Interview with Daniel & Slavica Trajkovic
Kolekcija Trajković – Belgrade, Serbia
What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?
During the 1970s and 1980s, before we started collecting art, we were regular visitors of museums, galleries and other cultural events in Belgrade during the transition period in Serbia. As is often the case, the step you take from admiring art to the purchasing of the first painting is not a big one. A much bigger step or mystery is how the first artwork, that decorates the house, can become the first of many in your collection. Our first painting was acquired at the end of the 1980s – it was a painting of one of the representatives of the new Belgrade figuration.
Why do you collect?
Whenever someone asks us how we started buying paintings or how we ever decided to create a collection, I would make up an interesting story depending on who asked and what the occasion was. The truth is is that we never knew the real reasons. Of course, all other questions and issues related to the collection are fairly easy to answer – explaining the events that preceded and what and whom had the impact on making our collection and it's conception, why these authors were selected and everything else that has happened over the past thirty years.
Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?
From the first moment, our collection had a clearly defined concept with us opting for Serbian art from the second half of the twentieth century. The collection begins with artworks by artists from the 1960s to the end of the twentieth century. Some of the most significant Serbian artists from the new figuration of the 1960s are represented in the collection, as well as representatives of new Conceptual Art from the 1970s and new Post Modernism from the 1980s. The 1990s were represented by artistic practices of artists who created art in a closed society with a group of colleagues from the new Belgrade sculpture. If we consider the group of artists we have, as well as which of their artworks are in our collection, we are certain that our collection transcends the conventional understanding of the meaning of a “private collection” and as a result, is currently the largest private collection in Serbia.
Who are the artists you are currently following?
Dušan Otašević, the painter and member of the Serbian Academy of Science and Art. Over the past years our Foundation has organized three solo exhibitions by this artist, loaned artworks for two group exhibitions abroad and published a large monograph of his entire opus with reproductions and texts from some of our most distinguished art historians. Some of these exhibitions include "Kitchen And Other Affairs" at the Heritage House Belgrade, "Ludwig Goes Pop + The East Side Story" at the Ludwig museum, Budapest and "Monuments Should Not Be Trusted" at Nottingham Contemporary, UK.
Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?
It is not possible to create a large collection without a personal connection to the artists. We loan artworks to many of artists, mostly for their exhibitions and of course help them in any way possible.
Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?
From the first moment our collection was created we had an awareness of the importance of national art as an unprofitable business. We believe that the collection only makes sense if it's accessible to everyone. With that in mind, for several years the main activity of our Foundation is to find an adequate space for the future museum. Despite all the problems we are having we are hopeful for a successful end.
Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?
Ours, of course!
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