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When looking into a painterly process, we often find ourselves searching for compositive structures, chromatic juxtapositions and referential elements, observing the painting as a result of a methodical process and forgetting the importance of the unexpected in the creation of the inedited. Within a research like the one expressed by Nebosja Despotovic, we can find a variety of components, like the element of the oddment, which do not have a strict relation with a specific method, but are instead a derivation of the beauty that comes with an accidental encounter. 

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Born in 1982, in Belgrade, Nebosja Despotovic lives and works between Treviso and Berlin, researching and focusing his attention on a variety of elements regarding the concept of figurativeness within a contemporary and evolving environment. In Despotovic’s paintings abstraction and figuration are allowed to coexist, blending into a form of atypical storytelling; a quivering and oscillating narration which combines past and present, creating an imagery which is both truthful and fictional, simoultaneously referential and introspective. The mind and the eye of the viewer are encouraged to unscramble a complex mixture of mental images, which stand as the result of the artist’s everyday visual experience when translated and re-combined through the act of remembrance. 

 

Nebosja Despotovic, Wild and Blue (Personal history), 2020. Acrylic, oil, charcoal and ink on canvas. 

 

Another interesting element of Despotovic’s process, is related to the newest aesthetic that the artist has achieved through the usage of oddments. As Despotovic explains, when put in front of a beautiful and clean piece of canvas, a painter is often driven and influenced by the necessity to create a good work of art, to demonstrate his technical maturity by manipulating a variety of elements aiming to create beauty. On the other hand, when inside this spiral, the artist finds himself creating problems and working towards their resolution, losing sight of his own painterly freedom and nevrotically painting to regain it. When, instead, working with oddments, leftovers, forgotten and unfinished ideas left sitting in the studio for some time, the artist does not feel the need to create, interpret or manipulate them, but only to comunicate through them, using their possible combinations to achieve the inedited.  

 

Nebosja Despotovic, La Musica (My useless life can only break out in tunes without a purpose), 2019. Acrylic and oil on canvas.

 

“[…] you only feel the need to communicate with it, without imprinting it more than it already is. Maybe you combine it with another expressive element, which can be a stone, a piece of paper, a PVC, but without altering it, without trying to make it artificially important, without the artifice, which is, already in the word, part of the art”.

A well balanced example of the aforementioned technique, found its first outcome in one of Nebosja Despotovic’s exhibitions from the year 2018, at Boccanera Gallery (Trento-Milano), entitled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ovvero Freie Kartoffeln”, in which the artist used these brackets of forgotten ideas to amplify the elements of storytelling present within the exhibition. The freedom expressed by these newly found combinations, allowed Nebosja Despotovic to experience a breakthrough that renewed his imagery and allowed him to dive deeper into the painterly process, finding more and more interesting pathways to follow. 

 

Nebosja Despotovic, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ovvero Freie Kartoffeln, 2018. Exhibition view at Boccanera Gallery.

 

Within a painterly process, there are often many elements that go unnoticed. Secured in the perimeter of a beautiful canvas, lives the enaction of a series of components that do not necessarily find their source in the painting matter itself. Artists like Nebosja Despotovic, create beautiful stories using moments of remembrance, instants in which a dusty and forgotten bracket can create a story of its own. 

 

Nebosja Despotovic, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ovvero Freie Kartoffeln, 2018. Exhibition view at Boccanera Gallery.

 

Cover image: Nebosja Despotovic, Old Truth Collapses, 2015. Acrylic and collage on paper.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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