Back in October 2018, we searched out Serbian artist Aleksandar Todorović who was in the depths of creating a series of visual commentaries on the socio-political state of the world seen through the prism of Orthodox Christian iconography. Those works are now included in his solo show Religion Remastered, which recently opened at the Gallery of Contemporary art in the Museum of Smederevo, Serbia, a sort of ‘early’ retrospective covering the artist’s diverse series of works from recent years.
Religion Remastered features 21 pieces that share a common inspiration in observing the modern world. Using a centuries-old religious format to educate the masses, the Belgrade-based artist, by modernizing the cast and narrative, hopes to provide more clarity in portraying modern global problems.
“It is also a kind of warning, that our urge to believe can be diverted toward ideas that are not only unnecessary, but are downright harmful to us,” –Aleksandar Todorović
Themes, like history and pop culture, are explored through dark humor and irony, with a dose of sarcasm as well in a visual style that samples pop art, references ancient Byzantine church paintings, illustration, low-brow, and pop-surrealism. Works from the artist’s Serbism series lend insight into the local, almost biblically tragic story about broken ideals and brotherly coexistence. The Digital Icons series show us how new technology in the form of digital vector drawings, can illustrate the ideas and character archetypes of the current landscape.
Dominating the installation are seven of the latest works representing Todorović’s concerns. Five new icons painted with traditional iconographic materials and techniques evoke the classic aesthetic of this historic format, but rather than religious figures, each work features idols of the digital age, corpocratic president-emperors, swelled by the absurdity of contemporary global politics.
United by a thematic visual architecture, each painting offers a parable of modern-day ‘robber barons’, ranging from affairs and scandals to caricatures and conspiracies. The sculptural pieces underline our almost religious obsession with consuming the brands force fed by multinational mega-corporations. As Todorović ironically observes, “They are symbols of hope that, by submitting our own bodies, minds, and souls to a technocratic deity, we shall achieve the fulfillment of that primal urge.”
Aleksandar Todorović’s Religion Remastered is on show through July 12th, 2019.
In December, Aleksandar Todorović will be presenting his newest works in Miami with Dio Horia gallery.
Photo credit by Marijana Jankovic