Photo: Courtesy of the Festival

One of the younger generation of Belgrade artists, Vuk Ćuk studied painting at Belgrade University’s and at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. So far, he has shown at over 30 group exhibitions in Serbia, Italy, Austria, Czechia, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Russia, China and the US, and independently in Belgrade, Vienna, Copenhagen and Augustenburg (Denmark). He has also taken part at some of Europe’s most prestigious art fairs such as ArtVienna, ArtMoscow and Art Copenhagen, and appears along with 10 other artists in ‘Endless Editions: Face to Face – Blind Date’, now part of the MoMA collection. His work examines how mankind copes with modern life, particularly the influence of the digital media, technology and communications. His forms of expression include painting, sculpture and digital art (VR and animation).

DD: You were a noted participant in the 2020 Danube Dialogues. What are your impressions of the Festival?

VĆ: The Festival was a real breath of fresh air in view of what was going on at the time it was held, one of the few to be held at all.  Last year none of us could travel, our professional and personal plans were changing all the time and everything was uncertain.  I really enjoyed the interaction with the artists and curators.  At moments I had the feeling it was all happening in a time before the pandemic. I’ve always liked exhibitions that move around from one location to another and sort of become part of the urban system of the place, not just an enclosed space in a particular building.

DD: The theme of this year’s Festival, DD 2021, is ‘Society and Art in a Forced Reality’. Do you think this was a good idea?

VĆ: Absolutely. We’re living in a time of new or forced normality and just now we have the opportunity to discover many things we weren’t aware of that have to do with the world we live in. The whole situation spills over from events in global society into the everyday life of all of us. Art is supposed to define the time in which it originates, so it is one of the more satisfactory tools to explain, provide perspective and different angles from which to consider the emerging situation.  

DD: How has the pandemic affected your art?

VĆ: Many plans, both professional and personal, have collapsed, and I was very much looking forward to them. On the other hand, I had more time to spend in the studio and managed to produce more work than I normally would have before the pandemic.  At the end of last year, I had an independent exhibition at the Eugster ll Gallery in Belgrade which directly referred to the consequences of the pandemic. So you see, if there hadn’t been a pandemic, the exhibition would not have taken the form it did. The whole situation reminded me that it’s very hard to make long term plans, that it’s more important to look towards the near rather than the distant future.