Vladislav Sčepanović

Vladislav Sčepanović

Belgrade, Serbia


Vladislav Sčepanović graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje, Montenegro, in 1994 and completed postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade.

Vladislav earned his PhD in art theory and media in 2009 for Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies at the University of Arts in Belgrade, mentored by Dr. Divna Vuksanovic, founder and chief editor of the Art Association ART OF REALITY, and founder of the artistic group HARD SOC.

During 2013/2014, he was the acting director of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Belgrade and President of the Board of 55 October. In 2017, Vladislav represented Serbia for the 57th Venice Biennale, project Enclavia.

Currently, he is a Professor of subject drawing and painting at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, a Professor of Art Theory for PhD studies at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade and Professor of Interdisciplinary and Doctoral Studies at the University of Arts in Belgrade.

Active since 1994, Vladislav has been a participant at several international round tables on art theory and has published several articles and a book on the theory of art and philosophy

With over twenty solo exhibitions worldwide, as well as group exhibitions, Vladislav is also serving as Commissioner of the Republic of Serbia on 59th Venice Biennale, 2019.

Vladislav lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia.

Banski dvor, Solo Exhibition, November, 2018, Bosnia and Hercegovina

Anya Tish Gallery, Solo Exhibition, January-February 2018, Houston USA

57th Venice Biennale, Serbian Pavillion, Enclavia, 2017

The Limits of Visibility, 25 Slavonian Biennale, Osijek, Croacia, 2017

Scope Art Fair, New York, March 2016, exhibit with Barsky Gallery

Serbian Pop Story, Barsky Gallery, Hoboken, New Jersey, September, 2015

The Theoretical Framework of My Art

Through my art, I discuss the problem of the world of simulations and acting of forces of domination and resistance in the mass media spectacle. The basic motive of my work is the research of media scenes which represent an open display of the power of capital and ruling economic and political structures. The world today is not free, it may not have ever been, but this form of non-freedom, caused by the reproduction of everything in the form in which any trace of its very material substance gets lost, gradually is becoming the state of disappearance in virtual world of images and information. I started from the critics of cultural industries, consumerism, utilitarianism, solipsism, and my tools are my paintings. My painting is not only the reproduced image of mass media, it is just an element in my work carrying a subversive message. My visual criticism is the painting created manually by an artist, the one characterized by its uniqueness, endurance and material form. One of the important forms of my work is strategy propaganda vs. propaganda. Therefore, I use elements like film, advertising, fashion, or any other industry modern culture is made of, and fixing, intervening, and manually creating paintings, I contextualize the understandable message of the critics of the modern world-simulacrum. Above all, my criticism is oriented towards media aesthetics which is the first echelon, the vanguard of corporative capitalism and global hegemony.

In the multitude of reproduced images and information, painting is, through selection, combining, installing and manual performance, capable of regaining auratism (Benjamin) and referentiality of man as an intelligent subject. And, through the return of something unique and unrepeatable, which can be attained only by overcoming virtualization and mass production, painting is able to create a work with critical purpose. Even criticism and subversion themselves, why not say destruction, related to the overall spectacularization, are a reason for such a work to become permanent. And its very identity is what makes a piece of art far more durable than spectacularized matrixes and esthetized information which devour each other, creating a world of inconsistency and simulation. Permanence is an important form of subversion and destruction in regard with society in which an individual must produce and spend frantically until is sucked into the vortex of void. The work of art is particularly important because, due to its durability, remains a critical testimony, not a mimesis of an epoch. On the other hand, too many pieces of overlapping information, as well as the lack of referentiality, make information revoke its quality as a support for interpretation and understanding of the epoch in which it was created. Therefore, such an art which contracts information, creating the critical image of the spectacle, remains the only source of freedom and critical thought, capable of overcoming the system created on the virtual and false subject.

In my opinion, sufficient approval of my thesis is that quasi modern artists today live and create their pieces of work mainly on the basis of projects they send to the institutions, which, as the representatives of the system, allocate financial means to them. Those projects are mainly connected to non material subjects (video works, technological installations, happenings, digital art, etc.), because they respond to the demands of the technological industry (artists as promoters of new technologies) and virtualization of the capital. If the economic system is based on false foundation (since 1971, US dollar is not subject to Gold Standard), if the value of a brand exceeds manifold the material value of the product, consequently the art in service of such a system must be non-material, highly technological and virtual.

My painting is a hybrid of high technology and the human, but it is not aimed at cyborgization and disappearance in machines and information, but at a call for return (or maybe creation) of consciousness and common sense. Hence, that is a road from losing the aura in the context of Walter Benjamin’s reasoning to re-auratization, not on a stable referent, but in a the full critical strength of free thought and work of art. An important feature of my work is introduction of narrative elements in my paintings. For me the painting has not only a simple meaning, but narrative as well. I achieve this narrative effect by several images with its own narrative course in one painting, or by a set of paintings connected to each other by the narrative course. My message is clearly expressed through the major impression conveyed by the painting and at the same time it articulates my notion of the contemporary world based on punctum magnetism (Bart), which is, in my opinion, necessary ingredient of art. What makes my work distinct is hand-made narration, which stands in contrast with the major part of contemporary art, based upon technical software and gadgets, ranging from digital print to computer projects. The worldwide empire of digital production, which the quasi-art of spectacle in the great part derives from, has limited time duration and vanishes together with authors and curators into the virtual void. Expiry date of such art is shorter than the lifespans of the artists themselves. One of the biggest illusions of that kind of art is experiment. Given the fact that experiments take place within the world created by programmers, technician artists, and designers, there is no room for creative surprises, divertions and brilliance which make art important. Therefore, I suppose that dealing with technological innovations is the basic and the biggest misconception of the contemporary art. As mentioned before, in the world of technological domination, virtual finances, and non-values, there has been created space for yet another paradox – the art has to be put back on the traditional track since its nature of auratic artifact serves as a counterpoint of the system. For that reason, the Stackist’s maxim, which claims that „the real artist is the only one who paints“, today, unlike some other point in time, resonates with truth. Thus, it is all about perpetual movement, changing of position which art should take towards society, in order to preserve the state of paradox, free thought as well as free emotions above all.

In Conclusion

The main characteristic of my work is the aesthetics of destruction and destructivity in regard to doxis, whether it’s related to dictatorship of market and mass scenes of spectacle, or to popular religion, media manipulation, and overall aesthetization.

In that manner, the segment of destruction becomes very important factor in my art. Such art is antithesis of society. If it is observed from horizontal approach, art must be neither elitist nor the privilege of the well-educated, but understandable, critical and politically engaged. It should speak the language of mass culture, not because it represents its own choice and affirmation, but because through such a form of expression, art can produce actual results. In that way, art can pose questions to a wider auditorium and react critically right through sense excitations which are the precondition of the thinking process.

From the above mentioned, I draw a conclusion that destruction in art, unlike destruction in media, politics and market world, becomes a constructive element. It could be said that destruction in the world of art represents a form of creation. Art in modern world can exist only as destructive, critical and subversive, but definitely not as the proxy and the subject of society. In such balance of power, art which should inspire and create esthetical ideal of the society, transforms itself into its own negation and becomes a form of solipsism.

2009. PhD in art theory and media in Interdisciplinary doctoral studies, University of Arts in Belgrade.

1994. Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje, Montenegro, and completed postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade.

Monography. MEDIA SPECTACLE AND THE DESTRUCTION: Aestetics Destruction and Spectacularisation reality, Sluzbeni glasnik, Belgrade, 2010.

Human Rights, or Rights of passive observes, in: FILOZOFEME, Serbian philosophical forum, Novi Sad, October 2006.

The Conflict of generalization, in: NATIONAL INTEREST National Interest, Institute for Political Studies, Belgrade, 2007.

Media culture and terrorism – symbiosis of media and destruction, in: CULTURE, journal of theory and sociology of culture and cultural policy, No. 124, Belgrade, 2009.

Media aesthetics and destruction, in: Proceedings of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade, 2009 – 2010.

The role of photography in promoting a society of spectacle, in: CM, journal of management communication, No. 13. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade.

2001. Award for painting “BELI ANĐEO / White Angel”, Mileseva 2001.