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Reception of the Serbian Surrealism

In the exhibition held in 1969 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, entitled Nadrealizam―Socijalna umetnost 1929-1950 (Surrealism―Social Art 1929-1950), the work of the Belgrade Surrealists was reconstructed, studied and exhibited as a whole for the first time.

Naslovna srtana kataloga izložbe u MSUB
 Naslovna strana kataloga izložbe 1929 – 1950: Nadrealizam. Postnadrealizam. Socijalna umetnost. Umetnost NOR-a. Socijalistički realizam, Edicija Jugoslovenska umetnost XX veka, Muzej savremene umetnosti, Beograd, april-jun 1969.

One of the most remarkable phenomena in the European art from the first half of the 20th century, is appearance of surrealist activity, which is manifested in Serbia between 1929 and 1933.

Within the framework of the European art of the first half of the 20th c. one of the most outstanding occurrences was the activity of the Surrealists, which in Serbia manifested itself as such from 1929 to 1933. The Belgrade Surrealists, a group composed by young writers and a painter, published the almanac Nemoguće-L’impossible (The Impossible) and the magazine Nadrealizam danas i ovde (Surrealism Here & Now), putting out politically charged essays, automatic texts, conducting artistic experiments in which they examined the possibilities of acting beyond the control of consciousness, practicing the creative automatism, producing collective works, inquiries, collages, assemblages, drawings, and photograms.    

The ties between two movements, the Serbian and the French, were established even before the publication of Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924, since the members of the Belgrade group initially acquainted themselves with the ideas of Surrealism through French magazines and later on also through personal contacts, correspondence, sojourns in Paris, exchange of publication, which lead to the general views of two groups coinciding to a considerable extent.   

In the exhibition held in 1969 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, entitled Nadrealizam―Socijalna umetnost 1929-1950 (SurrealismSocial Art 1929-1950), the work of the Belgrade Surrealists was reconstructed, studied and exhibited as a whole for the first time. The activities of the Belgrade Surrealists were contextualised in the major exhibition of the global Surrealism, Der Surrealismus 1922-1942, organised by Patrick Waldberg, a historian of Surrealism, held in 1972 in Munich and Paris. Within this project almost all the members of the Belgrade Surrealist circle were represented with the total of 43 works. In that way these creations were properly verified on the European level as well, and were dully integrated into the broader context of this phenomenon. At home, the last presentation of the Serbian Surrealism was the exhibition Nemoguće, umetnost nadrealizma (The Impossible: the Art of Surrealism), curated by Milanka Todić (PhD), and realised in 2002 at the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade.