Biljana TomićU10



In the interview found in the catalogue following the first exhibition titled 10+1 (with the works of Lidija Delić, Nikola Grozdanović, Nina Ivanović, Isidora Krstić, Sava Knežević, Iva Kuzmanović, Ivan Marković, Branko Milanović, Nemanja Nikolić, Petar Sibinović and Marija Šević) with which new art space U10 was opened at the beginning of May 2012, Nemanja Nikolić, the initiator of this venue brilliantly formulated its underlying concept and context of functioning. “In the beginning, we will present the artists that will be, with their engagement, building up the identity of art space U10, at least in the near future. The goal is to draw the local, regional and international attention to the important and representative young artistic production in Serbia. I am not sure about the amount of power art has in changing things on a more general level. If with this project we succeed at raising the level of cultural assortment in the city regarding young artists, that would be great. Even if things don’t change, I think it’s immensely important that we’ve decided to tackle this problem and do something different and interesting at the same time”.

A year later – U10 has become an obligatory point of gathering for young artists, a wider scene of artists and the general public. It is certainly interesting from a strategic point of view that this venue does not have the characteristics of official, independent or private galleries. What is at stake is an autonomous and engaged group of artists that actively produces their own work, works on productions of similarly oriented groups or individuals from Belgrade as well as the wider region or from abroad. In this way, attempts are being made and clear goals being set to systematically establish a permanent dialogue and point of exchange, as a model of their multi-activity from professional artistic development to curatorial, management-in-the-arts and promotional practice. Through the means of self-organising, they don’t strive for any particular status, but accept their roles as a process of getting to know different types of functions through the profiles of author-based positions.

From an observer’s point of view, U10 seems compact, with an air of openness and acknowledgement of today’s necessities – to informally and professionally offer a chance of more widely recognising different categories of ideas and the narrative of contemporary artistic production. They most often publish statements about their artistic practice themselves or in collaboration with friends from the art critic practice. The levels of importance of their interest, approach and areas of working and artistic production range in the sphere of a personal elaboration of the very process of the origin of motives, the articulation and perception of paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, installations, videos, sculptures…

They all represent a very talented and receptive group of artists with a similar understanding and imagination, dealing with themes concerning “real” and intimate life, urban jargon and the iconicity of the surrounding.

Following the members of this group along with individual authors, to whom I am more or less acquainted to a number of years, I consider this form of engagement in the scope of U10 Art Space extremely significant in their professional outreach. I see this position as a key step to coming out of student-based practice to the status of a young artist. The exhibitions they made and hosted throughout this one-year period have shown that precious young maturity which symbolically marks the pathway to artistic advancement.