Mihael Milunović's paintings in the Belgrade MSU: Between dreams and catastrophes

Already from the earliest series of paintings and drawings, the focus of Milunović's interest is the ambiguity of symbols as a means of complex communication between the individual, the collective and the world that surrounds them.

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Picture for exhibitions at MSU, Photo: MSU
Picture for exhibitions at MSU, Photo: MSU
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (MSUB) opened the exhibition "Intersection/Territory and Self" in the Milica Zorić and Rodoljub Čolaković Legacy Gallery. Mihael Milunović which represents the artist's subtle critical view of the social reality of the contemporary global world irradiated by capital.

For the last three decades, as he has been active on the domestic and international art scene, Milunović has linked his practice to continuous experimentation with different art disciplines and visual expressions, while his thematic interests are mostly focused on researching historical and contemporary phenomena of the manifestation of sociopolitical, cultural and ideological systems and contexts. Milunović's thorough study of social and military history, mythologies, religions, diverse artistic heritage, science, spheres of popular and mass culture opened up for him a space of lasting possibilities in the reinterpretation of divergent visual, conceptual, narrative content, on which he builds and continues to conceptually develop a very specific artistic vocabulary and author's poetics, it was stated in the announcement of the exhibition, which he is the curator of Miroslav Karić.

Already from the earliest series of paintings and drawings, the focus of Milunović's interest is the ambiguity of symbols as a means of complex communication between the individual, the collective and the world that surrounds them, as a way of constructing knowledge and identities, expressing ideologies and cultural characteristics of a certain environment, establishing psychological connections with deeper layers of reality.

It is precisely the latter that will intrigue Milunović the most - the discovery of "objective reality" in dimensions beneath the endless surface of circulation and rapid absorption of images and information, in the forms, states, orders and processes of its functioning, which rest on the constant influence and influence of perception and the imaginary, the past and present, factual and fictitious. Undermining the established concepts and meanings of civilizational assets, traditional symbols, insignia, social constructs, Milunović creates a world that is not the antithesis of the existing and known, but its inverted reflection, a zone constituted by the happening, merging and permeation of material fragments of different time-geographical registers.

The rich genre and sub-genre history of science-fiction literature and film, pulp magazines, comics between the two world wars, retrofuturistic illustrations, post-war Western ideological-propaganda posters, as well as examples of metaphysical painting and magical realism, become for Milunović an inexhaustible source of inspiration, from which he abstracts visual references and iconographic elements, carefully elaborating them in his works in every detail, from the conceptual use of color, interior mood, exterior mise-en-scène, to the character of the characters.

Scenes where parade marches and military-political processions take place, ancient rituals and rites are performed, behind-the-scenes actions and experiments are carried out, the doors of secret cabinets, command staffs and laboratories are opened, landscapes stretch out covered with symbols of civilizational progress and technological progress, but also mechanisms of domination and exploitation. , introduce the observer to a kind of virtual space of collective historical experiences.

Between dreams and catastrophes - one could briefly summarize and describe Milunović's series of works created over the past ten or more years, which also includes the latest production of paintings, drawings, objects and installations presented at the current exhibition, conceived in several ambient units including courtyard part of the Gallery - legatees of Milica Zorić and Rodoljub Čolaković. Milunović's subtle critical cuts into the social reality of the contemporary global world irradiated by capital, which leaves almost no perspective regarding the human future, traverse the territory of turbulent epochs, social ups and downs, discoveries and destructions, heroic times and numbed symbols, collective acts of faith and withered ideologies, scientific achievements and extinction of species, up to utopian visions and nightmarish realities, it was stated in the announcement.

Born in 1967 in Belgrade, Mihael Milunović graduated in painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1992 in the class prof. Mom Antonović. He obtained his master's degree at the same faculty in 1995. He specialized in painting in class prof. Vladimir Veličković at L'Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1995-1996). He is a laureate of the Renoir Foundation (he worked and lived in the studio Pierre-Auguste Renoir). He taught at art academies in Paris, Saint Etienne and Cetinje.

Since the mid-1990s, Milunović has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Belgrade, Paris, Naples, Kassel, Milan, Amsterdam, Poznan. His works are in prestigious museum collections, including: MUMOK, Vienna; MSUB; Palazzo Forti, Verona; Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Saint Etienne; Wiener Städtische Collection, Vienna; Solo Collection, Madrid; Azraq Collection, Morocco; Zoya Museum, Slovakia; Deji Museum, Nanjing, China; Collection LVMH, France; Siemens Collection, Austria, as well as in many private collections.

He was the curator and organizer of several exhibitions as well as the editor of the "Colored World" program at the Museum of African Art in Belgrade (2006), then the artistic director of the second Mikser festival (2010), and co-curator. He has published several critical texts in the field of contemporary art, travelogues, essays and texts for catalogues. He is a citizen of France and Serbia, and lives and works between Paris and Belgrade.

The exhibition "Crossroads/Territory and Self" will be open until February 23 of the following year.


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