Despite acclaimed Serbian artists such as Marina Abramovic or Milica Tomic representing their homeland in the international art scene, Belgrade’s art scene is still lesser-known. And yet, cultural institutions have a long legacy in Belgrade, and dedicated artists and curators are promoting home-grown talent. From specialty venues focusing on works on paper to those exclusively exploring installation art, these ten contemporary art galleries are must-see destinations in Belgrade.
For something a little different, Gallery Singidunum represents Serbian applied artists. On display here are unique art pieces of glass, ceramic, and textiles alongside prints, sculptures and photographs. Recent artists who have exhibited at Gallery Singidunum include photographer Jelena Vemic, whose main focus revolves around the natural world – especially the small movements of the seasons – and Dragana Bojic whose abstract, dreamy paintings leave interpretation up to each individual viewer.
Specializing in Serbian contemporary art, a visit to Gallery Beograd may find guests discovering the newest in local painting, photography, sculpture or mixed media. Opened in 1963, it’s one of the city’s oldest galleries and puts a large emphasis on the promotion of its artists. Past exhibitions have included a show by Djordje Stanojevic, who is fascinated by the relationship between nature and culture, and Bosiljka Zirojević, who creates geometric relief paintings comprised of mixed media, graphite and more.
When founder Borka Bozovic started Chaos Gallery, she already knew that it’s focus would be on the display of works on paper. She believed the art form was neglected in Belgrade, and wanted to highlight the work of both Serbian artists and artists from abroad in her gallery. She looks at drawing as an impulse and wants to capture those sketches artists make and showcase them to the wider public; visitors to Chaos may have their definition of ‘drawing’ altered. Past exhibitions have included Belgrade-based artist Margareta Jelic’s cartoon-based drawings and the pure lines of Ranko Radovic.
First opening in 1993 to give student artists about to graduate their first opportunity to exhibit their work, Zvono is one of the best places in Belgrade to see not only what’s happening on the Serbian art scene, but also internationally. The private gallery has gone on to present its artists at international contemporary art fairs despite its continuing dedication to young artists. Artists who begun their careers at Zvono but have since gone on to work internationally include post-apocalyptic painter Nikola Savic and sculptor Nikola Pesic. A visit to the gallery is also the perfect introduction to the timeless photographs of Ana Adamovic or the natural mixed media world of Mirjana Rankovic.
Founded in 1949, the Graficki Kolektiv Gallery is a treasure trove of print art from the second half of the 20th century. Because of its focus on print and graphic arts, the gallery is a leader in current trends both in Serbia and on the international scene. Exhibitions typically involve print art and works on paper and present a wide-ranging spectrum of works, including a recent exhibit showcasing five of the Viennese masters of printmaking. But the gallery in no way limits itself – anything they find intriguing they are willing to show, such as the photographs taken by artists Maja Simic and Alan Beciri during their sojourn to Australia.
Serbian contemporary art and artists from a variety of fields and media – this is the specialty of Nova Gallery, where carefully curated group exhibitions connect similar artists while enhancing their individual differences. Solo shows put a spotlight on individual artists, for instance Nevena Prijic and his look at the impact of culture and media on today’s men. The wide range of media and continually rotating exhibitions make Nova Gallery an important actor on Belgrade’s art scene.
The idea behind O3One, one of Belgrade’s most popular art spaces, is to present three different zones: Art3ONE, Eko3ONE and Open3ONE. Each represents different projects based on art, technology, and science, and allows curators a wide hand in exploring and connecting the three. Focusing on the artistic side, Art3ONE specifically presents contemporary art that accentuates cultural industries, but also demonstrates a focus on the creation of new works and cooperates diligently with artists to design pieces that excite the artist and intrigue the audience. An example of the differing artistic attitude here is the past presentation of photographs by Marijana Jovanovic that explore pregnancy and crush its stereotypes by placing pregnant women in typically male-oriented locations, such as construction sites.
Remont is an independent art association with a sense of humor. They most often exhibit Serbian artists who range in medium from photography to painting, sculpture, and video installation. Being an art association first and foremost, the founders’ goal is to cultivate and promote a culture of contemporary art, supporting Serbian artists in all fields and at all stages of their careers, and pushing the development of innovative art practises.Past exhibitions have included a group show around the theme of emigration, and a show by painter Biljana Durdevic who uses, among other muses, classical music from the baroque period to inspire her.
The Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art presents the latest trends in visual arts through exhibitions of local and international artists, with a preference for solo exhibitions. The space itself is large and welcoming, easily showcasing the photos, paintings, installation or video pieces that may be on display. The Salon also presents numerous curatorial projects, debates and lectures, as the gallery hopes to keep the discussion and practice of contemporary art in the public eye. Fascinating past exhibitions have included Ljubomir Simunic’s The Secret Life of Belgrade Suburbs, a photographic and film look at the hidden lives of some people; the car as a carrier of cultural and social meanings was considered through an installation by Nikola Kolja Bozovic.
The SKC (Student Culture Centre) may have been designed for Belgrade’s students, but since opening in 1986 it has developed into one of the top art spaces in the city. A pivotal place for contemporary art and culture happening both in Serbia and abroad, SKC contains not only a gallery but also rooms for concerts and exhibitions. SKC is where Marina Abramovic used to perfom at the beginning of her career. Today, the gallery might be showing the unique paintings of Belgrade artist Natasha Skoric who uses everything from graphite to marble coating in her pieces, or a group photo show of works from the collection of the Photo Association of Serbia.