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Museum of Naïve<p>and Marginal Art (MNMA)
Museum of Naïve

and Marginal Art (MNMA)

35000 Jagodina, Serbia
Boška Đuričića 10
Phone: (+381 35) 8223 419


The appearance of marginal art (English synonymous for art brut), Art hors-les-normes, Arte Irregolare i Außenseiterkunst, the art of outsiders, people from the shadow disturbed many spirits, but doubtlessly created new world of perception and initiated new ideas. It did not evolve from the previous art, hence it looked radically new.







Project "Marginal Art in Serbia"

Released from academic rules and canons, artists of marginal art create "a new art world", called: Outsider Art, Art Brut, Art hors-les-normes, Arte irregolare or Außenseiterkunst, and also - Marginal art. Under the influences of external, social environment and their own, inner world, artists of marginal art create artworks of layered artistic and psychological messages.

The main goal of the project was to recognize, understand, interpret and promote the marginal art in Serbia. The project included digitization of marginal artworks from collection of MNMU, semantic annotating of images and publishing on the Web site of MNMU. The project was implemented by a multidisciplinary team, consisting of art historians, psychologists and IT specialists. The tasks of art historians and psychologists were to recognize artistic and psychological messages of artists and to determine appropriate, descriptive terms. The role of IT specialists, based on recognized terms, were to semantically annotate images of artworks, linking them to the available Linked Open Vocabularies (LOV) in the field of art. Linking to Link Open Vocabularies made it possible to include images of marginal artworks from the collection of MNMA into Web of Data.

Descriptive meta tags were built into the headers of images, making them portable with images themselves. Semantic annotated pictures were published on the website of MNMA.



  The most significant artistic tendencies in European art in the last decades of the nineteenth century were to mark the birth of European Modernism. Its profile was outlined by dynamic reversals in the field of aesthetics at the beginning of the twentieth century, primarily in France and Germany, or more precisely in the artistic surroundings of Paris, Munich and Berlin. The constructors of Modernism rejected academic and the realistically seen. The objectively visible world has become bygone time.


The pressure of artistic canons within ruling artistic establishment became claustrophobic. The life became too complex and the experience of miscellaneous knowledge marked the ending to old forms of expression. However, there has always been a discrepancy between the recognition of new forms of artistic speech and new aesthetic values. Certain time is always needed to gain confidence in the quality of work, and to institutionally consolidate some elements of the breakthrough into the new, and publically undisturbed life. New art has become the result of new intellectual constitution. The original dimension in which the artist can express own freedom is the degree of applied abstraction to express the thematic essence of his interior. The art of outsiders was born out of an impulse, nonharmonized with the established artistic forms, regardless to the current courses. The creators of outsider art often live on the margins of society and do art for their own needs, using their spontaneous, authentic creative energy and non-conventional originality, liberated from all burdens of artistic tradition, canons, education and artistic dictations of the Mainstream. It could be said that exciting creative inventiveness of outsiders was presented with evasion of new pictorial energy, seriously dangerous for the Mainstream art. In the atmosphere of the maximum freedom it is not easy to establish appropriate criteria for evaluation of the degree of the aesthetic. Everything is left to the sensitiveness of individuals to react and their form of creative antagonism towards the surrounding world. This individual nonconformism is especially visible in Surrealism and Dadaism, which criticized intellectual inactivity of middle class taste. Artistic outsiders primarily create out of own necessity, not interested in any criteria imposed by the society to both artists and art. Obsessively and persistently they keep to the laws of their inner instincts and phantasy. The appearance of marginal art (English synonymous for art brut), Art hors-les-normes, Arte Irregolare and Außenseiterkunst, the art of outsiders, people from the shadow disturbed many spirits, but doubtlessly created new world of perception and initiated new ideas. It did not evolve from the previous art, hence it looked radically new. Pervaded with the spirit of L'Art brut, Jean Dubuffet created an irrational, primitive world by leaving Academy in 1948 and working contrary to the established artistic world for the rest of his life. The book of Hans Prinzhorn "Bilderei der Geisteskranken" inspired him to discover raw, expressive power which seemed precious to him. He studied art of marginal artists: asocial, rejected, mentally ill and the art of children's drawings in order to closely approach the instinctive intuitivism.


Always pervaded with some expressive impulse, the outsiders materialize their vision in an uncontrolled way, which opposes to conventional contextualization of the history of art. This artistic independence is specially described by Roger Cardinal the Catalogue of the exhibition Outsiders: Art without Forerunners or Tradition, 1972, which was organised by Victor Musgrave at prestigious Hayward Gallery in London in 1979, where the outsider artists were presented as specific heralds with messages from the parallel world. Persistently sharpening his analytical and critical mind, the creator of the term outsider art, Roger Cardinal, has published several books with this title since 1972; hence this term is adopted as adequate. Both Cardinal's book (1972) and London exhibition strongly encouraged the acceptance of art brut and outsider art as separate artistic categories, especially in official artistic world. Two years after Dubuffet's exhibition was relocated in Lausanne in 1978, a significant exhibition was organised at Musѐe d'Art Moderne in Paris entitled Les Singuliers de l'Art. As the art on the margins of Mainstream, outsider art gradually abandoned the margins. The wave of foundations of museums and galleries worldwide where the works of outsider artists are collected, preserved and exhibited has certainly become our reality. Today, it is difficult for outsider artists to stay in their isolation. Non-institutionally present for decades, the art of outsiders was primary energy of pure genetic expressiveness. For many years it was on the margins of general cultural audience. It was considered utopian, trivial, worthless, ill and morbid only because it was unconventional in every way. Like many outsider artists worldwide who patiently have built their imaginary towers isolated by secret rooms of their worlds, outsider, marginal and art brut artists in Serbia have been doing art for decades. Since the nineteen thirties they have donated us the infinite volumes of their individualities. Their works seem to be personal confessions, like a manifesto of suppressed worlds.


In the artistic reality of Serbia, these artists have gradually become the symbols of entirely new standards in art. The immersion in the instinctive intuitive origins of their pictorial formulae provides the direct cognition of art without censorship. With their personal visions they overcome disappointment and failures of ordinary life, transforming the lack of social life into artistic brilliance. The aesthetics and poetics of pictorial language of the most significant artists of raw vision, marginal and outsider painters of Serbia (Vojislav Jakić, Sava Sekulić, Ilija Bosilj Bašičević, Emerik Feješ, Barbarian, Milosav Jovanović, Milanaka Dinić... and sculptors Bogosav Živković, Dragutin Aleksić, Dragiša Stanisavljević, Ferenc Kalmar and Milan Stanisavljević) confirm the values of these world classics.


Author: Nina Krstić

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