I love life
Vojo Stanic - The identity of a nation is a cultural identity. There is no other identity.
 Vojo Stanic was born in 1924 in Podgorica. His spent his childhood in Niksic and Savnik. He completed his elementary and high school education in Niksic. In 1951, he graduated in Sculpture, from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. He was a student of Professor Alojz Dolinar. He settled in Herceg Novi and began working at the Art School as a professor. Since 1952, he has been a member of the Association of Artists of Montenegro. He married the sculptor Nada Marovic, from Lustica. They had a son, Tomo, who is a pianist. In 1958, he visited Paris and it was here that he became acquainted with the legacy of the Surrealists and the works of the great masters. He spent the majority of his time at the Louvre. He continued to teach as a professor at the School of Pedagogy, Department of Art Education in Herceg Novi. In 1968, he won the 13th July award for the second time.He visited Norway twice (once in 1966 and again in 1968). Thirteen of his paintings were displayed in the floating gallery of the renowned shipowner Skaugen, alongside works by Braque, Toulouse - Lautrec, Hartung and others. During1973 and 1974 he resided in Rome andexhibited his work in the Villa Giulia art gallery. His first paintings, portraits and landscapes, were exhibited in Titograd and Belgrade in 1956.

 In 1997, Vojo Stanic represented Montenegro at theXLVII Venice Biennale.Robert Boyers, aUniversity Professor from Saratoga Springs, Upstate New York, invited him to visit. In 2004,he accepted Professor Boyers’s invitationand visited the United States for the first time. A solo exhibition of his paintings was held at Skidmore College, (Saratoga Springs). In 2005, his solo exhibition opened atZurabTsereteli’s Art Gallery, in Moscow. In 2007, the Gayo Gallery, in cooperation with Wilson Publishers, London, issued a monograph entitled,VojoStanic – Sailing on Dreams.In 2012,he heldexhibitions at the China Millennium Monument World Art Museum, Beijing, and at the Liu Haisu Art Museum, Shanghai. His muse and life partner, Nada Marovic Stanic, a prominent Montenegrin sculptress, passed away.

He has received many awards and recognitions. In Titograd, in 1960, he won the 13th July Award for painting. In 2014, he was presented with the 13th July Lifetime AchievementAward.



Vojo Stanic - I love life

A sunny April day in Herceg Novi, a day in perfectharmony with the beautiful way in whichVojo Stanic lives his life, with his paintings and his friends. We agreed to meet in the morning. We descendedthe stepsto the sea.In front of Vojo’s home, on the terraces andin front of coffee shops, people were sitting, sipping their drinks by the sea. We climbed the stairsof a nice house and were greeted with a smile by our host, Vojo. It’s not every day you are received so warmly by an artist with such a positive spirit. We talked about numerous topics. With Vojo, conversation is easy, it flows spontaneously, naturally. One could be moved by such modesty and encouragedto be a better, more noble and more joyful person. Such people should be quoted on a daily basis,in order for us to better ourselves and realize our dreams.

Words are Like Cherries

"Once when I was interviewed by a journalist, he corrected my statement. At first, I was disappointed with what I had said, and then even more sowhen he revised it.  In the interview I said: ‘The centre of the world is where you are’, meaning each one of us, as individuals, isn’t that right? And he, in good faith to help me, rewrote it as ‘The centre of the world is where we are’, which was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to say. This is because‘we’ standsfor all of us, and each human being is unique, each person lives in their own world, which is what I meant. Therefore, he had not understood it. That was the only thing he rewrote, he did not rewrite the other nonsense I had said. When an interview takes place, it is actually a conversation.


A conversation is always limited, blunt even, isn’t that so? This is because its limit cannot be exceeded. One cannot have a conversation that goes beyond its limits. In mathematics, for example, if one cannot count beyond a hundred, there can be no conversation about a million, because it will stop there, don’t you agree? With regards tointerviews, I said the same thing to some ladies, who came to interview me: ‘If you talk with a person who is boring, you will also become boring.’ Anintervieweeshould be inspired by the interviewer,as one will not feel like sharing all that can be shared with everybody. To quote an Italian proverb ‘Words are like cherries. One pulls the other.’ This also applies to conversation. One never knows where a conversation will end once it has started.


Radmila Krgovic and Vojo Stanic

Children's Games

Iwas born in Podgorica. I didn’t like it! So my family moved to Niksic when I was one year old. I lived there for the next twenty years.Since then, I have, for the majority of the time, lived in Herceg Novi.I have always claimed that I was from Niksic, even though neitherI, nor my parents were born there. I think the way people in Niksic think, or rather the way they used to think back then, not today.


We played those ordinary, harmless games thatchildrenplay. Nowadays even childhood is sophisticated. For example, I see an eight or nine year old child, who knows more than I do. He has the internet and instead of storing knowledge in his head,he stores it in his pocket. This is a mistake. We played those ordinary children’s games,self-invented. Childhood is important. Very important!  This is when one’s personality is formed. Kids hang out. They socialize with children of their own generation. These are the people they will ultimately grow up with. Their social awareness is also developed at this time.


Photo by: Dusko Miljanic

The Difference between the Present and PastWay of Thinking

There is a huge difference. The world has totally changed. This is the case in our Montenegro, and I believe it is the samein other republics.However, I amtalking about the situation here, the one I know about, as I have lived here. Here there have been a few devastating revolutions. Revolution usually means an upheaval, when translated into our language, isn’t that right? A revolution can alwaysbe started. We could arrange it tonight, to seizethe media and the Government, and the Government would be replaced.  However,only the Government would change; nothing else. In culture, there is no revolution. One cannot become culturedovernight, but you can bring down a government overnight. First, there was the Kingdom of Montenegro,and then the Kingdom of Yugoslaviawhich denied everything that had existed before it,the coat of arms andthe anthem. It introduced new textbooks, new street names, new heroes, new history, and itlasted for twenty years beforethe communist Yugoslavia came. The latteralso denied all that had gone before it. Therefore, once again, there were new streets, new names, new textbooks, new history, new heroes, and new monuments. It was disintegrated as well.  So, what happened? Each time we started again from the beginning. Each time we started as though we hadjust beencreated. We have no continuity. Continuity is the highest European value. It has not experienced revolution. The continuity that has lastedthere for a thousand years is priceless.I do not engage in politics, but I do vote for the Government, no matter what it is. I vote just to preserve it,to allow something of ours tolast,to finally put a stop to these changes and to focus on real development.


There are, let’s say, varyingdegrees of knowledge. For example, we have mathematics, philosophy and then, above all,comes art. All knowledge and endeavours are based on reason. Art is different, art is based on intuition. This is something that is beyond intelligence. This is something spontaneous and expresses what individuals are, as human beings, their essence, the essence of everyone of us. Since each person has their own identity.

 We say let’sfight for the identity of a country, and yet a person has an identity. If that is so, the more cultivated the person, the stronger the identity. The identity of a nation is a cultural identity, because there is no other identity. Suppose Italy were to disappear, the Italian identity would live on, because aspiritual identity exists. This is essential. And art is,‘the cultivation of God’.

 I paint what I see every day. Therefore, had I lived in Zabljak, I would have painted that area. It's natural. Life is interesting everywhere. It is like any other art, like any human work, it radiates the energy that it has absorbed. For example, an artist takes half an hour to paint a picture andthen that pictureis looked at for either half an hour or just one minute. The painting process should have taken a hundred hours, to be look at for just one minute, not vice versa, isn’t that so? I mean, everything that we see, which has been created by someone, is the result of energy, nothing else.

 I have exhibited a lot. Considering my age, I have had a lot of exhibitions. One needs to do something to fill all these years.

 I am a terribly lazy man. I believe I am the laziest person I know.It takes a hammer, chisel and some stone or other material to make a sculpture.I realized that painting was much easier, because I could work whilstsitting, listening to music and talking. I could listen to the radio. I mostly listen to the radio. I am capable of listening carefully as well as concentrating on the work in hand.

 I rest while I am working. In the café, where I have a cup of coffee every morning, I was asked ‘Are you having a rest?’ as though I had been working hard and needed a rest. I said: ‘I rest while I am working.’ This means that I have been constantly resting, my entire life.

Photo bY: Dusko Miljanic

Colour in Painting

It’s hard to analyze what I do. However, a colour in painting isequal to a word in literature. That is to say, one word does not mean anything on its own. It is only a concept. But when youadd another word, something hasbeen said.The same applies to colours. A colour means nothing by itself. In fact, colours are at their mostbeautiful when first bought,still in the tube. Throughout the painting process, one tries to retain that perfectcolour. The colour is best at that time. Therefore, the use of colour is important. Colour is relative. One colour on its own does not mean anything, but put two or three colours together and something isexpressed. This is harmony. The same applies in music, to a musical tone. A single musical tone has no quality. If you were to hita barrel with a hammer you would produce a sound. In a musical sense, that sound would be a tone. I work rather spontaneously, without much thought. Thinking is decadent and art is anti-intellectual. Art based on aphilosophy or a message is destruction of art itself. Once I wasasked,during an exhibition in the Sveti Stefan gallery: ‘What is your message?’I said: None. There is no message, these are just paintings, you are on your own to work it out (laughing). All human beingsare influenced by everything. For example, me, as a painter, I was influenced by all the paintings I have seen, all the artists, all  the conversations and everything I have seen, read or watched on television. This forms our perception of the world, isn’t that so?


 (Read the complete interview of the printed issue of Renome number 9)

INTERVIEWED BY: Radmila Krgović

Translation into English: Dragana Petronijevic

Photo By: Dusko Miljanic

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