Vesko Gagović

A cursory glance at the artist’s biography reveals that Vesko Gagović graduated in 1988 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, completing his postgraduate studies in 1991. His first solo exhibition was put on in Sarajevo in 1990, and in addition to numerous group exhibitions in the country and abroad, his work was presented in a series of solo exhibitions between 1988 and 2018, in Podgorica, Nikšić, Cetinje, Sarajevo, Budva, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Igalo, Bar, Venice, Francavilla Al Mare, Vienna, concluding, for the time being, with a retrospective show at the Museums and Galleries of Podgorica in 2018.

The work entitled MDF Floating Object (metallic gold, MDF, LED light, 200x200x60cm) is adapted to a new version intended for the different space and exhibition context at the Pavilion of Montenegro at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The original function of the material construction of this work is a wooden box that is further processed so that a once usable object now transforms into a perfectly regular vertical minimalist object. Empty on the inside, it is slightly raised above the exhibition space floor, so that a neon light is emitted from its underside. Its outer appearance seems to draw inspiration from the ideal Monolith from the famous Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The enigmatic significance of Kubrick’s black Monolith enabled Gagović to impress upon his own golden monolith different, but equally enigmatic references. Although extremely reduced, Gagović’s object is full of different possibilities of interpretation, and is therefore yet another example of an “open work”, and as such related to most of the artist’s other creations. Despite its distinct simplicity, and its material and physical presence in space, the visual suggestiveness of the work is primarily spiritual, ethereal, mysterious, so that the work, besides a pure and exalted aesthetic form, also possesses the potential of deep spiritual symbolism. The Venice version of this work is called Light / Floating Object, with the same dimensions (200x200x60cm) and executed in wood, golden colour and neon lights, trying to correspond as such to the central theme of the 2019 Venice Biennale and, in the words of the artist himself: “the light that comes out of this object carries the meaning of the light on icons.”

Gagović has been shaped and now operates in a cultural environment in which the notion of modern and contemporary art was based until recently on the canonical opus of a few major protagonists of domestic historical post-war modernism. In the recent decades, however, in the context of changed global circumstances in art and thanks to the contributions of the younger generation of artists, the Montenegrin art scene has undergone visible changes of its inherited paradigms through the use of new expressive languages ​​and operational procedures, and in these processes Gagović has played a notable role. As a contemporary artist versed in urban culture and of cosmopolitan orientation, Gagović deliberately and simultaneously moves through a number of separate, yet interconnected conceptual and media areas, by dealing with the same authenticity with painting in its various unconventional techniques, as with photography, video, installations, appropriation of found objects on the principle of direct or custom ready-made in his works, rather than on aesthetic impressions, based on mental and conceptual assumptions. Respecting the autonomy of contemporary art and preserving the independent position of a contemporary artist, Gagović considered it justified, even obligatory to pose in his works certain challenging, even critical questions about the concrete reality of his own social and cultural environment.

Solo Exhibitions / Publications


Solo exhibitions

1990 Sarajevo, House of Youth Gallery
1990 Podgorica, House of Youth Gallery
1990 Niksic, Gallery “Forum“
1990 Sarajevo, Cafe Gallery “Zvono“
1991 Sarajevo, Gallery “Novi Hram“
1993 Belgrade, Students’ Cultural Centre Gallery
1994 Podgorica, Modern Gallery
1994 Budva, Gallery “Citadela“
1995 Novi Sad, Gallery “Zlatno oko“
1995 Belgrade, Students’ Cultural Centre Gallery
1997 Podgorica, Modern Gallery
2003 Oslo, Cultural Centre, Gallery, Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro
2006 Igalo, SPA Gallery
2008 Podgorica, video screen, Trg Republike
2014 Cetinje, Biljarda
2015. Igalo, SPA Gallery
2015. Podgorica, Center for Contemporary Art of Montenegro, Center Gallery
2017. Bar, Gallery “Velisa Lekovic”
2018. Podgorica, Modern Gallery
2019. Venice, Montenegrin Pavilion – 58th Venice Biennale

Group Exhibitions


Group exhibitions

1988 Belgrade, Havana, Bucharest, 4th Biennial of Student Drawing, Students’ Cultural Centre Gallery
1989 Rijeka, 15th Youth Biennial, Modern Gallery
1989 Sarajevo, Postgraduates, Energoinvest Gallery, ALU
1990 Zagreb, 25th Zagreb Salon, Artistic pavilion
1990 Cacak, 16th Nadezda Petrovic Memorial, “Nadezda Petrovic“ Gallery
1993 Novi Sad, Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery, SPC “Vojvodina”, Podgorica – Dvorac Petrovića ”The Early Nineties”
1994 Xsanti, Greece, Contemporary Montenegrin Art
1994 Vrsac, 1st Yugoslav Youth Biennial, Gallery “Konkordija“
1994 Cetinje, 2nd International Biennial, Embassy of Serbia
1995 Podgorica, “Portrait of the Artist in His Youth“, House of Youth Gallery
1996 Skopje, “Small Southern Images”, Museum of Contemporary Art
1996 Bari, Rome, Contemporary Montenegrin Art, Palazzo Espozicione Gallery
1996 Cetinje, 3rd International Biennial, Vladin dom
1996 Vrsac, 2nd Yugoslav Youth Biennial, Gallery “Konkordija“
1996 Cacak, 19th Nadezda Petrovic Memorial, “Nadezda Petrovic“ Gallery
1996 Igalo, Zabljak, “Less is More”, SPA Centre Gallery
1997 Novi Sad, 1st International Biennial of Sketches and Projects, “Zlatno oko“ Gallery
1998 Pancevo, Vesko Gagovic, Nenad Soskic and Sreten Milatovic, Contemporary Art Gallery
1999 Brezice, International Artistic Colony, Posavski muzej Brezice
1999 Vienna, R.Damnjan, D.Ugren, V.Gagovic and V.Vujacic, Peter Lindner Gallery
2000 Venice, V.Gagovic and V.Vujacic, Swedish-Italian Cultural Centre Gallery
2000 Pancevo, International Biennial 2000. Relations, Contemporary Art Gallery
2000 Vienna, Recent Montenegrin Painting, Austrian Parliament, Hall of Pillars
2001 Frankovila, 52-gi Premio Micheti, Michetti Mueum
2001 Rijeka, 15th International Biennial of Drawings, Modern Gallery
2002 Cetinje, 4th International Biennial, Dvorac Petrovica
2003 Sarajevo, “Urbanci”, “Colegium Artisticum“ Gallery
2003 Budva, Belgrade, “Montenegrin Beauty“, Citadela, Centre for Cultural Decontamination
2003 Vrsac, “Painting“ , “Konkordija“ Gallery
2004 Dubrovnik, Gallery Lazareti; Mostar, Hrvatski dom Herceg Stjepan Kosaca; Cetinje, National Museum; Sarajevo, Contemporary Art Centre; “Neighbourhood on Distance-New Approaching”
2004 Cetinje, “Orchid”, Prison Bogdanov kraj
2005 Ljubljana, The Actual Moment in Montenegrin Fine Arts, City Gallery
2005 Berlin, Dresden, “Montenegrin Beauty“, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien-Berlin, Motorenhalle-Dresden
2014 Podgorica, “Ego sum”, Contemporary Art Centre of Montenegro, Dvorac Petrovica Gallery
2014 Podgorica, “Light“, Contemporary Art Centre of Montenegro, Dvorac Petrovica Gallery
2015 Novi Sad, “Between Private and Public“, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina
2015 Belgrade, “Between Private and Public“, Heritage House
2017. Novi Sad, “Danube Dialogues”, Gallery Small Art Salon
2018. Podgorica, Drawing as an Experiment, Center for Contemporary Art of Montenegro, Petrovic Castle Gallery

Prizes and awards / Fairs


Awards

1994 Vrsac, I Youth Biennial Award
1995 Podgorica, Critics Award, Association of Fine Artists of Montenegro (ULUCG) exhibition
2001 Rijeka, International Biennial of Drawings Award
2002 Cetinje, International Biennial, UNICEF First Award
2004 Podgorica, the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro Award, at the competition for Montenegrin souvenir