city has, as it seems, always been like this: torn apart, spilled, exactly as
if it had never existed but is perpetually being created, extended and
recovered. On one end, it stems and grows, and on the other, it withers and
decays. It is always moving, undulating, never standing still, it does not know
what it means to be tranquil and silent. The city on two rivers, with high
ground and a lot of wind.
As a theme, Belgrade has been present in the
creation of numerous artists, but this particular point of view has been given
to us by Momčilo Moma Antonović, an authentic creative personality who has,
ever since in the late 1950’s he first saw this town that enthralled him, spent
several decades skillfully expressing his love for it on canvas. The exhibition Belgrade on Waters by Momčilo Moma Antonović, encompassing the
latest cycle of his works and split into three segments according to the time
when they were created (paintings made in 2015; in 2016 and 2017; and in late
2017 and early 2018), offers his view of the ideas, techniques and esthetics of
his creative process over this three-year period.
Moving between perception, intellect and emotion,
in his creative process Moma transposes what’s seen into fragmentary
representations of the inner experience, insisting both on the artistic and the
spiritual quality of the work of art.
Compositions of strong color, with numerous
details - symbols of Belgrade, dominated by diagonals which create a dynamic
and dramatic quality (created in 2015) are followed by those later compositions
with calmer colors, brighter pallet, reduced details, dominated by the St. Sava
Temple as the main symbol of the town and its spiritual axis.
Along with the certain changes in his creative
process that can be tracked through the segments of this cycle, Belgrade on Waters has one predominant
characteristic: the unity of the painting, reflected in the structural
integrity of its shapes and motifs, where each prescribed form of expression
doesn’t stand on its own, but in relation to the overall meaning of the
painting and its theme.
Just like Belgrade is always being created, extended, so Moma continues to
build its representations. If we agree that an artist spends his whole life
working on a single painting composed of many parts, then this cycle would
represent a unified picture of Belgrade, composed of many fragments, tiny
pictures, in a dialogue between the outer world and the inner world of the
author, and in the hope that in this town a man can still find rest and protection from all that has been and that still may be.
Jelena Gajić, art historian