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MooiMan’s ‘Serbian Summer’

by Sandro Kortekaas in Theatre, Art & Expo , 01 augustus 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Till September 9, 2018 gallery MooiMan male-art, Noorderstationsstraat 40, Groningen, presents a double exhibition in which two extremes come together.

Intensely colorful as the summer and masterful in light are the paintings by Serbian painter Nebojsa Zdravkoviç (Belgrade, Serbia) in which he shows desirable men. Often, his studio and home in Belgrade are the backdrop. He brought us into contact with his compatriot, the extremely versatile artist Biljana Petroviç (Bologna, Italy).

Biljana Petroviç was born in Belgrade in 1975. In 1996, she accepted an invitation from a relative to move to Italy. Biljana enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, but instead of focussing on painting, she soon decided to change direction and focus on the traditional method of sculpting in marble and bronze. Her only subject is the human figure as an inexhaustible source of both sensory and spiritual experiences. Inspired by ballet, which allows the body to reach its peak in harmony and perfection in both form as well as in movement, she tries to convey something ethereal and spiritual. For her, it is the very first time that her man-sized and very powerful sculpture is shown in the Netherlands.

Male Nude in Belgrade

Serbia is not exactly known as a gay-friendly country. Therefore, it is remarkable that, late May 2018, Galerija ULUS in the heart of Belgrade compiled a freely accessible exhibition with the male in art as its key subject. It was a bold move, with even a life session in which a male nude model sat for students and the audience. All the more reason to ask Nobojsa, who was, alongside ten other artists, part of this experiment, some questions.

We knew this gallery from our visits to Belgrade, as it is in a busy shopping street. What was the reason for a show about this daring theme?
“The title of the exhibition was ‘Face to face with The Winner.’ The curator derived the title from Belgrade’s most touristy symbol, ‘Pobednik’ (The Winner), a statue made in 1928 by sculptor Ivan Mestrovi?. The bronze sculpture stands on a fourteen-meter-high pedestal on the historic fort of Kalemegdan on the edge of Belgrade’s centre. The sculpture is a heroic male figure with a falcon in his left hand and a sword in his right hand. The man is naked. It was made to mark the occasion of Serbia’s victory on the Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian empires during the Balkan wars and the First World War.”

How did people react to this experiment of only showing the males in an exhibition where, among other things, a life-size statue of a man with an erection could be seen?
“The exhibition was part of a series of museum nights that included debates, which lasted only a few days. However, it attracted few visitors, even here in Serbia, although the time period was limited and it was a first in the country.”

The Youth; A Rare Private Collection

Besides Serbia as a theme, there is also a large and certainly very special private collection shown, in which the classic youth is a rare and, even in The Netherlands, a bold theme. It shows a high-quality and broadly oriented collection that includes rare vintage photographs by Vincenzo Galdi and Guglielmo Plüschow in addition to photo works by contemporary photographers, such as Jan Mattheus de Grauw and Jan Carel Warffemius.

There are also various bronze sculptures, among others by the German artist Sacrevoir and paintings by him, and ceramic plates by Eddy Varekamp, now rare, on display. An extensive and carefully compiled collection that sources from a live-time of collecting.

 Serbian Summer, on display till September 9, 2018
Opening hours: Friday through Saturday, from 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. or on appointment




In the New Issue of Gay News, 335, July 2019

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