THE GOLDEN BOUGH OF BOGOSAV ŽIVKOVIĆ - RAW VISION

THE GOLDEN BOUGH OF BOGOSAV ŽIVKOVIĆ

First published: Spring 2022

On a remote piece of wooded land in Serbia is a magical garden filled with figures carved from wood and stone

The ancient Slavs considered wood to be a deity, and made carved figures of the gods hoping to appease them. While carving, they took care to defer to the natural form of the wood, its knots, cavities and branches, out of respect for nature as the progenitor. 

 

Živković in his atelier in Leskovac in 2003, photo: Mario del Curto

Bogosav Živković worked in the same way, his chisel following the configuration of the wood, thus releasing, hewing and shaping anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. The birth of these forms in wood, and also stone, was a consequence of the artist’s own inner world and an unconscious desire to preserve his identity and his life experiences. They are a unique record of a parallel reality.

 

Untitled, 1961–1962, wood, 35.5 x 97 x 25.5 in. / 90 x 246 x 65 cm, photo: Arnaud Conne, courtesy: Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne

Živković was born in the village of Leskovac in a wooded region of central Serbia on March 3, 1920. As a young man, he worked in leathercraft, learning to use a variety of tools. However, in 1945, poor health led to him giving up leatherwork, moving to Belgrade and, later, taking a job as a doorman. It was not until 1957 that he made his first sculpture: "I dreamed of a serpent running through a meadow, leaving a wet trail behind, then catching up and constricting an unknown man in a cloak and with a monk's hat on his head." It was almost as if the dream serpent had handed his chisel back to him.

 


Živković’s stone sculptures were made using sandstone taken from the surrounding area, photo: N Krstić

Bogosav Živković worked in the same way, his chisel following the configuration of the wood, thus releasing, hewing and shaping anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. The birth of these forms in wood, and also stone, was a consequence of the artist’s own inner world and an unconscious desire to preserve his identity and his life experiences. They are a unique record of a parallel reality.

by NINA KRSTIĆ

 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #110

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