When a tree was god What sank most deeply into the darkness of our spiritual amnesia is our primordial, old-Slavic paganism. When we examine our roots- and we do it rarely, half heartedly and confusedly- we regularly stop at the Christian Middle Ages when we first emerged as a people on the world historic scene. Everything that had happened before this remains in the darkness of our self forgetfulness: our old, Carpathian homeland, our pre Christian religion and original culture of living. Christianity, which we converted into- we should note here that we did it amongst the last ones in Europe - has almost completely erased our memory of the ancient times of our ancestors, “when a tree was (our) god”. Only some of the gods from our pagan Olympus are remembered- and others remember them better than us- but nobody knows what their faces are like any more. We are the only nation in Europe which has not saved any engraved or painted faces of our pre Christian gods. Mirko Antonije Malesic, our young sculptor, wants to awake us from our dark amnesia. What is most surprising in the work of this young artist, who is making his first creative steps, is the early maturity of his promotive idea. Without losing any time in youthful wanderings and confusion, this representative of the youngest generation of our sculptors has built his artistic poetics and found a suitable style for it. Malesic started approaching the task he set for himself with confidence which is typical of more mature and experienced artists. Entering the space of our ethnic pre-history and ancient culture, he knew that he would not achieve the desirable goal if he went into the opposite direction and got into the trap of forgetting the culture of his own times. There are two elements which get entwined and merged within his artistic style: archaic, in which shapes of ancient, pre-civilised conceptions of space, time, substance and shape come to life; and modern element which is built on the basis of contemporary conceptions of the world of art. Malesevic’s archaism is symbolically reflected through his choice of materials- wood and soil (terracotta). Similarly, the associative shapes of his sculptures, in which are discerned the contours of the disappeared, old-Slavic world, dwellings, roofs, weapons, tools and idols carry the same meaning. These associations are shown through the style of modern sculpture and the contemporary understanding of how to structure its shapes. If we put aside the mentioned associations, what is left is geometric construction. When he thinks of form, Malesic is ascetically firm, seemingly cold. When he surrenders to associations, he becomes warm, nostalgic, sentimental and poetical. What he remains consistent in is his choice of materials. For Malesic, wood, soil and stone are natural elements whose substance allows him to achieve what he aspires to- to free the spiritual energy hidden in a sculpted shape, to bring to life the spirit of the pagan feeling of sacredness and beauty. It should also be mentioned that in Malesic’s retrospection of the old Slavic paganism there is not even a trace of anachronistic tendency of “returning”. This young artist is not one of those who tell us fairy tales about some long gone and better world to which we should return. On contrary! In his reminiscing, Malesic remains present in his own times, facing the future, in fact the eternity. What is he concerned with is not some utopia which would place fanaticism and fiction above reality. After all, Malesic himself has verbally shaped his artistic “belief”. He aspires to bring the forgotten poetics of our paganism closer to our present understanding of the world, thus showing that we can better comprehend our present through the pictures of memories of our own ancient past. Djordje Kadijevic
Biography: Mirko Antonije Malesic Born on 20th August 1976 in Prijepolje Completed his A-levels in Prijepolje in 1995, and High School for Painting and Applied Art in Belgrade in 1997. Completed a degree at the University for Applied Arts in Belgrade, department for sculpture, tutored by prof. Zorica Jankovic. At the moment doing the fourth year of History of Art degree, Philosophy College in Belgrade, and second year of m.sc. at the University for Applied Arts in Belgrade, department for sculpture Exhibitions 1999 – Belgrade, Braca Stamenkovic People’s Univesity, Portrait through time 2000 – Belgrade, Kalemegdan, Rainbow in a park 2001 – Belgrade, Singidunum Gallery, VII Belgrade mini art scene 2002 – Belgrade, Singidunum Gallery, VIII Belgrade mini art scene 2003 – Prijepolje, Dom Kulture, Milesevska kolonija 2004 – Beograd, Centralni Dom Vojske SCG, Vojnici likovni stvaraoci 2006 – Cacak, Kulturna bastina Evrope, Drvo 2006 – Uzice, City Gallery Keramika Zlakusa 2006 – Uzice, City Gallery Artist of the region
Site: Mirko Antonije Malesic
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