NIKOLA VUČO’S PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE MUSEUM OF APPLIED ART’S COLLECTION AT THE TATE MODERN IN LONDON
A SURREALIST OR NOT?
After being exhibited at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nikola Vučo’s photograph The Arrested Flight of Surreality (Belgrade, 1929) from the Museum of Applied Art’s collection will be on display at the exhibition Surrealism Beyond Borders, at the gallery of the Tate Modern in London, from 25th February to 29th August 2022. The aim of this large international exhibition is to reposition and present surrealism, one of the most important 20th-century movements, as a more dynamic movement, which was transferred beyond French borders and developed outside the official group, pointing to historical, national and local distinctions of surrealism in various world centres, over a period of almost eight decades.
The photograph The Arrested Flight of Surreality is part of the Museum’s rich collection of surrealist arts, whose most important segment is Nikola Vučo’s photographic legacy (negatives and original photographs). Although he was not a signatory of the Belgrade Surrealist Manifesto, nor formally a member of this group, Nikola Vučo can be considered an official photographer of Serbian surrealism, and his position can be compared to that taken by Man Ray within the French Surrealist movement. Vučo’s photograph The Arrested Flight of Surreality represents one of the anthological works of Serbian surrealism, whose staged and surreal visual structure represents the confirmation and sublimation of the basic ideas and program principles of this movement. As such, the photograph was given a special place in the almanac The Impossible (L’impossible) (Belgrade, 1930), a key publication of the Belgrade Surrealist Group. It was published twice, at the beginning and at the end of the almanac, symbolically as its alpha and omega: on the title page and within the program text of the Belgrade Surrealists By the Way, with a photogram by Vane Bor and two photographs by Vučo, The Wall of Agnosticism and We Need Not Convince Anyone, forming part of the ideological whole – the visual program of Serbian surrealism.
The photograph has been in the Museum of Applied Art’s collection since 2005, when it was donated to the museum, as part of Marko Ristić’s legacy, by his niece, Mrs. Jelena Jovanović from Belgrade.