Nature & Art colony and workshop, Osecina 2011

“To paint nature does not mean to copy its forms, but rather to paint like the nature itself.”

Nature & Art Project is an initiative for a change in our attitude towards nature through artistic interventions. Artist of different age and approach have met this year in order to push the boundaries of our perception and promote a more responsible attitude towards ourselves and nature.

The idea of this project is to move artists out of the urban frame of art creation and such a view of art, because when they leave the studio a whole new world opens in front of them. There are different rules and laws that always work in nature, and learning from them is the very idea of Nature & Art Project. This is a second year that the Nature & Art Workshop has been held and it was attended by twelve artists. The municipality Osecina was chosen as its venue since it is a place famous for its traditional plum festival and untouched nature.

The venue of first such workshop was on the banks of river Gradac, one of the top ten cleanest rivers in Europe. The workshop was attended by thirty artists, and a dozen of them took active part in the art colony. Their works were exhibited at the National Museum of Valjevo, at the Legacy House in Belgrade, at the Mixer Festival and in the gallery of the Foundation Son:DA in Maribor. Artists have had a week to perform their work. Withthe help of the organizer, visual artist Djordje Stanojevic, they were provided with necessary materials and working conditions.

Bozidar Mandic

(Conceptual artist, writer and founder of the Clear Streams Family)

“Both sides” and “Apotheosis to the Unevenness”

“My art aspires to merging – to the cult sentence of the twenty-first century”

Bozidar Mandic considers his participation to the Nature & Art Project a question of his family commitment. “I create with people who feel for nature and help it survive. One of the important ways of artistic and intellectual engagement today must be attention to nature. But not in the romanticised sense, rather civilizational. My life and the Clear Streams Family’s life, which has lasted for the last 35 years as an art and ecology commune, belong to the co-existence with stones, woods, streams… and this is the basis of my aesthetic expression”, Bozidar explains.

At the workshop, this artist did two exhibits from beech wood. The first exhibit was called “Both sides”. A simple concept of merging beech bark with a smooth beech trunk stressed the opposite direction of colour and texture of wood.

The other exhibit, “Apotheosis to the Unevenness”, consists of four beech planks nailed together. Everything is so uneven and irregular, very simple and natural… “My art, especially paintings, regards chisel and hammer not as a need for formatting output, but as a need for merging – the cult sentence of the twenty-first century. ‘Apotheosis to the Unevenness’ is an attempt to bring back the human to our soul, an attempt to write its intentions with formless actions, to decode and become a part of nature”, says this artist.

Djordje Stanojevic

(Visual artist and colony organiser)

“The House”

“Nature teaches me the process of creation. This process is quiet, tough, unpredictable, beautiful… Nature teaches me to be free – not on the outside, but in an existential, internal way.”

A work by Djordje Stanojevic called “The House” is made out of mud, sticks and lime. This is what the artist said about his work: “Some things intrigue me, such as the form of old hives and energy of the materials they are made of. Mud, branches and lime are an amazing combination of substances that should be recognised and converted into a work of art. I collect things that intrigue me and I know that one day, when the right conditions and necessary spiritual density are achieved, they will become works of art, even with very little intervention. And maybe even without it.”

Djordje Stanojevic, an artist and also the organiser of this workshop, explained that the experience of organising this kind of project is immense. “I believe that a man can learn a great deal about his own work by putting works of other artists into existence. This moment displaces you from the inertia inherent in all things in this world and provides you with a different viewpoint from which you can best observe your own work. Helping and directly participating in the realisation of works in this colony was a great and rare opportunity to make this viewpoint possible.”

Katarina Popovic

(Multimedia artist)

“The Fairies”

“Wonders reside in nature. Yes, they still do.”

Katarina Popovic chose to focus herself on photography. Inspired by Slavic mythology, she came to Osecina to find the fairies. Fairies, a concept that she had been developing in her head for a long time, are in fact new women – strong, feminine and angry. “They have no more patience for people, because in most cases they treat nature in the same way as they treat themselves – as arrogant and shallow.What usually matters to people is things they see, and not what they mean. Profanity instead of subtlety, shock instead of meaning, stimulus rather than thinking. The poles compete against each other instead of getting accustomed to coexistence. This new femininity can also offer some answers for solving this situation, excruciating for both sexes. Nature is a mother – a woman. Let’s seek advice from her”, says this artist.

Kosta Bogdanovic

(Sculptor and professor of visual culture theory)

“Remembering the cello”

“Dzenerika plum, beautiful, sublime, natural!”

This artist believes that his relationship with Nature & Art concept is natural because he deals with natural materials in his artistic practice. When first meeting with the material, he tries to create a dialog with its properties. As an educated biologist, it is easy for him to understand that which a defined natural form can provide. At the same time this is the first step, accessing the material. As far as form is concerned, he tries to adjust it to what he considers to be sculptural.

According to Kosta, sculpture is a starting point to get an emancipated form from an anonymous form of the material in question, through the process of artistic intervention. This is in fact his own attitude toward art.

The work that this artist exhibited at the workshop is made from dzenerika plum wood and is called “Remembering the Cello”. The shape of the sculpture is inspired by form of the wood itself – the sculpture is widened in the lower part and then suddenly narrowed at the top, showing the essential feature of cello. This artist used dzenerika wood in his work for the first time and it was a great experience for him. “I dreamed about working with dzenerika wood and it was a tremendous joy for me.”

Milena Putnik

(Visual artist and lecturer at the Faculty of Forestry)

“Rovni 2011”

“I do not observe nature in an essentialist way, as an entity that exists by itself, as something separate from the modern man, something which we need to return to, but rather as a mirror of our own state of consciousness which is revealed through action in landscape.”

This artist is particularly interested in anthropogenic changes in landscape or drastic ways in which people affect the environment. That is exactly the case of the Rovni hydro accumulating station located near Osecina. Even before coming to Osecina, she had an idea to deal with the subject of the Rovni dam, having known that it would be a good opportunity to visit this place and take photographs of it. It is the building site of a large reservoir capacity which should ensure a supply of drinking water for the entire district and which is currently in the final stages of construction. Filling in the water is expected at any moment, but is also being constantly postponed. Some of the reasons for this are: slow influx of money, outdated concept of building, but also a protest organised because of imminent flooding of the church from the 15th century. The church should then find itself some 35 meters below the surface of the future lake.

She visited the place on foot and took photographs of the area which will soon be under water, as well of its environment. Photographs are a first part of the work to be, the work that will be continued with taking photographs of the changed landscape. “I want to archive further development and take photographs of the landscape which is passing through such a drastic change. I am especially interested in an ordinary, meaningless landscape, a rural road, a meadows with hay stacks, a house under a tree, a small grove… all of which are slowly peeling away from the surface, leaving only a lunar landscape”, explains this artist.

Radomir Knezevic

(Visual artist and professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts)

“The Reefs” and “In the Draft”

“Nature teaches us to respect life on Earth and to be infinitely tolerant in various relationships.”

“In the Draft” (a work of smaller scale) is composed of branches, one to five milimeters in diameter, that hade to be dried in molds in the process of preparation in order to gain some curvature. Its main feature is the extreme delicacy which is achieved by the very choice of materials and the manner in which it was incorporated into the whole.

A larger work, “The Reefs” is composed out of two parts which are in mutual relation that can change. There is a static part, formed in the form of installation, and another part that can be placed in different ways in relation to the static part. The result is that the very form of the work as a whole allows itself to change depending on location area and light. This work contains also a certain amount of expression of the dynamic relationship that these two forms make.

This artist’s opinion is that the workshop provided a very wide range of different approaches, from classical treatment of massive wooden sculptures to works that we have not yet seen as a whole and that are yet to be completed.

Tamara Nedeljkovic Vuksa

(Visual Artist)

“Visual Poetry”

“My eyes, which had seen all, came back, back to the white chrysanthemums.” Kosugi Issho

In the last three years this artist have been making paper, mosly on her own, by recycling waste materials which she then arranged in collages and reworks. At the workshop, this artist has linked her work, otherwise being carried out in her studio, to the concept of Nature&Art. She used the technique of screen printing on recycled paper. “I make my own paper, through recycling. It is a beautiful process that requires patience and dedication. Besides, nature itself teaches us that, as well as simplicity, humility, spirituality, attention and respect”, says Tamara.

“Visual Poetry” is a conceptual work that the artist performed at the workshop and consists of three parts. She picked three Japanese haiku poems that are related to nature. Each paper carries a haiku and each work is a small message that represent a connection with the concept of Nature&Art Project. But these works are also deeper than that. Her work re-examines relations between man and nature, man and man, man and art, art and nature. “It’s all here, at our fingertips, but we often do not notice it because we search for something better and brighter. ‘My eyes, which had seen all, came back, back to the white chrysanthemums.’ Poetry of the visual and visual poetry, in tune with nature – that is what I have been preoccupied with in this colony”, explained Tamara.

Marko Vuksa


“Simplicity is what I would particularly point out in my work – that is what I have learned by observing nature.”

This artist observes Nature & Art concept as a connection between nature and the natural and artistic creativity. He believes that today, when the planet is threatened by man, such a project is necessary since it spreads awareness about nature. “Natural materials are the basis of my work with sculpture. I am constantly “in collusion” with “the natural” in order to succeed in getting the best out of the material”, explains this artist. In the colony, Marko worked with a piece of elm tree in the sawmill, using the cutting technique.

Milorad Mladenovic

(Visual artist, architect and professor at the Faculty of Architecture)

“The process of affirmation of hope and constructing a vision is represented in my projects prepared in Osecina, in a space in which traces of feeling of ideality are still alive.”

In his recent work, especially in association with the Nature & Art Project, this artist begins to put his visual experience in relation to nature, getting at the same time certain ideas that he then shapes into various projects and research. His works stand on the border of the anthropogenic and the natural, primarily because of the artist’s subjective and ambiguous questioning of the relationship between art and nature. This ambiguity is most clearly exhibited in his project “The Fear of Nothing”, exhibited in 2011 at the MSU Salon in Belgrade. Without highlighting global problems with nature, Milorad Mladenovic tries to speak about impulses of fear and nothingness, on a subjective level and in relation with his environment, through pictures of human negligence.

Workshop location: Osecina
Date: September 5-12th, 2011
Organizers: Nature & Art Project
Participants: Bozidar Mandic, Djordje Stanojevic, Katarina Popovic, Milena Putnik, Kosta Bogdanovic, Radomir Knezevic, Tamara Vuksa, Marko Vuksa, Milorad Mladenovic, Uros Vuksa, Nevena Djukic, Catherine Grau