Speech at the opening of Miodrag Rogić’s exhibition

Ljiljana Slijepčević, 1996

Whenever I think, write or speak about Miodrag Rogić, there is always a question of specific professional responsibility, primarily mine of course, but also that of other, more respected colleagues - critics and theoreticians, because Mr. Rogić’s contribution to our modern art has not been examined quite enough or in the right way.

That statement appears to be somewhat contradictory. That is to say, the fact that Miodrag Rogić, through his creativity, has remained very present, known and respected through the past decades. He has – it seems by his choice and stance, remained at a certain distance from those promotional manifestations which create media popularity and generate interest from a wider audience.

It is his principled stance and innate sophistication that has refused to allow Mr. Rogić to conform to the contemporary method of popularization of artists and their art. For that, this exhibition and the prize that preceded it, further enjoins us to critically study Mr. Rogić, and thereby hope to gain an understanding of the originality and importance of his entire opus – both paintings and graphics.

In celebration of the Third Biennale of Graphics in Belgrade, 1994, the Commission for Award of Lifetime Contribution to Fine Art Graphics decided unanimously to give the award to Miodrag Rogić.

Mr. Rogić’s graphic opus is an integral part of his comprehensive artistic inquiry. It is a part of unremitting and consistent work on realization of a strictly established artistic (and ethic) task to bare and demystify objects, nature and arts itself, in order to reach their genuine fine art substance.

Mr. Rogić is distinctive for emancipating his art from the norms in which a dose of fetishism is always present, to a greater or a lesser degree; distinctive with thematic and plastic constitution of his works, which are completely devoid of narrative.

Unlike most artists from the Belgrade Graphic circle, who are regarded by the media as having signature aesthetics, a “trace of its own hand’ on the board as a basic poetic statement, Mr. Rogić strived for “depersonalization” of his art. Even though his works have a very definite and distinctive quality that makes them recognizable, Rogić’s graphics do not possess ‘attributes’ of intimacy. He leaves the machine to the process of multiplying fine arts concepts; accomplished through drawings. His clear and open attitude towards the graphic medium as a modern technical instrument has relegated Mr. Rogić to a minority position among Belgrade’s graphic artists.

Since the early beginning of his artistic work, Mr. Rogić has freed himself of the emphatic thematic expression, preserving the expressiveness of fine art in sketched motives of commonplace articles and sights. He has further simplified the process by reducing ‘themes’ to their most basic synthetic components – this ascetic method leaves only the line and canvas eliminating the ‘soul’ of his subjects. In the past few decades, Mr. Rogić has consistently and persistently cultivated his artistic program, striving for ideal purity of artistic act and creation.

Free from any utilitarianism, ideological arrangement or mimetic fashions, Mr. Rogić’s art has and remains artistically topical, a very rare occurrence in this time of constant and rapid change.

Along with his artistic work, for many years Mr. Rogić has carried out pedagogic work – primarily in the field of Graphics. Just as in his art, Mr. Rogić’s teaching carrier has been characterized by rigorous, consistent perseverance. His efforts to bring fine art and high culture to generations of young people has manifested itself through the energetic, highly individual creative efforts of his pupils. Although Mr. Rogić has remained a singular phenomenon with his own works of art, his pedagogic influence is exceptional for it’s contribution to the development of many young graphic artists.

As the Commission for Award of Lifetime Contribution to Fine Art Graphics considered who would receive this important prize, each of the members used the term ‘radical’ to describe Miodrag Rogić and his Art, given that this qualification contains many of artist’s peculiarities. This term means: ingrained, whole, profound, essential, incipient, innate, from the nature, natural.