Djordje Prudnikoff

It was the hand of God that joined a Serbian woman and a Russian man, who had come to Serbia as boy, with his parents, after the October Revolution in Russia.
So, on  April 19th 1939. in Uzice, they got their son Djordje - Djordje Prudnikov

In 1946. the family moved to Belgrade. After completing  his grammar school, Djordje was admitted to the  Academy  of Fine Arts. Few months later he left it to enroll at  the Academy of Applied Arts where he graduated in the class of Professor Mihailo Petrov.
During his studies Prudnikoff was rewarded several times for graphic design.
Graphic (industrial) design  was his preoccupation while staying in 
Wienna, in 1967.

Before leaving for Vienna, after visiting an industrial design exhibition that inspired him, he started to do industrial design himself. It was  design of completely new shapes of glasses.  In Vienna, he had contacts with Rosenthal, Gralglass and other companies that belonged to Euro "Group 21". They were not only full of compliments for the artist but offered him a cooperation. After 5 months spent in Vienna, he returned to Belgrade for a summer holiday. Nostalgic feelings overwhelmed  him and he remained at home.

That was most likely the reason why some of his ideas were used while he was away, and without his approval. One of his ideas even won the ''Oscar'' for design in 1969. in Germany.

At the International competition for new ideas in furniture design, in 1968 in Italy, he was granted a reward and 3 months scholarship by the company called Sormani from Milan for perfecting himself in furniture design.
During and after his studies he was mostly occupied with creations in the field  of applied arts and took part in projects for furniture and applied pottery for several well-known Italian enterprises.  His work  were selected for the ITALIAN DESIGN exhibitions in many European metropolises, and that was the time  when Italian design was considered one of the best in the world.
While staying in Italy, he established a good cooperation with Gabbianelli (and some others), and achieved his greatest success.

Prudnikoff met many interesting people in Italy, the most impressive contact being with Mr.Dino Gavina, one of the pioneers of industrial design  who said that  "he had waited for such an Artist" There were remarkable proposals to work in Bologna but, unfortunately, the two distinct personalities had conflicts from the very beginning.

That was unfortunate, of course. As he stayed in Belgrade longer than he planned, he failed to take his chance to realise his project ''Habitata'', already accepted at the Milano Trienale in 1975, for a well known enterprise ''Zanotta'' /transparent armchair, armchair in a shape of the sack /

In 1976. he had left Italy, and only 18 years later learned abut the reason why Italian authorities had not granted him extended work permit. There was a bad guy who lived in Milan at the same time, and possessed a passport in the name of Prudnikoff. That man loved his painting but had no idea how he affected his life.

Prudnikoff's idea was borrowed in Italy as well, and an ''armchair - FIELD'' won the 1st prize at an international contest, but it was not registered under his name .

In Belgrade, Prudnikoff became famous not only as an artist, but for his whole-page advertisements announced in daily newspapers. These advertisements  symbolized his reactions to certain occurrences, whether he approved of them or not.  At first, this way of communication with the community represented his discontent with the contemporary art critique that did not accept him, and that, apart from few exceptions, did not win his confidence.

C O N T E M P O R A R I E S  !!! 

Prudnikoff took part in numerous collective and independent exhibitions both in the country and abroad. 


and Great Technique in
Prudnikoff's Portraits

Out of the dark equalized backgrounds rise faces and figures repeating, maybe subconsciously, big lessons of the past. An excellent craftsmanship characterizes the Yugoslav painter who displays his painting at the Priori Palace.

At the Griffin and Lion Palace are exhibited the paintings of Djordje Prudnikoff, a Yugoslav painter whose paintings the public like for the striking atmosphere he succeeds in conjuring up in his works. Certainly, nowadays it is uncommon to be able to observe such meticulousness and "rage" towards the object and not to be also tempted to enter some currents of the present and look for an absolutely new wave. On the contrary, Prudnikoff paints as he feels, while at the same time avoiding to make comparisons with the contemporary: for him there is no shaping which repeats a photographic model; one finds no malice and technological meddling. Instead, there is an ever-present craftsmanship, "the hand" that knows exactly how to mix, dose, and condense. Along with the effects of significant optical force, reminding one of significant optical force, reminding one of various currents and models taking place in the near historical periods to us, the true sincerity of the author is not being questioned.

Prudnikoff should be accepted the way he presents himself: he may be more explicit in the defining the face (true geographic maps of life) than in resolving the structure of the whole body. Be as it may, this is a "wisdom" and force of effect, typical of a sole aesthetician and individualist.

LA NATIONE - FLORENCE, November 14, 1979
The option of a critic on the occasion of an independent exhibition in Perugia, Italy.

Djordje Prudnikoff's art of painting
at the Singidunum Gallery
Unusual Personality

Thanks to Prudnikoff, this gallery has recorded a true boom: thousands of citizens visited the gallery; such a response on the part of the public was, most  likely, also prompted by the advertisement spreading over a full page in the newspaper, in itself a unique event in the publishing practice in the capital.

A graphic artist and a designer by academic training, a painter by vocation over the last ten years, Prudnikoff is an unusual personality, and, taking everything into account, a personality that cannot be reduced to the conceptions and expressive formulae of out times. He does not care about either the nineteenth century or the experience of modernism;
in fact, he owes nothing  to anybody, nor does he mimic anybody in the contemporary environment. As if his art came to a halt in the seventeenth century, as is his creativity came to end with the Italian decadence and mannerism. His thematic-expressive layer, dramatic "tenebroso" and "sfumatto" under the atelier light, licked-clean structure and outpourings of sentimentality take us back to the world of Guidrenni, Giovani Batista or Salvador Rosa. Due to the mentioned, the critics have been circumventing Prudnikoff, perceiving him a bizarre and quite marginal phenomenon in the Belgrade art of painting. Also, the extraordinary high prices of his works could only attract more attention of the public than that of critics. However, in the postmodern practice of the 80.s, along with retrograde tendencies, the canvases of Prudnikoff seem to have imposed a different  interpretation  and reading. Is one supposed to see in these works the anticipation of the art of "anachronism" and pronounce the author as its champion? Whether we like it or not, the center of gravity is also moving from the value and nature of works to the circumstances of a new phenomenon.
It is certain that Prudnikoff's art of painting is an example PAR EXCELLENCE of creativity outside the "protectiveness" of the times. However, while accepting this G.C. Argan's definition that relates to the views of the art of the 80.s, we cannot avoid a specific paradox: "nonprojectiveness" is still a specific "projectiveness" just as much as "antiaestetics" is a specific aesthetics. Anachonic in everything, Prudnikoff is not retrograde by everything but SUI GENERIS.

Therefore, is Prudnikoff a forerunner or only a dishistorical phenomenon.  If we are in our views closer to the latter phenomenon than to the painters of our decade, who have been formed under the influence of Olive and Calvesi, are we quite right.

          Z. MARKUS            POLITIKA, Belgrade, May 12, 1987


Djordje Prudnikoff

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Adhikara Art Gallery
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