One might never know an artist truly but by knowing their work we learn who they really are. From a tenuous childhood to a volatile youth with world-changing events as the backdrop to them his art reflects these themes and much more.
Incorporating past artistic styles from classic to post-modern, his art embodies them into something distinctive and extraordinary.
Mladen Micunovic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1956. Because of his father's diplomatic career he started traveling and changing countries and continents at a very early age. He was only 16 days old when he went to live in Moscow, USSR. He was 6 years old when he sailed the Atlantic Ocean from Genoa, Italy to New York harbor. He lived in Washington D.C. since 1962 to 1968. He graduated from the Belgrade Art Academy in 1980. Since then he has been artist in residence in Belgrade-Yugoslavia (now Republic of Serbia), New York-US, Vienna, Klagenfurt-Austria, London-UK, Budva-Montenegro. Since 2015 he is artist in residence in the Hague, Netherlands.
"I was on the road since I was 16 days old till I was 15 years old, changing countries, cities and continents because of my father's diplomatic career. After that I continued traveling the road on my own."
Pre Academy of Fine Art paintings
I started seriously painting when I was 5 years old. This Rembrandt self portrait was done when I turned 19 years old, before entering The Art Academy in Belgrade.
Rembrandt in my room, 1974 - tempera on canvas
Little Devil, 1975 - oil on wood
Velasquez Tribute, 1975 - oil on wood
Neon Rembrant, 1977 - oil on wood
Farewell, 1982 - oil on wood
Academy of Visual Arts, 1975-1980 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia
During the last year on the Academy, 1980, three of my friends and colleges and me formed an Art group called "Arcade", and had an Exhibition sponsored by the Museum of Belgrade.
Night sky, 1982 - oil on canvas
Moonlight landscape, 1981 - oil on canvas
African cloth, 1980 - oil on canvas
African Ritual, 1980 - oil on canvas
African Cross, 1980 - oil on canvas
Plexiglas paintings in the early 80's/ Counter intuitive painting
Metamorphosis, 1980 - acrylic on canvas
Rhythm and Rhyme, 1982 - acrylic on glass
Using both approaches from past traditions of painting in creating image, as “window” and as “surface”. Painting from in front of and above the canvas. Plexiglas painting from behind (counter intuitive) making the paint, medium, untouchable. The few millimeters of distance, of the thickness of the Plexiglas, changes the reality of the work.
Jungle, 1984 - acrylic on canvas
Tiger, 1982 - acrylic, glass over cardboard
“The Signs” - Appeared in the beginning of the 80’s. At first not defined completely. The black lines and flesh, ivory painted surfaces appeared clear and defined. The colors of the Signs were there from the start. The outlines and shapes of the colors were basically there, but fuzzy and hazy with the definitive shapes still forming. Three signs, the birth of 3 Symbols. The Y Chromosome, the Unit and the symbol of Myself. They appeared on canvas.
The Signs, 1983 - acrylic on canvas
Empty space, 1988 - acrylic on canvas
Uniting two different, opposed, styles of painting into new visual value. Macro and Micro cosmic view at the same time. Using Y Chromosome symbol.
Deep blue sea (Primordial Ocean), 1989 - acrylic on canvas
1993 - Clouds of May (Unfolding Cross), acrylic on canvas
Three drawings, 1989 - acrylic on canvas
I was always interested in having a broader perspective and exposing myself to very different influences and world views in order to see and paint the “big picture” of life and the human condition in an abstract, symbolic manner guided primarily by the elements of visual stimuli. As in life, in my painting, I exposed myself freely to the influences of different art. Not limiting myself to any particular art philosophy, school of thought, art movement, art-isams or contemporary trend. I consider the scope of Visual Art enormous, as large as Life. Sometimes, when successful, appearing ”larger than life”. I was always more preoccupied with visual stimulus and the implications it has for us, consciously and subconsciously, and in that way telling a "story" that is beyond words and spoken, descriptive language. The visual impact on me and my visual feedback to the world. In the postmodern period of conceptual art, video, performance art, non-skilled art etc., I did not change my medium of painting and drawing.
Being exposed to the Art, culture, history, science, propaganda, design, social, economical and ideological systems of diverse nations and historical periods and accentuated world view differences.
The Omen, 1991 - acrylic, enamel on canvas
Painting on the surface of canvas, contact of medium, paint is possible for the viewer. Paintings on canvas on the “outside”, artist and viewer occupy, communicate from the same space in relation to created image.
Icon, 1992 - acrylic on plexiglas
The actual image, paint, medium is packaged inside of plexiglas, painted from behind (counter intuitive). The viewed surface of paint untouchable. Impossible to use the sense of touch. You cannot get in contact with the actual color, paint of the TV or computer image, only the screen. The computer image is coming from someplace else. Communicating in Symbols. Interaction of symbols with one another tell a multy-level visual narrative.
My visual heritage is classical European tradition, American painting, formalism, modernism, abstract expressionism, color field painting, post modernism (in comment and message), contemporary art (post postmodernism)with my personal esthetics. The visual attractiveness of the computer electronic image and, at the same time, the alienation of it being created and coming from some other space, untouchable.
Canvas painting is intuitive-personal, extrovert communication.
Plexiglas painting is counter intuitive -painting backwards, painted from behind the first brush stroke on my plexiglas painting would be the last brush stroke on a canvas painting. It has a distant, hermetic, self-contained existence, introvert communication.
Canvas - organic, biologically connected to Man.
Plexiglas - artificial, synthetic, connected to Man’s Idea.
Themes: Biological - Artificial, Emotional - Cerebral, Intelligence - Spiritual Mind.
My plexiglas paintings - the visual effect of television and computer screen images and preoccupation to bring that kind of visual communication into my contemporary art developed before the internet and mass exposure of people to computer images. From about 1980 I painted a large series of plexiglas paintings before the mass computer era.
My first painting on glass - "Transformation", oil on glass, 1980. There is no documentation for it. In Montenegro, the Art Legacy of Chano Koprivica was robbed, among which was this painting. After the theft it was last seen on a transatlantic flight to New York being sold on auction.
In 1992 the war in Yugoslavia started. I did no painting during the war. First painting was at the end in 1999 during the Nato bombing of Belgrade - painting "Belgrade Knocking on Heavens door" - acrylic on wooden board.
Paintings of Premonition and Warning
Things are speeding up in the Havens and on Earth, “as above so below”. Danger of Homeostasis disruption.
Fifth element (As above so below), 1998 - acrylic on canvas
Unstoppable, 1999 - acrylic on canvas Male-Female relationship, the nature of Love and Lust
Nervous Cloud, 1998 - acrylic on canvas
White sky, 1999 - acrylic on canvas
Somthing is coming, 2000 - acrylic on canvas
You never know, 2002 - acrylic on canvas
"Belgrade Knocking on Heavens door 1999" - acrylic on wooden board
Artist in residence - London, UK
The uniting of canvas and plexiglas/ The uniting of the Inner and the Outer space
The coming together of materials, uniting of Canvas and Plexiglas. The merging of intuitive and counter-intuitive painting. Organic and Synthetic. Instinctive and cerebral. Individual physiological, biological and emotional relationship within the new emerging reality. The consequences on our internal reality, emotional and cognitive and the resulting New Value. A marker of our time. Visually communicating on multiple levels. Multiple storyline. Creating and communicating through objects that do not exist in our physical reality. Bringing them into the World. Symbols becoming Organic - Synthetic Objects, Entities of visual communication.
Drawing-black ink, acrylicDrawings-black ink, pencil, acrylic - London, UK 2005
Dangerous Desire I, 2005 - acrylic on canvas and plexiglas
Ouroboros disconnected (Bloody plate with eel), 2013 - acrylic on canvas
Disconnected renewal of life. Disconnected Infinity.
Dangerous Desire II, 2014 - acrylic on canvas
Paintings of Lust and Love
Lust over Love, 2014 - acrylic on canvas
In my heart of hearts, 2014 - acrylic on canvas
Broken Hearted, 2015 - acrylic on canvas
Angel wings (Unstoppable II), 2016 - acrylic on canvas
The Visual images are expressing complex human states of emotion and mind through the Organic -Synthetic Symbols, as they start living a life of their own. The viewer is observing the Symbols’ development, as they go through these human states of being, and the visual solutions Painting gives, to our unanswered questions, describing the emerging new Reality We are creating.