Permanent Exhibition of the 20th century
Modernism of the 20th Century ‒ Continuities and Confrontation
In the period after the Second World War, the Gallery of Matica srpska focused significant attention to the collection and exhibition of the art of the 20th century. For the first time, in 1953, the Gallery organized a permanent exhibition that included paintings and sculptures of the first half of the 20th century. In 1992, upon the finished renovation of the building, a new space on the second floor of the Gallery was devoted to the permanent setting of the work of the first part of the 20th century. That marked the beginning of a great return of the art of the 20th century to the Gallery and a series of modern art exhibitions. In the meantime, the art fund of the 20th century has been considerably strengthened with purchases, gifts and legates, and in the most recent past, with the “Tarkett” company art collection.
By following the art of the 20th century from the collections of the Gallery of Matica srpska and its punctums, one can distinguish almost all modernist and, in line with that, critical statements, ideas and starting points. The art of modernism evolves through this path as a multi-layered application of ideas, ideologies, aesthetics, personal philosophies, styles, clashes, continuity, adventures, internal migration, conflicts and dreams.
Should we see it that way, as a spiral or a maze of paths that must be re-examined over and over, through trial and error, we must adhere to the basic tendency of the 20th century modernism and understand it as a constant and always vital interactive and an inter-textual dialogue practice of the past and the present, the “old” and the “new”, as an open system of analysis, interpretation, deliberation and understanding. Therefore, today’s artistic material, both from the first and from the second half of the past century, makes a coherent, although still insufficiently rounded, but nevertheless sufficiently clear unit, capable of mapping the most important points of development of modern and contemporary art over the past century through the exhibition.
The Author of the Permanent Collection of the Serbian Art of the 20th century is Lidija Merenik, PhD, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, at the Department of Art History.
The realization of the Permanent Collection of the Serbian Art of the 20th century was made possible by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.