The painter Mladen Đurović (Danilovgrad, 1960) titled his latest exhibition in the Belgrade Gallery “Lucida” “Between Me and You”. The title of general meaning gained full meaning when placed in the perspective of his work so far. “Between Me and You” is the end of the trilogy “Between Water and Fire” (exhibition and monograph in the “Progress” Gallery in 2012) and “Between Heaven and Earth” (exhibition in the “107” Gallery in 2013).
The artist creates cyclically and in a planned way, deliberately placing his opus in larger ideological units, which indicates the awareness of his own work. The general plan of that creation is the human, more precisely, female figure, figure, and body of a naked woman. His artistic religion is figurative, which in a time of saturation and crisis means deeply humane. Instead of inhuman, superhuman, or robotic aesthetics and genetic workshops of contemporary art, Đurović returns to the original, and that is not so much a man as the idea of beauty, leprous, attacked, and turned into (post) modern.
Art historian Mira Vujović once defined this complex of values as “Humaniora”, a humanistic creation rejected with the idea of ”death of the painting”, which is advocated by the smartest connoisseurs in the West. The painter invites us to go to the primordial, where the sensuality, the sensuality, the surface of the skin are, where the body is with its warmth, secrets, and depths. He is increasingly lonely in Serbian and Montenegrin art in the discovery of women as maps, seductive territories, faces as the driest and monumental expression of personality. His heroines have what is missing today and used to be an axiom of art, they are charming, seductive, and mysterious. By painting his naked body, chest, back, and even a figure as a mountain and landscape, the artist also calls for sensual, tactile values. It is the most beautiful type of portrait painting, an imaginary portrait, which summarizes and unites human experiences.
Djurovic’s expression, however, is not backward, in his opus echoes the cry of Mis van der Rohe turned into the program “Less is more”. As in jazz or minimalism, one well-found tone, move, and movement of the figure become more important than the whole composition. That is why, as the painter himself says, a free movement with a brush or a spatula opens the door to artistic freedom. It expresses a high culture of the surface of the image as the surface of the skin; the rich, informelist texture presents the realm of form and color, and thus of feelings.
The eye can wander through the seemingly monochrome desert of several light shades, to soon discover the richness of detail, warmth and brilliance of the scene. This includes embossing paint, long-term work on the painting, and entering line interventions. The work becomes a colored mass that requires high articulation. Painting is no longer a classic studio construction, nor a study, much less (post) modernist destruction, a denial that leads to nothingness, but an expression of experience, which means life. It is also the unity of drawing and color, as opposed to the terror of one-color abstractions, the so-called painting. “Hard edges”.
This creator delves into many themes of femininity, so Sappho is also a subject of engagement, as a symbol of poetry and safism, which Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec said that he surpasses everything he painted in the depth of his feelings. Femme fatale, Nefertiti, the sorceress, Eva, Lolita, the nymph, Kirka and Lilith – the faces are one and the same, beautiful and adored. Contemporary artists have pushed the eternal secret of art, which haunts the spirit of Venus of Willendorf, to the margins, beauty has been pushed into fashion and among commercials. Mladen Đurović rediscovers it now and here, enthusiastically adopts and celebrates it, directing it in the direction of our heart.
Translated by Mira Vujović