Initiated by a number of artists of the youngest generation, Art Space U10 represents a significant contribution to the diminished and destabilized art scene in Belgrade, at the beginning of the 21st century. The trend of self-organized artists appears in a condition of a year after year absence of system apparatuses for nurturing, developing and sustaining artistic production in Serbia. The term apparatus implies the diversity of spaces for exhibiting, museum activity, production funds, art critique and publishing, curatorial projects, artist mobility, support of participation at international events and manifestations, knowledge and experience exchange, and the continual development and advancement of educational programs at existing art academies. Without the mentioned mechanisms, the scene grows into an empty and lethargic environment, in which the only signs of life come from independent initiatives, self-organized groups and individuals.
A number of artistic groups exist in Serbia that rather than having a specific formal or theoretical background in common, such as Dez org or Treći Beograd, harbour the need to create an alternative system to act in. As a new initiative of self-organized artists, U10 is likewise identified as such – without necessarily the need to develop a particular artistic,poetic, theoretical framework or a certain formal discourse, but to in fact institute a new system of industry, exhibiting, presenting and connecting artists. This system is currently underway in the form of an artistic program taking place in a new gallery space in the centre of Belgrade, but in the words of Nemanja Nikolić, its initiator, it (the art space) is not defined as a classical gallery, which depends on the location, but is mobile in its core and represents the simple need of a group of artists to get access to an exhibiting space.
This attitude is further noted through the activities of the gallery lead by the artists themselves. Throughout 2012 and 2013, the gallery had carried out a series of solo and group exhibitions, and further established a cooperation with a few similar initiatives and projects (such as Kustosiranje). The largest part of artists shown until now has just graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade or the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and is for most of them, their first solo exhibition.
The professional approach to presenting the works is evident and immediately noticeable. This establishes U10 as a notable place where the interested public can view the production of the youngest of artists at the beginning of their careers, in full format. The production mainly consists of painting, drawing, photography, installation and sculpture, which in a certain sense can be counted upon, as these are the first experiences of the artists after completing studies. The themes of artistic research are diverse, but could be elaborated and further identified with the phrase found in the catalogue of exhibition “SpaCe Opera”, with which the work of Milica Kolarić is described as “a constant search for the intimate space of freedom”. The very personal and intimate quest that can be identified in most artists, independent of dominant lines of contemporary artistic production, who develop their own topics through their own language, as unpretentious spaces of freedom relieved of all beforehand postulated theoretical, conceptual, institutional and art market demands. Regardless of the final product displayed, such a “space of freedom” is in fact the core that makes up the quality of U10’s initiative.
Only the activities of art spaces that attentively exhibit the works of the youngest artists can contribute to an atmosphere where ever more quality production can develop. And when these spaces are set up based upon advanced organisational models, the most progressive trait of the U10 initiative, we can then only impatiently await the full expansion of a new generation of artists.