Life is art, because art is life: Monograph dedicated to Voj Stanić presented at CAN

Tonight at the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, a large retrospective exhibition of a prominent artist and the oldest academician will be opened

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Niko Martinović, Photo: Boris Pejović
Niko Martinović, Photo: Boris Pejović
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Vojo Stanić created an imposing work of unique poetic integrity, Mediterranean gentleness and etherealness and became a classic of Montenegrin painting, said the academician Niko Martinović at yesterday's promotion of the monograph dedicated to the great Montenegrin artist, whose author he is.

The monograph "Vojo Stanić" was presented at the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts (CANU), where a large retrospective exhibition of CANU academician Vojo Stanić will be opened today at 19 p.m. At the beginning of yesterday's event, an excerpt from the director's documentary film "Stanić, Stoleće" was shown Andro Martinović in which, in addition to Stanić's testimonies, his work and personality were also discussed Đorđe Kadijević, Duško Vujošević, Branko Baletić...

With the monograph "Voju Stanić", CANU marks the centenary of his birth and expresses the Academy's deep respect for its oldest member, sincere admiration for his painting and warmest wishes on the occasion of the jubilee, said the academician. Žarko Mirković.

"This, in every respect, a representative achievement, is the work of academician Niko Martinović. In addition to the most important, complete and stylistically flawless presentation of Voj's painting and his philosophy of life, which he got to know and perfectly understood while hanging out with him for decades, the monograph is at the same time another testimony to the breadth of Nik's knowledge, rare dedication and immense effort, and especially his desire to way to mark the jubilee of his friend", said Mirković, emphasizing that it is an "exceptional monograph about an exceptional painter".

Mirkovicphoto: Boris Pejović

Art historian, academician Alexander Chilikov, who is also the reviewer of the monograph, emphasized that it is a very high-quality publication.

"My colleague, academician Niko Martinović, wrote one of the best articles on Voj Stanić that has been written so far. It was not easy for him to make an overview of a poetics that has lasted practically eight decades and put it together in one synthesis, in one text, and in my opinion, it was done in an extraordinary way, probably because academician Martinović is a great connoisseur of Voj's work and knows all his creative phases, and I am especially grateful to him for mentioning his sculpting activities in that text, because Vojo Stanić started as a sculptor. "I personally think that the monument to Jovan Tomašević by Voj Stanić is one of the best public monuments ever made in Montenegro," said Čilikov.

Chilikovphoto: Boris Pejović

He pointed out that the luxury monograph would certainly not be of such high quality if it were not for the design, which was authored by a master's degree Ana Matić, who is also the author of the design of the catalog that will accompany tonight's exhibition.

Speaking about the work of Voj Stanić, Martinović pointed out that from the time this artist of timeless wisdom and dignity entered the art scene in 1954, one could sense that the world of colors was his autochthonousness and that an individuality was growing...

"In the eternal youth of the spirit, he builds a work that gives colors and tones to time and era, and a whole book of studies and essays, critical analyzes and impressions was written about him. He established himself as a painter of magical coastal environments, mild-humorous atmosphere, with caricature characters - original, psychologically portrayed, with canvases to which he gives a peculiar grotesque note - where each represents a mirror of our nature and customs, together building a bizarre world between dream and reality ", stated Martinović.

Writer and publisher Branko Kukić he said that Vojo Stanić "succeeded from the macrocosm to create a macrocosm that can be contained in one grain of sand" and added:

"The secret of his painting expressed in one sentence could be: 'Life is art, because art is life'".

Kukićphoto: Boris Pejović

Čilikov pointed out that it is not easy to talk about the poetics of Voj Stanić, because it is a work that lasts for decades, so he presented his observations from personal experience of contacts with the artist himself, but also his work...

"Being in Voj Stanić's company, especially informal, is a great privilege. First, it is such a radiation of positive energy. I met Voj Stanić a hundred times in my life, I encountered a smile, a joke and a positive thing a hundred times. Not only when it comes to art, his real and special, great art, but also when it comes to Vojo Stanić as a man, a personality, it's an incredible thing.

From the promotion
From the promotionphoto: Boris Pejović

Kukić said that in the painting of Voj Stanić, at first glance, it is the reality in which we live. However, his painting has a great symbolic meaning.

"It is a special dimension of his paintings that the viewer does not think about at first glance. Vojo Stanić in his booklet 'At leisure', which was very cleverly published in Nik's monograph, shows his world as double for the simple reason that he was openly in his thoughts and sayings, against abstract painting, he did not accept it as a confirmation of any of us , and especially anyone in general. Abstraction belongs to some geometry, that is, it does not belong to anything. Secondly, in his paintings there are shadows, scenes, characters that would somehow resemble surrealist painting, however he also did not appreciate that painting because he considered it more of a joke than metaphysics. Was Vojo a painter of metaphysical painting? It's not, because with him everything is realism, and that realism unknowingly turns into something fantastic", said Kukić, and Mirković noted that Voj Stanić's canvases include all of us.

"With every painting, and perhaps also through the long series of his years, which we want to be much longer, he seems to be telling us that we can create a different, if not better, then certainly a more beautiful world, whether we want to - depends on us... If in Voj's paintings you don't need to look for time, what is easily seen and what defines them to a good extent is space. These are clear visions and the essence of Mediterranean Montenegro, especially Herceg Novi, whose people he talks about with Fellini's affection and mastery characteristic of rare works by rare artists. That world of warm colors, local and cosmopolitan, inexorably true and at the same time tolerant and always cheerful and a little dislocated is familiar and close to everyone, because we know that it is us too...", said Mirković.

From the promotion
From the promotionphoto: Boris Pejović

However, according to the author of the monograph, the omnipresent optimism, the refrain "Viva la vita", the life of the spirit and the life of the body, and the lyricism between smile and melancholy, is what captivates Stanić's work and what makes it maximally communicative.

Kukić also shared that his first impression of Stanić's work was a rare sense of humor...

"That humor is not present much in literature, let alone in painting. I once got attached to Voj Stanić's humor because it spoiled me, and later I realized that it was only one side of his painting. I was convinced that his humor, which I first noticed, was enough for our art of that time in general, because our art before that was ideological and, with minor exceptions, completely insignificant... Later I discovered something more intense and current in it and more dangerous and something that is completely specific and that we did not have in Yugoslav painting until then", he pointed out.

Čilikov also reminded that Stanić was also a pedagogue, one of the founders and professors of the cult Art School in Herceg Novi, contributing to the foundation and development of the Montenegrin painting scene...

"I will not talk about the artistic analysis of his works, many have described him and written about him, associated him with many things, however, it is simply Voj's painting, it is a unique personality. He deserves a lot for the development of the Montenegrin scene, not only because of his work... In 1950, there were hardly any painters in Montenegro, there was no art school, university, or anything, and Vojo Stanić returned from Belgrade and went to Herceg Novi , there he created magnificent art that attracted other artists to return to Montenegro and create the Montenegrin fine art scene"...

From the promotion
From the promotionphoto: Boris Pejović

Martinović added that even though Stanić graduated from the sculpture department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, he chose painting as the path that leads to man's highest goal...

"With his ethics and aesthetics, Stanić is a true sculptor and affirmer of the Montenegrin identity and spirit. The creations of this authenticum of time, unique spiritual wisdom and integrity, embody to El Greco thought: 'Painting is not art, painting is spirit,'" said Martinović.

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