A Word from the Director
Tijana Palkovljević Bugarski, PhD
The Gallery of Matica Srpska is a museum which has constantly been dreaming. The dreaming began in (Buda) Pest in 1847 with the resolve at Matica Srpska society to establish a Museum – The Serbian National Collection. The dreaming continued as Matica Srpska relocated to Novi Sad in 1864, as the Collection was opened for public viewing in 1933. All the while, the dreaming continued… Even though it seemed that all the dreams had come true when the Permanent Exhibition was formed and all the segments of activity professionalized – a new round of dreaming was set into motion: how to enlarge the collection, how to achieve higher quality of temporary exhibitions, how to upgrade the presentation of the evaluation and trends of national visual arts professionally and dynamically.
Today, 173 years later, we – the team at the Gallery – continue dreaming the dreams of our predecessors as well as many of our own. Our greatest strength lies in our unique art collection spanning the period between the 16th and the 21st century. Innovation approach to presenting a the national visual art to the public through our Permanent, temporary exhibitions and publishing, creating of narratives is our greatest achievement. Our contribution to the culture of remembrance is manifested in our professional approach to the care for the protection of artworks, meticulous conservation, and restoration procedures. Our respect for the past, filtered through the prism of the present, is expressed through the series Tradition and Contemporary Art and inclusion of contemporary artists in the activities of our institution. Our awareness of the importance of education is expressed in numerous educational programs for children and the young. Our need to be part of a wider European context is fulfilled by manifold cooperation with museums and experts in Europe and elsewhere and contact with foreign cultural centers in Serbia.
The Gallery of Matica Srpska, as the oldest national art museum, is, as it were, a mirror of the state, a sort of stain glass window depicting historic events, showcasing artistic preferences and aspirations of Serbian artists. The collection illustrates the history of Serbian people, safeguards the memory of events in the region they have inhabited, points out the distinctive qualities of artistic ideas and ideals they have engendered. Likewise, the Gallery protects the memory of its funding members, directors, art collectors, researchers, artists, and particularly that of its benefactors who have inscribed their names in the history-book of the Gallery and Serbian culture in general. We are the hive buzzing with activities, narratives, ideas, authors, wondrous artworks… under whose roof Serbian visual arts of the more recent times are being presented. What empowers us with every new project is our collective dedication to the cultural and artistic mission in the community we belong to, and a host of new plans keeps us pushing forward.
We are also a museum that listens – because only by combining our professional dreams with the understanding of what the needs of the society, the moment, the public are we can become relevant in the times we are part of. We strive to be the place where, through art medium, one can get answers to sundry questions, and where the sense of belonging to the nation is enhanced by the feelings of respect and pride.
At this moment, we are dreaming of a unique opportunity to give as creative a contribution as possible to the Novi Sad European Capital of Culture 2022 project, as a place where European and national art intertwine, as a place of innovative approaches and attractive topics, top production, and creative participation. At the same time, we dream of marking the 175th anniversary of the Gallery of Matica Srpska foundation, in a way worthy of our predecessors, our history and the quality of the collection, of the celebration of the jubilee which will leave a mark for generations to come and be a model and pride of the nation.
By respecting tradition, we create tradition.