@Uglješa Vrcelj. All rights reserved.


RECENSION, SKY, November 2012.

Photography’s greatest value is thought to be its ability to “transport” us through space and time, giving us glimpses of far removed places and people from other time periods. Thus, we have made frequent visits to the Yosemite Valley, socialized with the greatest early twentieth century writers in Paris bistros, and witnessed the ephemeral “deciding moments” of the industrial era at the eve of great transformations. In postmodern times, photography turned to universally familiar areas, looking for subjects in everyday motifs that generally go unnoticed. Instead of photographic documents of novel and unusual subjects, photographs were seen as signs which acquired their true worth only when “examined” through the prism of social and cultural codes. Postmodern artists, inspired by the ideas of structural linguists and post-structural philosophers, almost invariably viewed their work through other images and signs – as reference points for understanding their own work. Today, in the era of the post-digital revolution, the hyper-textual photographic image appears to be the most adequate medium for acquiring the much desired narrative quality and the need to control information and knowledge. In an era also called post-photographic, it is practically impossible to count the number of photographs taken in a single day, and photographically innocent motifs are practically nonexistent. As his main motif for works from the “Sky” series, Uglješa Vrcelj chooses the most readily available photographic model.

Coming from the world of design and marketing, the artist offers what seems to be another product we can own. A visit to the exhibition gives us the opportunity of acquiring intangible real estate – a piece of Serbian sky. Placed in specially designed packaging, the work of Uglješa Vrcelj actually takes the form of a deed, a utilitarian object intended to inform us about what is on sale.

Uglješa Vrcelj’s photographs are marked by a visual clarity which comes across as the dominant visual language. It is due to this trait that the photographs give an impression of emotionally purified visual records in regard to whose creation the author places himself rather in the role of medium in the process of recording reality than in the role of the creator of such reality. Furthermore, understanding them is not connected with any realization of the author’s emotional state at the time the photographs were made. This places these typologies outside the domain of the subjective and sentimental, presenting to us images of a reality that transcends the limitations of an individual and personal perspective. The precise geographic data that Vrcelj provides of the location on which he made the photographs allows us to fully reconstruct the course of the artist’s movement.

Here, however, is where the unique meaning of artistic works arrives upon slippery soil because his photographs have no “earthing”, meaning that we cannot find a reference point in relation to which we could find orientation and project meaning. The only way to place Vrcelj’s “skies” is to trust the digitally generated information. One could even say that Vrcelj’s work is an excellent example of a work of art in society’s post-industrial period. As opposed to the post-modernistic game where the reference point was always hidden behind constant citation, in Vrcelj’s work that reality of coordinates is virtual, cold, and insensitive. We are compelled to trust the digital data in order to escape the feeling of dizziness, which is a reminder of Vrcelj’s main objective: to make us think carefully about what it is actually being offered for sale to us.

Ivan Manojlović

Curator – Art Historian



Until the emergence of the new media, primarily photography and film, the artists were the only ones with the divine privilege to create new, artificial, parallel reality to the natural one. With the emersion of the digital media, this process has greatly expanded and now it reaches its climax through the introduction of numerous gadgets – cameras, camcorders, mobile phones, etc. All of the mentioned qualifies as a new manner of creating visual cyber reality that is becoming competition to the natural one, and even more to the classic artistic creation, as a third type of these parallel existences. Current makers of visual presentations, who Uglješa Vrcelj undoubtedly belongs to, are peer digital creators, and in some cases even leading manufacturers of what the ordinary eye or an inexperienced viewer can not perceive or see. Moreover, they give author’s personalized meaning to the visible world. Today, there is a large number of actors on this scene, which is sometimes aware of its artistic potentials and goals, and sometimes not. And what does distinguish Mr. Vrcelj from this, increasing community of infected cyber world admirers and internet industry disciples?

In short, it means to be more interesting due to the imagination, faster in implementation, more creative in the production, in addition to being visually provocative. Supplementation of reality implies its upgrading and creating something that does not exist, or if it exists than expressing it in a different, suggestive and perceptively dynamic way. In this case, it is linking of the real and unreal, existing and imaginary, natural and designed. It involves a reality supplement with personal understanding of what it is and adding to that personal creative narrative that stands in its own potential field of devising new ways and means of expressing that feeling. And that needs only to emerge. What? Just that which is possible to be presented in a visually fascinating manner, as a new derivative which no one has ever reached before, as a different reality. Simply like that. One has only to decide. And Mr. Uglješa Vrcelj decided to create that reality through his own vision and with super-technologic reinterpretation resources.

It is all about Idea. Simply like that.

Jovan Despotović