1 July 2008

Kalemegdan Bridge Collaboration, 2008

A collaboration between British sculptor, Richard Deacon and Serbian sculptor, Mrdjan Bajic.
Belgrade, Serbia

Beacon, in association with Handel Street Projects, supported The Kalmegdan Bridge collaboration project. The artists came together in Belgrade in July and September 2008 to work on the design of a new footbridge in Belgrade. The proposed bridge will connect Kalemegdan Fortress with the promenade by the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube over a busy road bringing to the City of Belgrade a landmark structure at a very symbolic place which was a border between east and west.

The collaboration was the first stage of the creation of a major landmark for the City of Belgrade, and was the first time since the 19th Century that an artist from another country has been involved in the production of a public monument in Belgrade. In 1873 Florentine, Enrico Paci came to Belgrade to start the work on the monument to Prince Mihailo Obrenovic, who ordered the creation of Kalemegdan Park in 1867.

Fedja Klikovac, of Handel Street Projects curated an exhibition in 2009 at the City of Belgrade Assembly and Gallery ULUS (Serbian Artists Union). The exhibition presented not only the artists’ final designs of the footbridge at Belgrade Fortress, but the whole process of collaborating together in the previous eight months. The proposed bridge will connect Kalemegdan Fortress with the promenade by the river Sava, over the busy road and railway track, bringing to the City of Belgrade a landmark structure at a very symbolic place, which used to be the border between east and west.

Deacon and Bajic represented Wales and Serbia, respectively at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Richard Deacon has been at the forefront of British sculpture since the seventies. In 1987 he was awarded the Turner Prize and showed in many prestigious art galleries and events around the world including Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Tate Gallery, Museum of Modern Art New York, Biennal de Sao Paulo, Sculptur Projekte in Munster, The Biennale of Sydney, Documenta Kassel etc. Since 1983, he’s been represented and regularly shown at Lisson Gallery, London.

Mrdjan Bajic came to prominence in the eighties in Belgrade and since then has produced a vast body of work in rather different circumstances: from the lively post Tito Yugoslavia, to the isolated nineties wartime and the present new start for independent Serbia. His work was always embedded in the social practice and its effects, questioning and giving answers to the position of the artist in society. His work has been shown internationally from early in his career including 1990 Aperto, La Biennale di Venezia, Kunsthalle Wien, The Biennale of Sydney, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Biennal di Sao Paulo, Artists Space New York etc.

This first stage of the project was been made possible by the grant from The Henry Moore Foundation and was further supported by the British Council. Beacon was a conduit for this project in line with its mission to support artsits at all stages of their careers. Funding partners in Belgrade were JP Belgrade Fortress and The City of Belgrade.