Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Photo by: Aleksandar Damjanović and Veselin Milunović
The retrospective exhibition of graphic designer and illustrator Vladan Srdić opened on Thursday evening at the Belgrade Museum of Applied Arts. The artist has temporarily returned to his hometown, Belgrade, to show the best of his design in the past 20 years. Vladan really had something to show, and Belgrade had something to see. Perhaps that’s why the exhibition is entitled “You are what you see”.
The exhibition will delight every fan of exquisite design – design created through meticulous contemplation of every detail and the message they should convey to the one who sees it. The overall impression of the exhibition exudes Vladan’s top professionalism. Good mastery of space, good organization, logically arranged works created in different periods, top-printed materials. Cherry on top is the catalog, a book of exceptional design and production quality. Everything was ready for a big event on Thursday night. Only visitors were missing. Belgrade’s creative scene has made a blunder this time. Especially the creatives from Belgrade’s agencies, who, I’m sure, don’t have an opportunity to see such an exhibition from their own industry so often. Although well-publicized through the media, the spoiled designers, illustrators and other members of the profession didn’t deem it necessary to come and see the best pieces created during two decades by one of Belgrade’s biggest designers on temporary work in Slovenia. I met Jugoslav Vlahović, Lazar Džamić, who opened the exhibition, Vlado Čeh, prof. Musić, Janja Božić Marovt from Mediana, and Slobodan Coba Jovanović. That was it. The only one whose absence I can justify is Slavimir Stojanović who was in Florence. Everybody else got fat minuses with me, and they will hardly convince me soon that they are serious about graphic design.
I asked several of them to send their impressions of the exhibition. Lazar, Čeh and Janja replied. I also took texts by Davor Bruketa and Slavimir Stojanović from the catalog of the exhibition, in an effort to give you a closer impression of the size of the artist and the event that the Belgrade scene has failed to recognize. And he deserves to be recognized.
Lazar Džamić: Persistent pointing of the impeccably manicured finger at the almost empty packaging of our civilization
Vladan’s need for stability, personal and civilizational, leaves nothing to chance: he grabs every perceptual opportunity to capture the eye and mind of the observer in order to deliver his point. His works possess this precious duality of intellectual and visual, of play and painstaking professional process, of creativity and craftsmanship. Like him, his works are powerful, surprising paradoxes that reconcile the soul and the craft, and in that way they stick their tongue out at the inventive shallowness of the philistine, and the sloppy craftsmanship of the authoritarian aesthetics.
Vladan deservedly celebrates his jubilee 20 years – in his own words – “controlled by randomness” and persistently pointing a perfectly manicured finger at the almost empty packaging of our civilization.
Vladimir Čeh: Those whom I didn’t see at the exhibition “You are what you see”
The other day, during the opening of the exhibition You Are What You See by Vladan Srdić, you couldn’t get near the Museum of Applied Arts (MPU) in Belgrade. Not because there were so many people, but because of the fact that some film crew parked two large trucks in front of the museum, and taped the parked cars with that tape which probably say’s “do not pass” … Unfortunately, they weren’t there to record the exhibition opening, but some scene in the nearby Knez Mihailova street.
It was a nice experience: I saw my old friends from Sarajevo, I met a dear person from Ljubljana, I met a man from Macedonia and a woman from Slovenia. As for the locals, a dear crew from the MPU was there, and just a few other people – whom I could count on the fingers of one hand – from the “communications” profession, whom I know well and whom I was glad to see there.
This exhibition is an event worthy of the profession that I dealt with for so many years. But it seems that those who I thought I would see there, but didn’t, disagree with me. It’s not that I haven’t seen them because I can’t see well, but because part of them can’t see – they can’t see that it’s necessary to respect the authors and promote the profession, that it is important that MPU follows what we do and that Vladan Srdić deserves their attention by what he has done so far .
It seems that the old saying “to succeed in Belgrade, you first have to succeed abroad”, is not true.
Or Slovenia is not abroad?
It would make me glad if the second one were true.
So much about the opening. About the exhibition, on some other occasion – because the exhibition is yet another argument that reinforces my belief that the profession I dealt with is the “art of persuasion” when it is dealt with by artists.
Davor Bruketa: Vladan today, as twenty years ago, is deeply aware of the cultural, social and technological context in which his works are created
Just like pop-stars, designers are ‘easily perishable goods’ – they age badly and often in middle age they begin to deal with something else. Vladan is a rare exception.
Today, like twenty years ago, he is deeply aware of the cultural, social and technological context in which his works are created – consistently devoted to contemporary time, progress and creative excellence.
Such dedication, combined with the layers of experience, gives the results that are immune to shallow interpretations of “fashion” trends and corrosion of time.
Slavimir Stojanović: The young can learn from Vladan how a young lad from Belgrade, alone with his talent and persistence, can climb to the very top
In the 1990s, in Belgrade, the creative oasis, which everyone eager for escape from the harsh reality gravitated to, was Hilendarska 14. Hundreds of young and talented people knocked on the door at that address, where the regional headquarters of the Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency was located. It was as if a killer combination of fairy tales and hunting stories that circulated the region about life and work in that agency had enchanted an entire generation, which saw a symbol of life’s success in entering the then glamorous and new world of advertising.
Hilendarska 14 was the generator of unrealistically fantastic tales of festival successes of the agency abroad, the biggest and best parties, of the creative legends gathered in one place in an attempt to create an alternative reality in which the rules of talent, knowledge, everyday hard work and effort apply. Everyone who wanted to enter, become and remain part of that legend, had to pass through a rigorous series of tests, from talent to social intelligence, without which, in such a challenging environment, there was no long-term survival. One of those rare, talented and persistent who successfully answered the challenges of Hilendarska 14 was Vladan Srdić.
With fanatic dedication and uncompromising persistence, he took his place in the legend of creative Belgrade in the 1990s. In this process, which breaks many, Vladan has mastered an important life lesson, and in the same manner, with unwavering zest and persistence, he continued to break through the dense forest of creative living in the continuation of his career in Slovenia.
Thanks to his great commitment to position himself, his work and his profession on the map of social everyday life, Vladan earned a special place on the regional and world graphic design scene, thus becoming a role model for young generations who can learn from him how a young lad from Belgrade, alone with his talent and persistence, can climb to the very top.
Janja Božič Marolt: I’m very glad that I was at the opening of the exhibition and that I have met this great artist
I did not come to Belgrade to attend the opening of the retrospective exhibition of Vladan Srdić, but I am very glad that the times coincided, that I was at the opening of the exhibition and that I met this great artist. Of course, I already knew some things about Vladan before, from the Slovenian media, but the exhibition showed all the splendor of his design and artistic talent. Like any other of his projects, the exhibition was very professionally done, and with a lot of charm. I would love to see it soon in Ljubljana.