It is a fact that Srđan Vukčević has never been a present art’s ‘fashion victim’. He has had too much imagination and style to become a follower but quite enough to enable his style to be the art different-than-collective’s and his brilliant drawings and melancholic spaces to enchant with their non-conformism and creative uniqueness. Even in the early 80’s since when he has been present on the artistic scene, Vukčević has offered eccentric model of Bechelard’s Poetics of Space, Mallarme’s poetry and (although yet unwritten at the time) Philosophy of Little Things by Francesca Rigotii. Nothing conventional and stereotypic could be said for his work. It was obvious that its choice, intention and aim clearly distanced it from the radical artistic expressions of the late 70’s and hectic ‘new-wave scene’ of the 80’s, but also from the artistic heritage of the Montenegrin and Yugoslav 20th century art, mythic and for the artists often heavily Lubardian heritage of the modern painting, great narrative and wide, dramatic gesture.
During the last years, especially since he lives and works in Paris, Vukčević, since being attached to the decentralized poetic-imaginary concept of intricate intimate iconography, uses his artistic and colouristic skills in the best possible creative context to reach the other maestro of the Yugoslav artistic scene, Bechelard’s poetics and perfect composition – Marko Čelebonović.
But unlike Čelebonović’s work, the conceptual basis of Vukčević’s opus is, in quoting-iconic sense, incomparably more complex and indecipherable for on observer’s ‘pure eye’. In this sense, Vukčević is postmodernist because his repertoire consists of virtually intricate stories and fragments of visual sentences whose nucleus contains the basis of his intertextual method which calls upon the 18th century aesthetic and delicate choice of motives. It explains its baroque-rocaille atmosphere, heraldry and fantasy. In its time, Rococo was supposed to be the time of reasonability, but, as Levey states, yarning to teach and learn has been replaced by the yarning for indulging the pleasures of the imagination. So what can be written in an artist’s book of things if the rose is just a gentle word and if we know that fantasy of the sanctuary often is born out of denying the rudeness and depression of the real world?
(The only) what remains is one simple sentence of Vukčević‘s erudite art: Rose, Versailles, Felix Yusupov, Cage, Cupid, Baroque cage and ermine, Marie Antinette’s jewels, Mask, Exiles, refuges and sanctuaries, Bird of Paradise’s suitcase, Pearl necklace which always threads but never unthreads, Paris, mysterious garden in Herceg Novi, a Mediterranean boy’s extravaganza. Within that art, the observer is able to recognize and identify his own knowledge, semi-knowledge and ignorance in front of that presentation of the semantic wittiness and real yarning for travelling anywhere out of this world.
By their gentlessness, Vukčević’s paintings, drawings, objects-installations, such as these from the cycles Zrinjevac promenade, Ermin Scarf and Felix Yusupov in the garden of the Versailles roses, search for our soul’s better part, our defrosted heart, better side of our intellect, our sense of poetics’ visual side, of good and bad. Because the art does need to be ugly to be clever.
Whoever still does not understand this gentle aesthetic also is not able to oppose the brutality of the outer, real world, has not his own shell, nest, private tender secret world. Srđan believes that Small is beautiful. Small is beautiful because it is loved. Magnificence of the luxurious visual stories is based on a ‘small’ motif, short form, concise sentence. Although maybe forgotten, this process of building picturesque and intertextual artistic system is not less legitimate.
At the end, ‘when events stop to be simple and linear and become complex and unreachable, as in the case of this bizarre, changeable and various time of ours and when they slam on the floor and scatter everywhere as the broken necklace, how can we catch them all?’