Art Lexicon: Marko Gavrilović
Marko Gavrilovic graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade and is a painter and sculptor. His works could be seen in May at his solo exhibition Contemporary City, which was held in the gallery Jugoexport, in Belgrade.
For Wolf art, Marko talks about his artistic work, travels and thoughts on the development of contemporary art.
When did you decide that you wanted to do art?
– What can I say….There were plants hanging on cowboys and Indians made from plasticine, race horses made from clay, a balcony full of giraffes, lions, people and colourful pegs strewn on the floor. Two square metres of comic strips, murals made from crayons on the walls of my room. When the time came to make a decision, I did not hesitate.
Who were your role models in the very beginning?
– The name that first comes to mind is Caspar David Friedrich. What fascinated me most was the dominance of nature in his work while man, although important, was often a small observer of a powerful scene. Today everything is much more rational, we know how everything functions, we have a rational explanation for every occurrence and process, the whys and the wherefores. Man has given himself great importance.
Who are the artists you respect?
The first ones that comes to mind are: Okuda San Miguel, James Turrel, Milija Belic…
What public sculpture would you recommend that everyone looks at?
– I like Dubuffet’s public art works, and also Calder. I wouldn’t single out a particular sculpture. I have the impression that Calder was and remains a great inspiration to artists who make metal sculptures for public spaces. Otherwise I like works that have something unique and are not sensational at any price.
How do you find out about current art events?
The Internet is a great place. Art platforms tend to be quite selective and one-sided, so when I want to find out some news I always try to look at the bigger picture, from different angles and from several places.
What sales galleries in Serbia offer art that you like?
– The problem is that our galleries are located in a particular area with a clientele that has predictable taste. So galleries often have a number of contrasting authors in order to survive. It will take some time to create a clientele that will buy in a gallery with a defined, exclusive exhibition concept (for example, abstract, realism or modern art.) It is a process, and until then galleries will have to work and endure the challenges, in other words to survive. Here I mean the galleries who support themselves and not the concept of galleries that are supported through a variety of funding and non-governmental or government sectors.
We artists need galleries that will sell our art, promote us and in return receive commission. All other combinations can be excellent references on CVs, they may open some new doors of opportunity, but one way or the other, it all comes down to the above.
Even though I collaborate with several galleries, it’s for these reasons I can’t say which one I’d single out.
Is there any biographical film about an artist that you would recommend?
– Beautiful Losers, 2008, Next A Primer On Urban Painting, 2005, Painters Painting. There is also a movie, Herb and Dorothy, 2008, about modest NY collectors whose collections are worth millions, which I would recommend to our collectors with the story “I just love it, but we can’t”, who want us to give them the work as a gift, and at the same time they invest in artists that are no longer among us. Some ideas for them if they watch the movie.
Do you favour any of your work?
No, I don’t. When I work, I always realize something which will make the next one better.
Besides drawings, you do sculptures. What unites them?
– A sculpture is a three dimensional ratio, although it is quite abstract. A painting is an explosion of lines and colours, an organized idea with a touch of the subconscious.
A sculpture is open and develops me physically, while painting is an introverted mental discipline on canvas, for which, bearing in mind that I love what I do, at the end of the day I ask myself what was so exhausting. For a sculpture I can guess how long it will take me to finish it, while for a large painting, I never know.
What connects them? Well … the author 🙂
What do you recommend to your younger colleagues?
– Young people today are really fascinating. I don’t have any specific advice because I have confidence in them. They do many things better than older artists, they are more up to date and know where this world is headed. And most importantly, they learn quickly. What can I say when my 14 year-old son, Uros, is making money online and he is very committed to this, I have someone to borrow from if I need to.
What do you recommend to your older colleagues?
– I have less and less advice for my colleagues who are involved in art. We all have our own road to follow
What do you consider to be your greatest success?
– What I really think is that we put our successes behind us and we move on. I consider it a success when I come across an old work which I had completely forgotten about, which had its own story and history, was bought, travelled, matured; and looking at it now, I can’t but wonder how I ever produced it.
What are you working on now?
– I’ve just finished an exhibition of paintings which I had in the gallery “Jugoexport” in Belgrade. I’m planning to finish a sculpture during the summer, which I’ve started, and some exhibitions have been announced.
Frequent motifs on your work are sharks and bulls. Can you tell us what they represent?
– For me, they are symbols that can be interpreted in different ways. They can be parts of a forgotten code that humanity has exchanged for enjoyment and an easy life. They can be quiet water which hides a secret below the surface, elements that are part of a big puzzle. They can also be a vision of man’s inner world, or simply nature struggling to survive.
Recently, your exhibition in Milan ended. Can you tell us more about it?
– Circle of Life is an exhibition that was presented at EXPO 2015 in Milan in September last year. At the invitation of a gallery in Miami, and with the cooperation of the Serbian pavilion, I gave my interpretation of the theme of the Expo, which is related to the sustainable sources of food and energy.
I presented a series of light sculptures made of Plexiglas, a flock of sharks which the exhibition got its name. We have had a good response from the public and great media coverage.
Up to now, you have exhibited in New York a number of times. What are your impressions from these trips?
– Yes, I had 2 solo and 4 group exhibitions in New York so far. It’s a huge city where you can easily feel like you’re at home. It’s not me making this up, but it is one of the 4 or 5 cities where a serious artist must be present today. It’s a competitive market with some of the most important creators today. It is an art scene which has its own rules, its own characteristic trends in art and certain sophistication. In fact, everyone who visits New York understands what diversity means.
Translation: Grainne Boyle Orlić