Mića Popović - The Scenes Painting
Miodrag Mica Popovic (1923-1996) was a painter, art critic, writer and academician. Popovic's lifestyle itself can be described as in cultural opposition to the regime and government that imposed its own ideological forms. Until the end of his life, he clearly demonstrated his incompatibility with the system, which let him stay faithful to the ideal of free thinking and expression. The images from the series the ‘Scenes Painting’ [Slikarstvo prizora] stem from the period between 1968 to 1971. Through that series the artist critized the social and political circumstances in socialist Yugoslavia.
Beograd Ušće 10, Serbia
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Provenance and cultural activities
Following an abstract phase of informal art, artist Mića Popović returned to figurative painting and developed a distinctive series known as ‘Scenes Painting’ [Slikarstvo prizora]. A first section comprised 35 paintings: the Gvozden pictures, self-portraits and still lifes. A number of works (Hexagonal Space I-VI) showed scenes featuring long-time friends of the artist, at that time considered opponents of the incumbent regime. This first part of the series was exhibited in 1971.The Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) in Belgrade holds three works from the Scenes Painting series by Mića Popović. The paintings were integrated into the Museum's collection at different times and don't form a separate unit. The work ‘Gvozden in a hostel on the way to the Federal Republic of Germany’ was purchased from the author in 1974. The acrylic collage entitled ‘Urbanism’ was purchased from the author in 1977, while the work ‘Presence’ entered the collection in 1988. The paintings of Mića Popović are part of the collection"Painting after 1950" at MSU.
The whole series ‘Scenes Painting’ was created between 1969 and 1980. In this series, the artist urged for freedom of artistic expression and action. Popović’s critical painting related to narratives that emerged at a time of crisis in socialism. With his Scenes, the artist criticised the social and political situation in socialist Yugoslavia. Several themes run through his Scenes Painting: self-portraits and reflection on the position of the artist; the story of Gvozden and all Yugoslav ‘guest workers’ who left for temporary employment abroad in the 1960s and 1970s; the ape as a metaphor for society; still-life scenes of the simple and frugal meals consumed by Yugoslavs leaving for temporary work abroad; female nudes through which Popović introduced the topic of pornography, one of the taboos in socialist society. In fact, all these themes depicted social and political realities.
Mića Popović’s first independent exhibition was held in 1950 in the Art Pavilion in Belgrade. In the introduction to the exhibition, he explained his artistic standpoints and principles. The catalogue’s foreword represented the first public deviation from the ideology of socialist realism as the dominant trend in art of that time. Popović wrote: ‘General human warm feelings for nature, for love, are no opponents to socialism at all and do not mean indifference to its problems. On the contrary, for a period of organised struggle for mankind, they should be very typical, and humanist and warm."
Description of content
- Mića Popović demonstrated his incompatibility with the system until the end of his life. That let him stay faithful to the ideal of free thinking and expression. The images from Scenes Painting arise from 1968 to 1971. Through that cycle the artist showed a critique of social and political circumstances in socialist Yugoslavia.
- paintings: 0-9
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Beograd, Belgrade, Serbia
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Muzej savremene umetnosi. 1971. Mića Popović: slikarstvo prizora. [Mića Popović: The Scenes Painting] Beograd.
Trifunović, Lazar. 1983. Slikarstvo Miće Popovića. [The Painting of Mića Popović] Beograd: Galerija Srpske akademije nauka i umetnosti.
Author(s) of this page
- Krstić, Katarina
Gavrić, Zoran; Trifunović, Lazar; Mihailović-Mihiz, Borislav. 1987. Mića Popović 1923-1996, Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga; Beograd: Književne novine.
Živadinović, Milica. 2014. Miodrag Mića Popović 1923-1996. Beograd: Orion art.