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        Retrospective exhibition

Janko Brašić


Janko Brašić, Retrospektivna izložba

Janko Brašić, Retrospective exhibition

  MNMA, Jagodina, Serbia
30 March - 30 April 2017
Opening ceremony:
30 March 2017, 19h


Janko Brašić, Retrospektivna izložba

  Janko Brašić, the first self-taught painter in Serbia was born in the village of Oparić in 1906.
Janko Brašić’s earliest works date back in 1933 (drawings and self-portrait in oil), and are connected with the beginnings of naïve art in Serbia. He died in 1994. The great respect he enjoyed in cultural circles and among ordinary people and his unselfish work on encouraging peasant painters and collecting artworks contributed to the foundation of Gallery of Self-taught artists in Svetozarevo, in 1960 (today Museum of Naïve and Marginal Art). His paintings, drawings and sculptures were the first artworks included in the Museum Collection. Sixty-seven works of Janko Brašić from all stages of his artistic oeuvre are kept at Museum Collection. He had more than thirty solo exhibitions and participated in many representative exhibitions in the country and abroad. Hundreds of oil paintings, drawings, graphics, frescoes, icons and sculptures in clay, stone and wood, public monuments around Oparić together with abundant written database were left after him.
Strong poetic expression of Janko Brašić, based on deep and pure sense of village life was not only a part of his mental heritage, abut also a part of the artist’s life. In his early environment he had permanent contact with wall decorations, paintings of travelling zoographers, fabric and embroidery. They all were sources of his energy for further creative work. He passed the pathway from realism to the poetic, from portraits to compositions with multitude of figures, from village to historical and religious scenes. He developed in the area ranging from cultural and pictorial heritage of folk art and medieval decorations on the one hand, and insight into contemporary official painting on the other, acquiring his own style and poetics in the seventh decade of the twentieth century.
The period from 1933-1941 is characterised by spontaneity of expression and restrained colouring of umber green and brown nuances: Portrait of a Mother, 1935; Portrait of a Painter Peasant, 1935; My Family, 1935; Funeral, 1935; Dead Soldiers, 1935; Park, 1935; Portrait of a Teacher, 1936; Portrait of My Grandfather, 1936; Portrait of an Elderly Man, 1936; Man in a Vest, 1937; Portrait of a Daughter, 1939, Fight at the Pub, 1936, Portrait of a Daughter, 1939.
In the portraits done during the period 1941-1960, Man with a Flashy Lip, Swindler, Drunkard, Father’s Sadness as well as in the monumental canvas The Battle between Serbs and Turks the artist kept his reduced colouring, with certain parts and details freshened with bright tints.
This transition period was to achieve its peak during the seventh decade and transform into personal expression with distinct naïve characteristics. It is characterised by specific liberation from a realistic approach to the artwork, achieved by autonomous use of colour. Rapid, expressive drawing and colour are here more subject to creation of inner temper than a precise description. The multitude of figures positioned in the landscape are strongly emphasized by composition, space, size and colour. (Party, 1959; Graveyard, 1961; Panic, 1967; Old Volunteer Harvesting, 1966; Old Christmas, 1967; Taking out the Bride, 1966; Engagement, 1967; Chipping the Scone, 1967; Old Wedding in Dragačevo, 1967; Round Dance 1967).
In his canvases, Janko Brašić tried to achieve authentic psychological evidence of his inner life and make his painting record real essence, nature and core of his environment, both direct and sincere. He portrayed his relatives, friends, village festivities, interiors, parties and dances but also funerals, graveyard, fights in pubs… He elicited motifs from village life, using them most successfully and persuasively to express his own inner world and personal pictorial conception of reality. While painting them Brašić saw clear colour, clear moment and pure sound. Therefore, in Brašić’s painting, it was not only important how the painting was done, but what was portrayed. Although narration and description can be found in his paintings, his story originated from the roots, thus he aspired towards synthesis and the universal.


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