them, I realize that they were good. There is only one left, and she will leave. I think my best sculpture is a woman with real hair, with a knob instead of a nose, which I did in the early eighties. Everyone said it was outstanding, and I liked it too, and I am especially proud of that work."

A woman makes hair with a handle
A woman makes hair with a handlephoto: Svetlana Mandić

And he is proud of the artists from Nikšić, as well as his friends, the people who are always by his side, who do not disturb his world but try to help him to live more easily in the reality that he often "bypasses".

"I guess good souls find each other. I have eight female friends - they are my muses, huh Lily Karadzic we consider him an angel. I also have a large number of friends. I'm afraid of forgetting someone. I have good relations with all my colleagues. We Nikšić artists support each other and go to each other's exhibitions. Nikšić has a large number of artists, and I think it is due to the fact that there was a Pedagogical School in Nikšić, so a large number opted for that profession. But there is also a tradition in Nikšić. During the time of the Turks and later, domestic craftsmanship was developed. Various items were made, especially carpets, with fine colors. They always had a sense of color in Nikšić. I think that also influenced the people of Nikšić to be artists in large numbers".

"The cross, whatever you cling to, it will break through"

He admits that he is sorry when the works "go away from him", that he made canvas replicas of the best drawings that he does not intend to sell, that he has a collection of his and his colleague's works in the apartment, and that all the walls are "filled" so that the new work would not had somewhere to put it. He says he is Mouse Cvorovic, "a good craftsman in stone and wood", right hand, that he likes to exhibit in Nikšić, Podgorica and Cetinje and that he never wanted to live outside of Montenegro.

"I was in Paris for a month, when I had an exhibition, and I couldn't wait to come back. Nikšić and Balosave, my native village, are the places where I feel the most beautiful. I am planning to organize an exhibition in the tavern on Vilusi in memory of the elementary school. I would like to give the Villus a little beauty, if there is beauty in my works".

From the studio
From the studiophoto: Svetlana Mandić

And his works are his identity card - in them Krsto wove himself and his world.

“There was a lot of abstraction and everyone kind of looks like each other. I wasn't interested in that. Something alive had to be present, especially a human. Then I decided to paint and work on a man, so that he would be the starting point for everything. But not as it is, but as I want. My man is unusual, strange. There are no facial features, everything is reduced. If I did facial features it would be banal. This way, when I round my head, it looks more interesting. There are no details, it's all masses".

And he is unique.

"Ljilja Karadžić said that I have neither a predecessor nor a successor. I'm glad I'm unique. An artist from Belgrade, when he saw my works, said that he would work like me. I don't think he'll do it though. What's good Mijuskovic he said to me: 'Krsto, it doesn't look like you were born in the countryside, but in a metropolis'. And when I laid out the designs, Milan Vuckovic called me and said to me: 'Cross, whatever you touch, it will break through'. Those are nice compliments to me".

From the last exhibition
From the last exhibitionphoto: Svetlana Mandić

There is still beauty in the world

He also fondly remembers his student days in Nikšić, the corso, the cinema, the time when jeans, shirts and angora sweaters were worn. Studying in Belgrade does not make him nostalgic, because he was lonely there.

"It was wonderful at Pedagoška. It is one of the most beautiful periods of my life. We hung out, went to the cinema, to the corso, we just didn't go to bars. I thought it would be the same in Belgrade, but everyone was there separately - they didn't socialize, so I felt like a hermit there. I really missed my beautiful company from Pedagoška. When I was young, I watched a lot of movies. The first movie I saw was 'Kampo Mamula' and I didn't like it. One evening my brother took me to the cinema and I saw the movie 'Cinemascop' in color, on a wide screen. It delighted me and no one could get me out of the cinema. I went every night. We had three cinemas then, in '18. September', 'Kultur' and 'Dom mijeja', so one night I went to one, the next to the second, then the third, and so on. I loved the movie 'The Violet Seller' by Amadoria. In Belgrade, I discovered the Cinematheque and watched many films there - from Kurosawa, od John Ford those cowboys were great, while I didn't like the later cowboys. I also watched other directors, like Polanski".

From the last exhibition
From the last exhibitionphoto: Svetlana Mandić

All exhibitions are dear to him, but he remembers two in particular - the first, which was in Podgorica, and the one in Novi Sad.

"The first exhibition was at the Budo Tomović Youth Center in Podgorica. I was nervous and didn't invite anyone to the exhibition. But I had an uncle in Sutomore who heard about the exhibition and came with his wife and my aunt By dawn. They really made me happy. I relaxed with them and I was really glad that they came. They helped me overcome my nervousness, but also showed me that I am not alone, that there is a family there. Perhaps my favorite exhibition is in Novi Sad. There I exhibited the best works, sculptures, several paintings and drawings. It was really nice. My friends from Nikšić went to be at the opening of the exhibition. There I also found an acquaintance from the Academy in Belgrade who came with his wife. We hung out and it was really nice."

Love is the most important driver of man. If there is no love for art, then how will we create art

He says that he has three exhibitions ready and is waiting for an invitation from Podgorica because he would like the next exhibition to be held in the capital. One of those exhibitions will be the landscapes he saw from the window. And he is also preparing something new.

"I loved flowers and as a young man I planted and tended them. In the village, they wondered who planted the flowers and took care of them. All the windows were decorated with flowers. I especially like muscatles. Now I'm growing flowers again and I've started painting them. I have five or six works and I was thinking of doing a slightly larger number of flower paintings and then, after these prepared exhibitions, I would also exhibit those works. Of course, if I am alive and I would write - there is still beauty in the world. Now when I paint flowers I remember Safeta Zeca who drew chestnuts in bloom, flowers, nettles at the Academy. It delighted me. Everyone worked abstractly, and he worked with chestnuts, nettles and flowers. That was a nice revelation for me", says Krsto and adds that it is for him Lubarda an unparalleled painter.

From the last exhibition
From the last exhibitionphoto: Svetlana Mandić

But also the color red. It is a color that he associates with love, and he says that there is a lot of love in him.

"Love is the most important driver of man. If there is no love for art, then how will we create art".

Where is this Cross sailing?

He admits that he has one great desire - to make a sculpture in space.

"I did not make any sculptures in the space. That was my wish and I feel guilty about it. There are so many ugly monuments. I think I could have done it better, but I couldn't be surprised."

That's why he decided not to wait any longer and to fulfill his wish - he will present the city with the sculpture "Couple", which will be located in the city park.

He also reveals which writers he particularly likes, but also which song is "his".

"Dostoevsky he is a special writer for me. I have read all his works twice, except for 'Evil Spirits'. I haven't read them. I especially like 'The Brothers Karamazov'. As a young man, I identified with Alyosha. As for poets, I don't know much about them, but poetry Wax Pope suits me I love him very much. I also like all music except jazz. He's kind of boring to me. My special song is 'Kud plovi ovaj brod' and I had it played when there was an exhibition in Nikšić".

Krsto still sails and hopes that the Podgorica "port" will be his next destination. He and the works are just waiting for the call.

A professor who did not like working at school

Although he kept a diary for two decades, he admits that he never liked working in education, but existence does not choose. However, he likes it when former students address him as professor.

"I have to work alone in the School Center because there was nothing else for me. It was difficult for me and it seems to me that I did not teach well, because I did it out of will. However, when former students meet me, they tell me: 'Professor, respect', and I'm glad to hear that. Even the ones who pissed me off the most came forward. Some still thank me, and I ask them why they thank me when I was not a good professor. They tell me I'm a good man. I'm glad they think so. While I was teaching I was sick several times, and since I retired I don't have those problems. I have found my peace and I hope it stays that way".

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