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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 64 | volume XII | January-February, 2009



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 64January-February, 2009
Gallery Reviews

Dragan Petković, Retrospectively

p. 1
Zoran Petrovski

    ”Art is the highest form of hope”

    Gerhard Richter

At the exhibition Six Macedonian Artists, opened in 1985 in Zagreb[1], which can be considered a milestone that marked the end of the developing phase of the Macedonian modernism and announced its tendencies towards the contemporary post-modern artistic practices, Dragan Petković for the first time showed his new cycle of works The Joy of Life (1985/1987), named after Henry Matisse's work Le bonheur de vivre and composed of groups of outstandingly vivid and brightly painted cardboards with sharp edges, cut in the form of indefinite associative figures and compositions that bounce in a wild rhythm all over the gallery walls, as if being aroused and carried by a thrilling and passionate dance. Judging by the features like the use of quotations, the ambivalence between the figurative and abstract character of the forms and their ecstatic color and spatial expression, these works of Petković could be defined as close to some of the basic postulates that were in a vigorous and euphoric gust brought about by the post-modern “New Image Painting”.

    This general title covers the numerous painting occurrences encompassed basically with the terms “neo-expressionism” and “trans-avant-garde”, whose common output was the idea of returning to the painting or, as the American critic Thomas McEvilley has put it, “the exile's return”.[2] Following the crisis years of 1970s, when the rigid formalism of the high Modernism, the closed structures of the iconoclastic minimalism and the radical rejection of the art object in the conceptualism resulted in a block of ideas and when “Another kind of cultural impasse seemed to be approaching in which culture would symbolically destroy itself through its auto-critique”,[3] the reaction in the art at the beginning of the 1980s first came through painting, through the return of some of its suppressed values: subjectivity, expression, narration, return of the figure, decorativeness, media and style pastiche, or the mere pleasure in the act and in the matter of painting. However, that revived painting did not find its landscape in nature but only and exclusively in itself, in its own modern art history and in the media of the popular culture.


1. Šest makedonskih umjetnika: Od čudotvornosti livade do radosti življenja (Six Macedonian Artists: From the Miracle of the Meadow to the Joy of Living), Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 1985. The exhibition was also shown in Belgrade, Skopje and Kavadarci. This exhibition is important because it was the fist topic or curatorial project. Curator of that exhibition was Sonja Abadjieva, and along with Dragan Petković it was also participated by: Aneta Svetieva, Gligor Stefanov, Petre Nikoloski, Simon Šemov and Dimitar Manev.
2. According to the title of the book: Thomas McEvilley, The Exile’s Return: Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
3. Ibid., p. 6.

"Blesok" editions 01-93 are also available at CEEOL web site.

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