Over the past three decades, Mihael Milunović has played a significant role in the domestic and international art scene, consistently experimenting across various visual disciplines and expressions. His thematic focus broadly lies in exploring historical and contemporary phenomena related to sociopolitical, cultural, and ideological systems and contexts.

Milunović’s comprehensive studies encompass social and military history, mythologies, religions, diverse artistic legacies, sciences, popular culture, and mass media, offering him a canvas of endless possibilities for reinterpretation of divergent visual, conceptual, and narrative contents, around which he continues to build and conceptually develop a highly specific visual vocabulary and authorial poetics. From his earliest series of paintings and drawings, the artist has been captivated by the multivalence of symbols as a means of complex communication between individuals, collectives, and the surrounding world, serving as a way to construct knowledge and identities, express ideologies and depict cultural characteristics specific to a given environment, while forging psychological connections with deeper layers of reality. It is precisely this aspect that intrigues Milunović the most – the discovery of the “objective reality” within dimensions beneath the infinite surface of circulation and rapid absorption of images and information. This reality resides in the forms, states, boundaries, and processes of its functioning, which rely on constant interplay and influences between perception and the imaginary, the past and present, factual and fictional. Undermining established concepts and meanings of civilizational achievements, traditional symbols, insignias, social constructs, the artist creates a world that is not an antithesis to the existing and known but rather its inverted reflection – a zone constituted by the occurrence, convergence, and interweaving of material fragments from different temporal and geographical registers. The rich genre and subgenre history of science fiction literature and film, pulp magazines, interwar period comics, retrofuturistic illustrations, post-war Western ideological-propaganda posters, as well as examples of metaphysical painting and magical realism, become an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Milunović. From these, he abstracts visual references and iconographic elements, carefully elaborating on them in his works to every detail, through the conceptual use of color, interior atmospheres, exterior mise-en-scènes, to the character’s personalities. Scenes featuring military-political marches and parades, ancient rituals and ceremonies, covert actions and experiments, opening the doors to secret cabinets, command centers, and laboratories, under landscapes veiled with symbols of civilizational progress and technological advancement, as well as mechanisms of domination and exploitation, introduce the viewer into a unique virtual space of collective historical experiences. Between dreams and catastrophes – this could briefly encapsulate and describe Milunović’s series of works created over the past decade and more, including his latest production of paintings, drawings, objects, and installations presented at the current exhibition, conceived in several ambient sections, including the courtyard area of the Gallery – Legacy of Milica Zorić and Rodoljub Čolaković. The artist’s subtle critical incisions into the social reality of the contemporary global world tinged with capitalism, which leaves almost no perspective regarding a humane future, traverse through the territory of turbulent eras, social rises and falls, discoveries and destructions, heroic times and petrified symbols, collective acts of faith and desiccated ideologies, scientific achievements and species’ extinction, all the way to utopian visions and nightmarish realities.

Mihael Milunović was born in 1967 in Belgrade. He graduated from the painting department at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1992, in the class of Professor Moma Antonović. He completed his master’s degree at the same faculty in 1995. He specialized in painting in the class of Professor Vladimir Veličković at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1995–1996). Recognized as an artist, he became a laureate of the Renoir Foundation (working and living in the studio of Pierre-Auguste Renoir). He taught at art academies in Paris, Saint-Étienne, and Cetinje. Since the mid-1990s, Milunović has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Belgrade, Paris, Naples, Kassel, Milan, Amsterdam, Poznań. His works are part of prestigious museum collections, including MUMOK, Vienna, Austria; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia; Palazzo Forti, Verona, Italy; Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, Saint-Étienne, France; Wiener Städtische Collection, Vienna, Austria; Solo Collection, Madrid, Spain; Azraq Collection, Morocco; Zoya Museum, Slovakia; Deji Museum, Nanjing, China; LVMH Collection, France; Siemens Collection, Austria, as well as numerous private collections. He curated and organized several exhibitions and served as the editor of the “Colorful World” program at the Museum of African Art in Belgrade (2006), later as the artistic director of the second Mixer Festival (2010), among other roles. He has published a number of critical articles on contemporary art, travelogues, essays, and catalog texts. He is a citizen of France and Serbia and lives and works between Paris and Belgrade.

Exhibition Curator: Miroslav Karić