Goranka Matić: Retrospective Exhibition
Museum of Contemporary ArtBelgrade, levels 3, 4 and 5
24 March – 24 May 2021
Curator of the exhibition: Una Popović, senior curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade
The Museum of Contemporary Art has the honor of inviting you to a retrospective exhibition of the work of photographer Goranka Matić, under the title Crowd Experience. Goranka Matić has been active in the art and photography scene for 40 years. Since the very beginning, in the 1980s, her work was characterized by a parallel development in the domains of photo-journalism and fine-art photography. The dualism and differentiation implied in her professional engagement — as, on the one side, a journalist chronicling events in the world of music and art, and later politics, and on the other, a dedicated fine-art photographer — have contributed to a complex oeuvre that can be reviewed most appropriately in terms of genre divisions. Although the themes and genres differed depending both on the engagement and her natural interests, this didn’t affect Matić’s creative viewpoint but rather led to a harmonization of the visual and semantic approach, which is most obvious in the author’s equally clear focus on both people, and events and situations. Hence the title of this retrospective exhibition — Crowd Experience, the intention behind which is to give an unpretentious and a somewhat poetic name to the artist’s work process. Matić’s professional career as a photographer came spontaneously and all of it required a strong dose of personal curiosity and courage, but also the propensity to a specific kind of activism, the desire to be involved in great cultural and social occurrences not only as a photograph on a mission and an observer but as an active participant. Taking photographs in the crowd of the moment, be it at a 1980s rock concert or a 1990s political protest, trained Matić to be capable of not only authentically conveying the drama behind these events and the psychology of the individual but also of adjusting her poetic to the then-contemporary movements in photography and art.
The exhibition Crowd Experience, which is comprised of several hundred photographs and materials of different kinds (archive, documentation, photo-essays), isn’t structured chronologically but according to thematic segments that have been identified as dominant in the author’s work:
1) the first exhibitions and works done in the medium of photography,
2) photographs of rock concerts and the protagonists of the new wave together with the members of the art scene created in the 1980s around Belgrade’s Student Cultural Center (rock photography, rock musicians and artists’ way of life, cover design for music albums),
3) portraits (artists, directors, writers, authors, etc.),
4) 10 Years Against (photographs from public events, rallies and protests in Belgrade 1990–2000),
5) fine-art projects (intimate self-portraits, the projects Moravice, Matrilinearno ogledalo (Matrilineal Mirror), Memorabilia, Portraits with Friends, Scars, Quiet Flows the Sutjeska – a solo project and a part of a previously realized exhibition).
Goranka Matić is indeed a sort of a chronicler of the events in this country’s art, culture, social and political scene, whose work, showcased as a whole like this, may also be regarded, independently of authorship, as a problem exhibition allowing insight into the social and cultural circumstances of the former state of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Belgrade, from the early 1980s to the beginning of 2000s. The exhibition Crowd Experience indirectly also aims to indicate the dynamic and multifaceted positions and roles of the medium of photography.
Goranka Matić was born in 1949 in Maribor (Slovenia). She graduated in art history from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. From 1971, she was a permanent associate of the Student Cultural Center as one of the editors of the institution’s art program and the curator of the Happy New Art gallery. From 1978 to 1980, she managed Gallery 45 in New Belgrade. She has been an active photographer since 1980. Her professional career began in the Džuboks magazine, after which came Start, Svijet, etc. Her photos were published by nearly all of the leading magazines in the former Yugoslavia (Duga, Politika, Omladinske novine, Beorama, Ritam, Liberation, Polet, (New)Moment, Delo, etc.). She was the photo editor of the weekly Vreme (1990–2006), the daily newspaper Politika (2006–2010) and the Radio-Television of Serbia (2011–2015).
In the 1980s, her most significant work was related to rock photography, especially within the informal movement called the new wave. This is when some of her cult record covers were created for the greatest musicians of the era (Idoli, U škripcu, Bajaga i instruktori, Đorđe Balašević, etc.). In addition, her photographic oeuvre includes portraits of artists, writers, directors, actors (people from the arts & culture scene) but also politicians, made for the purpose of election and other campaigns. She is the author of numerous photos dealing with social and political topics created in the turmoil of the 1990s.
She was a lecturer at the Faculty of Political Sciences and the Faculty of Media and Communication in Belgrade (photojournalism and documentary photography).
She was the first woman photographer to become a member of the photo section of the ULUPUDS.
During her artistic career, she participated in many collective and solo exhibitions both in the country and abroad. Her works have been included in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade.
She is the winner of several important awards.