Byzantheme II by Kosta Bogdanović, 1990.

The sculpture “Byzantheme II” belongs to the cycle of reliefs in wood of the same name, created in 1985, which will be developed by Kosta Bogdanović during the 80s and 90s of the last century. The name itself came from the notion and meaning of the “Byzantine theme”, where the inspiration was the spirituality of Byzantine art, and not the transfer and interference in well-known iconographic patterns and cult-sacral descriptions. It is interesting that for the Venice Biennale in 1993, Ana Marie Jose, the selector of the Central Pavilion, chose seven reliefs in wood from this cycle. The project was not realized due to the sanctions that our country was under. In the cycle “Byzantheme”, Bogdanović combined the properties of materials and forms in their final “form with an aura”, as a result of his search for the categories of the sublime and beautiful. It is a kind of achievement of creative translation of the aesthetics of a certain culture (in this case Byzantine) into a sublimated expression of the spirit and a concentrated and pure aesthetic object, to which Bogdanović aspired throughout his work. The spiritualized and nurtured form is reflected primarily in the nobility of the material itself, wood, healthy and clean, without traces of decay. Then, there is the relief form, which calmly “looks” in front of it from the surface of the wall. And at the end or at the beginning, the color that is an integral part of his work. Blue, in addition to gold and white, is dominant in his opus. The color blue, especially ultramarine, is associated with the depth of the sky and mythical-religious visions and meanings. Since it is a “unnatural” color (it is rarely found in nature), its appearance has a solemn character and deepens spirituality. Blue, according to Bogdanović, “remembers the collective experience from the oldest myths to modern knowledge in quantum theory, it is like an icon – a visual connection with what is believed to exist everywhere and always and is never visible.” Kosta Bogdanović is an artist, researcher, theorist and writer of an authentic approach, who in his rich and complex work sought sublime, spiritual, healthy, universal forms. He was born in 1930 in the village of Osijek near Sarajevo. He graduated in art history at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade in 1962, and in the same years he studied sculpture in the studio of Sreten Stojanović. In addition to his artistic vocation, he was a curator, museum advisor, and for a time director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (1985–1987). Based on his research, he established a subject called Visual Culture, which he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, and later at other faculties. He died in Belgrade in 2012.

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