Dragoslav Živković – story about the homeland

…As a sign of gratitude, in the praise of art and achievement, in honor of those who contributed to the Homeland and history …

Knjaževac is the homeland of the centuries-old existence of the people from the Timok region, rich in human heritage and divine, almost mysteriously beautiful nature, immensely more powerful than man. We believe that this is why artists like Dragoslav Živković are born here, to bring them closer to our souls. Devotion to the homeland, inspiration and uniqueness in artistic expression, deepened over time and gradually revealed where his personal warmth, kindness, but also his suffering came from. The subtle vulnerability and deep sensibility which he managed to express through his work of art is the fact that distinguishes him from others and at the same time leads to the widest curious audience and eternal existence. It seems to us that this feature of his, the artist’s loneliness towards everyday reality opens the infinite boundaries of the inner world of almost every person. But we discover the truths about great artists in details, in everyday jokes and anecdotes, sidelined comments that are later retold in the town, and we remember him for the beauty and achievements of exceptional artist’s creativity.

Dragoslav Živković is an artist who was born in Knjaževac and continued to live and create in it. Immediately after he graduated in 1986 he became a member of the Association of Fine Arts of Serbia (ULUS). He won the award from the Petar Lubarda Fund in 1982 and 1983, Beta and Rista Vukanović Fund in 1984 and the Annual Award of the Kolarac Foundation Gallery in 1989 and the Watercolor Award at the 12th International Miniature Exhibition in Toronto. The Municipality of Knjaževac awarded him the May Award in 2007, and in 2014 the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Using recognizable motifs, seemingly simple, everyday objects, he addresses man in universal language a lonely individual, pointing, according to Branko Kukić, to “what the Creator created and what man built”. The dumb, iconic characters from Dragoslav’s paintings confront us with the deepest and most subtle feelings of our souls. Quiet landscapes, a lonely tree or a house make many people recognize loneliness in his works. Silence spoke from watercolors, drawings, graphics, oils on canvas, and as Stojan Bogdanović said in the in the text entitled “Painting Hesychasm of Dragoslav Živković”: “So far we have listened to silence. Now we see her.” No one is indifferent in front of Dragoslav Živković’s paintings!

 Insisting on classical drawing and painting techniques, which, during the decades of his highly noticed and recognized artistic activity he masters and develops to refinement, whether it is a drawing, pastel, watercolor or oils on canvas, Dragoslav Živković persistently meticulously liberates and cleans the painted surface. Exploring the inconceivable possibilities of the basic artistic elements of line, color, light and darkness, he equally successfully presents his art to us and reaches our souls.

In the peace and quiet of his hometown in the east of Serbia, the “master of space and silence” as many call him lives and creates a new world of specific sensibility, often in connection with literary templates but also preserved elements of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Seemingly simple scenes, universal symbols, readable and understandable to every eye, thanks to the virtuoso painting process and skilful painting solutions, they imperceptibly turn us to ourselves. Observing quiet and unreal landscapes, we actually return to ourselves, to our roots and observe our own intimate landscapes, abandoned objects, our forgotten natures.

 When we, moving through the rich opus of this artist, find ourselves face to face with almost grotesque characters whose bright and cheerful colours and finely painted surface confront us with the reflection of our soul, which, as in a spasm, is reflected in the eyes of unreal characters on the canvas, customs from forgotten and not so ancient times, dumb and moved, we are faced with the deepest and most subtle feelings that we do not reach at the dictated pace and way of life, or which we decide not to recognize. This “fairy world”, a refined game of fairies, gods and goddesses, specters and ghosts, witches, hidden demons, introduces us to the Dionysian landscape of light and shadow.

Extremely well noticed and highly appreciated artistic opus of Dragoslav Živković, numerous awards and recognitions he won, recognizable and unique artistic expression and the consistency of poetics, which he founded long ago, at the beginning of his artistic career, an indelible trace in the exhibitions and programs of the Homeland Museum of Knjaževac, but also an exceptional contribution to the cultural life of Knjaževac and Serbia testify to the quality and achievements of this important artist.

Dušica Živković
Milena Milošević Micić