(Dobrovnik, Slovenia, 1933. – Belgrade, 2. July 2018.)
Novak graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1959, where he had his first solo exhibition in the West Vračar Cultural Center in 1963, and then in the Atelje 212 Gallery in 1965. He took part in the New Tendency 3 exhibition in the Modern Art Gallery in Zagreb in 1965, and then in the Tendencies 4 (1968-1969) and Tendencies 5 (1973) exhibitions. In 1967, he went to Vienna where he stayed until 1971, and during this period he staged two solo exhbitions in the Galerie im Griechenbeisl in 1968 and 1971. He took part in a very important international exhibition, Kinetika 67, following an invitation by art historian Werner Hofmann, staged in the Museum of 20th Century Art in Vienna in 1967. Upon his return to Belgrade, he stage a retrosprective, Objects 1962-1976, in the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1976. The last exhibition of his work was staged in Belgrade in the Cultural Center Gallery in 1995. He is represented in the Sequences show in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade.
Novak was a pioneer of neoconstructivist and luminokinetic art in Serbia, with a considerable reputation in Austria during his lifetime. In addition to a series of lumino-objects, he staged an ambiance called Light Organ, as his major work, using a keyboard for a rhythmic organic and automatic accompaniment of orchestra in the Studio N concert hall in Vienna in 1969 as well as the equipment for the Austrian Pavilion in an expo in Nice.
Novak divided his own artistic itinerary into the following stages: the first Belgrade phase (1961-1966), the Vienese phase (1966-1971), the second Belgrade phase (1971-1996), and the London phase (1996-1997) where and during which he designed a series of mobile items entitled Homomobiles). He said the following about his own work: “My technology is very simple. I strive to achieve complex results by making use of simple means. As far as how my objects function, the best thing is to just open one of the them and everything will become immediately clear. On the outside, some of my objects look like small television sets. Inside, they have an electric motor which moves colored bulbs, and the either light passes to the screen through static filters or, vice versa, filters are mobile and the bulbs are static. Naturally, each and every of my objects is in some ways different, whether by construction or in its visual and coloristic activity“.
Novak thought that luminokinetic art was “peculiar to a highly advanced society in which the environment must be made more human. Kinetic art organizes space in a new manner, and has a relaxing effect, above all with means of pure visuality such as movement, light, color and time“.
Koloman Novak – Kinetički objekat (1968-1976), instalacija (metal, sijalice, pleksiglas, elektrometar), 95 cm x 95 cm x 30 cm
Kinetic Object (1968-1976)
installation (metal, light bulbs, plexiglas, electrometer),
95 cm x 95 cm x 30 cm