A conscious abandonment of reality: Sava Sekulić i Ilija Bosilj

As part of the cooperation between the Museum of Naive and Marginal Art in Jagodina and the Gallery of Matica Srpska, two exhibitions will be open: A conscious abandonment of reality: Sava Sekulić i Ilija Bosilj in the Gallery of Matica Srpska in Novi Sad and Pomorišac – Vasa Pomorišac in the Museum of Naive and Marginal Art in Jagodina.

At the invitation of the Casa dell’Art Brut museum from Mairano di Castaggio in Italy, in June of last year the Museum of Marginal and Naive Art from Jagodina presented to the Italian public the exhibition A conscious abandonment of reality: Sava Sekulić i Ilija Bosilj, which attracted a large attention of the audience. The concept of the exhibition is the result of two previous exhibitions that MNMU presented in the space of the Cultural Center of Serbia in Paris: The Power of Vision (2021) and The World According to Ilija (2022).

The exhibition A conscious abandonment of reality: Sava Sekulić i Ilija Bosilj presents 67 works of these two artists from different museum collections, and is accompanied by two documentary films: the film about Ilija Bosilj is the work of director Žika Mitrović and was produced by Centarfilm, while the film about Sava Sekulić is directed by Slobodan Pešić also offers segments of conversations with the artist himself. The exhibition is complemented by documentation, including a letter from Jean Dibiffe about Ilija’s art, written when Dibiffe included it in his collection (which today forms the Collection dell’Art Brut in Lausanne). Considering the importance of the artistic works that are exhibited, because they are two of the most internationally recognized authors from the domain of raw art, but also about works that from the very beginning move in the border area of ​​contemporary and art brut, the exhibition also has a certain theoretical artistic aspect that contributes to its importance.

Ilija Bašičević Bosilj (1895–1972) is one of the most internationally recognized authors of unconventional art. During his lifetime, his works visited the galleries and museums of almost all major cities in Western Europe, then America, China and Japan, everywhere creating a unanimous impression that this is authentic art, which cannot be found anywhere else.

Two prominent academics, members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Dejan Medaković and Vojislav Đurić, actively defended their position on the high value of Ilija Bosilj’s work during their lifetime. Professor Medaković considered Ilija one of the ten most important Serbian painters, and Vojislav Đurić expertly processed his art.

In addition to the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris, MoCAB in Belgrade, Museum of Everything in London, MSUV in Novi Sad, Ilija’s works are in prestigious private collections such as those of Max Bill and Carlo Ponti. After a solo exhibition in New York at the Galerie Saint-Etienne in 2006, Ilia’s exhibitions are lined up, including the one where he is shown together with Paul Klee, Kandinsky and Picasso.

Another artist whom the audience will be able to meet, Sava Sekulić (1902–1989), also received international recognition quite early, and Mića Popović and Leonid Šejka spoke extremely positively about his art during his lifetime. Sava’s position in society as well as his specific style make him a pure example of art brut art. Since recently, Sava Sekulić has been represented by the prestigious Michael Haas Gallery from Berlin, and in 2021 it dedicated to him a solo exhibition entitled Von Sava zu Sava: Sava Sekulić.

The themes of both exhibited works are global, related to general issues of human existence, life and death, family and religion, and therefore their images are understandable all over the world. Both authors, Sava and Ilija, create new worlds in their works, and through visual art they express thoughts of a philosophical nature, almost completely erasing their inner, soulful life as a source of inspiration. Their paintings illustrate the freedom of expression evident in the iconography of these paintings, the authentic visual expression as well as the philosophical dimension of the questions and answers these paintings address.

The exhibition is accompanied by a trilingual catalog (Serbian, Italian and English) with texts by the author of the exhibition Dr. Ivana Bašičević Antić, Barbara Safarova, Jerko Denegri, Jean Dibiffe and Ivana Jovanović. The curator of the exhibition is Mirjana Brmbota, MSc, museum advisor of the Gallery of Matica Srpska.

The realization of the exhibition A conscious abandonment of reality: Sava Sekulić i Ilija Bosilj was made possible by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia. The sponsor of the exhibition is DDOR insurance Novi Sad.


Starts: 15. June 2024.
Ends: 01. September 2024.


10:00 - 18:00


  • Suitable for: for all