“People think that it has something to do with the ideas but it is rather a question of experience”.
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
ND: I was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1982. I started very early to manipulate things and different materials and that interest of mine gradually became more clear to me so I started to do things inspired by the works of art I saw in art books. I was surrounded by people who were in one way or another artists, I would say.
AT: When did it become serious?
ND: I believe that when I was around fifteen years old I took classes of drawing at the famous “Šumatovačka school” in Belgrade for the young artist. In this school normally one would take lessons before trying the admission exam at the Academy of fine arts. From that point, I would say that the drawing and painting becomes my predominant occupation in every sense.
AT: Is there any person that has been significant in your progression as an artist?
ND: Lots of them. I wouldn´t mention all of them but I must say that I shared my experience as an artist with several people dear to me who contributed to my personal growth. I constantly make homages in my work to these people. They are persons from my childhood, my colleagues, friends, professors, curators, collaborators etc.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process
ND: It starts by me doing nothing accumulating fantasies.
Old Truth Collapses, 2015, acrylic and collage on paper, 260×316 cm
AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?
ND: People who know me and have had the opportunity to follow my research know that at very precise deadlines I change materials that I use and how I use them. It is not so clear when you look it from the outside and from afar. The material itself changes my prospectives whet it comes to create images. I do not know why I do so and if I have favorite material but I must say I like wood a lot, I prefer oil than acrylic, I like very much working on the paper and any material that has already been used and that has some kind of signs of time like pvc, cotton cloth I sew canvas by hand or with the sewing machine, I use the terracotta, cement, glass particles and so on but at the end I always end up using oil colors.
AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?
ND: It depends on the period and which work in specific. Normally my work has a hermetic narration in a sense that the certain works are constructed upon stories with personal references that in a certain way they represent satisfaction of being created only to myself because I am the only one that can read them. I need to create some kind of Mise-en-scène that unfortunately is very personal and therefore I´m not so sure how much the viewer can enjoy this fantasy so I try to involve him leaving at least a theatrical illusion.
AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?
ND: The process itself is very fluid and all those who paint know what I mean by saying that. It changes with every brush stroke and therefore represents something vital for us painters. In the end, we must define the work and give it a definitive form, but the process it self is rather resilient.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
ND: This is a question that often comes up. There is no real answer, you simply know it . As I said before it depends on so many different factors but it is also a question of experience. There are different types of clues that suggest that a particular painting is finished for example yesterday after so many hours of work where every brushstroke was harmony in the dialogue that was created between me and the painting I arrived at a point where I know that the next brushstroke was going to be simply to much because I was empty I waste in tune with the painting anymore. I made this brushstroke and in fact it was true, so in these cases I try to do something small just to be sure.
Untitled, 2015,acrylic and collage on cavas, 50×60 cm
Happy dog sad dog, 2018, acrylic, glass particels and oil on canvas, 175×140 cm
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?
ND: It’s complicated to answer a question like this, but I can give you a couple of indications. I like to identify myself with the figures of historical avant-gardes, especially Russian but also many others. What I want to say is that I always start by employing myself with a story that can be real or false but it must contain some kind of aspect that I can connect to my inner mechanism for evaluation of what is important and at the same time interesting to me at this precise point. It often begins with an idea that concerns an image or a phenomenon in the history of art or a utopian idea linked to some character that I discovered and that intrigued me. Everything starts there and naturally through the process of fiscal creation it starts to be more and more convoluted as it develops all very spontaneously. However, starting from outside or inside this truth must pass through inside in order to be recognized as such. Sometimes this mechanism of the metamorphosis of the story and of the content became visible through several attempts, it is not always so instant.
AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate?
ND: This is a very good question for a psychologist. I met people that when you know them you simply say:“he is a true artist” and from the other hand people who through a more or less calculated and defined research were abel to reach results. From my experience I can say that many attitudes that concern not only art are things that we carry with us and that we have for a long time inside us. It is not important to ask what is art but who is art, I mean being an artist is kind of a condition more than a job. but I have also seen many very good young artists who learned the dynamics of different thing regarding art very quickly, but that is more a kind of ambition. who can really teach you to be a man, it is like that I think.
AT: There are many artists that influenced your works? Why?
ND: all good artists influence me. because it is an exchange and a dialogue. A journey where you meet friends exchange experiences and emotions and continue on by your self.
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
ND: I´m not sure but I believe that people are taking this very seriously. let’s not forget that we are talking about a screen and not a real experience. it can be very interesting and fun I think.
Wind inside the residue, 2017, acrylic, glass particels and pvc on wood,31×22 cm
Proximity Practises, 2017, acrylic on wood, 50×36 cm
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
ND: I don’t have really a clear opinion. It is a complex system now days but in the end, it was always like that. I think that it is complicated to judge the system in the same moment when you actively participate in it and I´m not so sure how much I fit in this system in sense that I always remain in a way an outsider in terms of fashion and what can be considerate to be contemporary approach in art.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
ND: Certainly on of the most rewarding things is the possibility to continue with ideas and sensations no matter how useless and strange they might seem to others and of course the feeling of sharing this experience with people suffering from the same pathology as you. Interaction with other artists is one of the main aspects but naturally the development of an inner perspectives and personal symbolic system would be the most important. There is no work similar to one of an artist. There are so many interesting things accompanying you on this journey. It is a kind of therapy and everything that can be rewarding can also be challenging at the same time because you don’t really have clear rules by taking this path and only thing you need to it is to try to be aware of that is happening during this process. People think that it has something to do with the ideas but it is rather a question of experience.
AT: What do you do outside of painting?
ND: I write poetry. I think it is going to be very helpful with the next project. in different periods I included various other mediums such as video, installation, sculpture but I think it is always a pictorial approach as I get into some different medium.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
ND: I’m preparing a new solo project in one institution and another project, very stimulating but I prefer to talk about it when the time comes. These project are going to be the next step forwards from my last solo show that was at Boccanera Gallery in Trento which was an important moment regarding my artistic research where in a way I went beyond everything that I have explored up to that point. This time I think I will go much deeper whet it comes to certain obsessions of mine. It is in fase of developing. For now I can say that both projects are each one in their own way very rewarding and promising.
Artissima Art Fair 2017, detail
Nebojša Despotović (b. 1982, Belgrade - Serbia) lives and works between Berlin and Treviso Selected solo exhibitions 2018 Between the Devil and deep blue Sea ovvero freie Kartoffeln, Boccanera Gallery, Trento -IT 2017 Enemy Who Must be Loved, Ierimonti Gallery, New york - USA 2017 Obstruction of surface or fish at sunset, Triangle Gallery , Moscow - RUS 2017 DonÅLt accuse clouds for making aesthetics mistakes, curated by Mario Margani, 8Leben, Berlin - DE 2016 Resilience (with Linda Carrara ), Temporary Gallery by Boccanera Gallery, Via Ventura 6, Milan - IT 2015 La pelle di serpente (with Enzo Cucchi), TRA, Treviso Ricerca Arte, Treviso – IT Another Symphony, Galleria Marconi, Forlì – IT 2014 Piel fr.a, Alonso Gallery, Madrid - ES Silent Fracture, Boccanera Gallery, Trento - IT 2012 Porcelain, Ego Gallery, Lugano – CH Diamond and Rust, FaMa Gallery, Verona – IT 2010 Velvet Glove, Arte Boccanera Gallery, Trento – IT Backdoor, UPP Gallery, Venice – IT Selected group exhibitions 2018 “Graffare il presente”, curated by Daniele Capra e Giuseppe Frangi, Casa Testori, Nova te Milano - IT “Figolammerda”, Spazio Ferramenta, Torino - IT “Fondazione Malutta Gemello cattivo”, Santa Maria della Scala Museum, Siena - IT “CREP”, Galerija Doris Ghetta, concept by Mariano Pichler, Ortisei – Bolzano - IT Fondazione Malutta - La torre Maluttona + Mercato babelico, Monitor Gallery, Rome - IT 2017 Backup_festival, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar - DE La creazione di un errore - Malutta Foundation,Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi, Venice - IT Boccanera versus minimal- Nebojša Despotovi- Filip Dvoř.k, Boccanera T Gallery, Milano - IT Isorropia Homegallery, Isorropia, Milano - IT Fondazione Malutta-Black market, Monitor Gallery, Rome - IT 2016 VIDEAMUS, Boccanera T Gallery, Milano - IT This is Today, Obalne Gallerije Pirano & Portorož - SL Arte Forte, Forte superiore di Nago, Nago-Torbole - IT 2015 Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, A+A Gallery, Venice - IT 2014 Chiamata a raccolta, Mart/Galleria Civica - Trento - IT 2013 Upokeimenon (sott'acque), Dolomiti Contemporanee, Nuovo Spazio di Casso, Casso - IT Big bang, Arte Boccanera gallery, Trento – IT 2012 Opera 2011| Lunar Park – Artists of Bevilacqua La Masa Ateliers, BLM Foundation Gallery of Piazza San Marco, Venice – IT MyDetour, Palazzeto Tito, Dorsoduro 2826, Venice – IT 2011 D'Est | La casa – Young Serbian Artists, Palazzo Forti Modern Art Gallery, Verona – IT Vulpes Pilum Mutare, Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa (VI) – IT Un-real time, Galleria Marcorossi artecontemporanea, Pietrasanta (LU) – IT 54 International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale / Academy of Fine Arts, Tese di San Cristoforo Arsenale, Venezia – IT S.O.S.2, curator: Viviana Siviero, Lab 610 XL De Faveri, Sovramonte (BL) – IT Artist Talks – Open Studios, BLM Foundation Gallery of Piazza San Marco, Venice – IT Essa(y), Young Artists from the Fine Arts Academy, Magazzino 3, Venice – IT 2010 94. Group Show of Young Artists, BLM Foundation Gallery of Piazza San Marco, Venice IN/Carne, Cominelli Foundation, San Felice del Benaco (BS) – IT Lost in painting, Villa Brandolini, Pieve di Soligo (TV) – IT Once I lived here, Museo Civico, Asolo (TV) – IT Liquida, Contemporary Art Festival, Preview, St. Catherine Museum, Treviso – IT Hotel A+A International, A+A Gallery, Venice – IT Ricognizione sulla nuova arte in Veneto, Bazzini Arte Contemporanea, Milan – IT Living / Leaving, St. Louis Oratory, Venice – IT The Berlin Wall, Promenade Gallery, Vlore – AL
2009 93. Group Show of Young Artists, BLM Foundation Gallery of Piazza San Marco, Venice – Autumn Show, Cvijeta Zuzoric Pavillion, Belgrade – SRB Immagine - La nuova visione della generazione anni '80, GiaMaArt Study, Vitulano (BN) – IT The CREAM Society, La Fornace dell'Innovazione, Asolo (TV) – IT Fairy Tales, Antonio Battaglia Gallery, Milan – IT Rooted, Galerie Claire Fontane, Luxembourg – LU Nuove figure 3: Idiosincrasie, Forte Marghera, Venice – IT 2008 Reazione Mutante, Bugno Art Gallery, Venice – IT Devozioni domestiche, Contemporaneo Gallery, Mestre (VE) – IT CREAM on madnes, OPEN 11, Isola di San Servolo (VE) – IT Schlaglichter, GEH8, Dresden – DE Nuova Luce, A+A Gallery, Venice – IT 2007 Accad., Totem Il Canale Gallery, Venice – IT 2006 In notte placida, Villa Manin, Passariano (UD) – IT Proposals to communicate the 93. Group Show of Young Artists, BLM Foundation Gallery of Piazza San Marco, Venice – IT OPEN 06, Venice – IT Open Studios, Villa Vecelli Cavriani, Verona – IT Education 2011 Degree in Visual Arts and Discipline of Spectacle, Fine Arts Academy of Venice – IT 2006 Degree in Painting, Fine Arts Academy of Venice – IT Art Prize 2016 Premio Rotari Club Asolo per l´Arte Contemporanea Art Verona 2016, Verona - IT 2014 Prima Pagina Art Prize, ArteFiera Art First Bologna – IT. Special Prize Winner 2013 Premio Collectors for Celeste, ArtVerona 2013 – IT. Winner 2012 Mango Young Artist Award, SWAB Fair Barcelona 2012 – ES. First Prize Premio Gruppo Euromobil Under 30, ArteFiera Art First Bologna 2012 – IT. First Prize 2010 Lissone Prize, Museum of Contemporary Art, Lissone (Monza e Brianza) - IT 2008 3rd International Prize Arte Laguna, Momigliano Veneto – IT. – Best foreign artist 2006 Premio Italian Factory per la Giovane Pittura Italiana, Casa del Pane, Milan - IT Scholarships 2016 Studio granted by Kulturwerk BBK Berlin, Berlin - DE 2011 Studio granted by Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venezia – IT Residencies 2011 Atelier of Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice – Italy Conferences 2017 Fondazione Malutta, "The construction of an error", Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi with Angela Vetesse 2016 Conference and Educational Seminar, Venice Academy of Fine Arts Forte Marghera - IT 2015 “Geometries of power”, workshop and seminar, Galleria A + A, Venice - IT 2014 “The still life of Nebojša Despotovi” by Angela Tecce, Eugenio Viola, Museum of Capodimonte, Naples - IT 2013 On Stage | Capsules: “The Naked Island. Identification redefinition processes in foreign territory”, Artverona, Verona - IT