Lazar Vozarević

Lazar Vozarević

(Sremska Mitrovica, 15. July 1925. – Belgrade, 29. March 1968.)

Lazar Vozarević graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1948, where he would then become a professor. He exhibited together with the Group of Eleven in 1951, and between 1955 and 1960 he was a member of the December Group. He staged his first solo exhibition in 1952 in the ULUS Gallery, and had subsequent solo exhibitions in Belgrade in 1954, 195, 1957, 1961, and 1964. There was a posthumous retrospective of his work in the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1969-1970. He exhibited in Paris in 1953 and in 1954, then in New York in 1960. At the time of his December Group period, Vozarević’s figurative representations, prompted by medieval fresco paintings, were created in the language of postwar geometrizied post-cubism. Significant change in his visual language came with an abrupt transition into the sphere of informalism at the time, and not long after his participation at the Youth Biennale in Paris in 1959. He then started to experiment with non-painting means such as plaster, sand, bitumen and metal applications impressed into thick layers of material, using techniques of spilling various liquid (water, acid, lacqueurs) as well as of burning surface layers. The two Untitled (1961) paintings have precisely those characteristics, the first one, in the Noveski collection was exhibited at the 1961 Tokyo Biennale as well as at the Examples of Serbian Art of the Second Half of the 20th Century exhibition in 2014, while the other, owned by Nikola Marjanović, was shown at the Biennale in Alexandria in 1963. In order to keep the ideational link with his preceding figurative painting, Vozarević strove, through impressions of light rays, to keep spiritual symbolic overtones of esoteric atmosphere of medieval icons, even in his painting from his Art Informel phase (such as Destroyed Forms, Endless Forms, In Space (all three done in 1961), Broken Form (1962) and others). According to Lazar Trifunović, in Vozarević’s work “in the beginning, freely thrown applicative metal elements started to organize and ’pack themselves’ in strictly construed forms with which the phase of informalism in his work was concluded“, in order to, in the very end of the artist’s oeuvre “beneath thick layers of burnt matter, appear geometrically sharply drawn human figure“.

The Squares (1965), Left Packaging (1966), Unfinished Form, Cohesion (1967), Golden Triangle (1967), Broken Surface (1967), Low Packaging (1967), Packaging (1968), Correct Division (1968), Red Packaging (1968) paintings belong to the late “post-informalism period“ and, by their technical method and level of value fall into top-notch works of this phase (according to Zoran Markuš) of the artist’s oeuvre. According to Markuš, “morphology of Vozarević is very clear. Against the background of gold or smeared dark red, grey and brown layers, often closer to primary structures than to picturality of Art Informel, he first nailed and then glued metal semi-spheres of various diameter whose organization was succumbed to Euclidean geometry: a circle, a square, a rectangle, a rhomb…”, and, in case of this particular painting, one should also add: a triangle as well. Further on, the same author said: “Just as Vozarević’s ’beyond form’ has its already marked origin, so these ’pulleys’ – the way he referred to metal semi-spheres used by upholsterers – belong to the the same spiritual and civilizational repertory. They come from silver casings of the Hilandar Monastery and Byzantine icons…”. Quitting the preceding period of Art Informel, Vozarević, therefore, did not alter the origin and character of meaning of his paintings but rather constantly staed loyal to “idea of the past“ in the context of postwar Serbian art.

Lazar Vozarevic – Golden Triangle (1967),<br>oil, metal on canvas, 170 cm x 100 cm

Lazar Vozarevic

Golden Triangle (1967)

oil, metal on canvas,

170 cm x 100 cm

Lazar Vozarevic – Untitled (1961),<br>combined technique on canvas, 73 cm x 50 cm

Lazar Vozarevic

Untitled (1961)

combined technique on canvas,

73 cm x 50 cm