The District from the Artist’s Perspective: Boris Lukić – We Finally Have Serious Working Conditions

Boris Lukić made his first artistic steps after graduating from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. The fields of interest of his work are primarily photography and painting, but he deals with sculpture and drawing as well. The issues he deals with the most in his work are the reasons of a visual representation in art today. Since 2014, he has been creating and working in a studio located in Novi Sad, right on the site of today’s Novi Sad District. What used to be a craftsman’s place in the old wire factory experienced a complete renovation in previous years into one of the main places of culture in Novi Sad, all thanks to the initiative of the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation.

Space – creative drive

– I returned to the new studio in April 2022. I have been in the District or, as it was then called Chinatown, since 2014, except for a break while the space was being adapted. In a certain sense, it is, above all, a production facility. There are also colleagues, also with studios, so together we made several pop-up exhibitions.

Boris Lukić singled out the lack of adequate conditions for work and creating art as the primary problems he encountered before he came to the location in the District.

– In environments like ours, the most vulnerable part is the lack of adequate conditions that are needed for art creation. When that problem is overcome, as is the case with our studios, somehow everything becomes simpler and more beautiful. When the infrastructure is no longer a problem, you don’t know in which directions and formats what you do can go. And that is very exciting but also challenging. You can simply ‘swing’ as far as your ideas take you.

Lukić believes that the space in which he now works and creates is very impressive.

– This is confirmed by the reactions of various visitors, both locally and from abroad. We finally have something that looks like some serious working conditions. Like everything, these spaces have drawbacks, mostly related to building management and the general need for a technical person to deal with problems such as cooling and heating system errors, minor leaks, and the like.

The District is a second home to many independent artists as well as art collectives. Boris Lukić points out that neighbourly relations in the Novi Sad District have always been good and that there have never been any special problems.

– As I already mentioned, being in the same place every day with similar and different profiles of people from the field of culture can only be beneficial for everyone. But that takes time, so it remains to be seen how everything will work.

The potential of the District is unlimited

One of the most significant spatial legacies of the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ project, the District, has already established itself as a new centre of creative industries.

– The potential of the District, when it is completed, is unlimited. Everything depends on the intelligence and people who will be there and who will work there. As such, it is a kind of challenge or test for all of us, even for the whole city, in terms of what we wish to become and who we really are. This is a historic chance for the whole city to get one place or quarter that is directed towards culture and true values. I sincerely hope it doesn’t get wasted because I’m sure we won’t be getting another one for a long time.

The work is still not done

The examples such as the District, exist everywhere, especially in Western Europe, and it is not too much of a novelty – believes Boris Lukić.

– But that doesn’t even matter – he says. – It is important that things are starting to change here. However, I don’t think we should be too proud, because there is still a lot of work to be done.

The idea of rebuilding and revitalizing buildings within the Novi Sad District gained momentum when the world learned that Novi Sad would take the flattering title of European Capital of Culture. Years of work led to the former abandoned and unsafe zone in the District becoming a space dedicated to culture, art and other spheres.

– When you stay in the District every day, it is almost impossible not to get acquainted with its history, stories and people who lived there. It gives an authentic feeling to the whole place. However, those are all past times and I think we should be focused on the future and all the new things it brings. I sincerely hope that the transformation of the District will be only the first in a series and that it will serve as an inspiration for some future similar projects. This is a great chance for societies in transition like ours. Finally catching up with the times and building some new values and creating new opportunities – that’s the bottom line.

Boris Lukić believes that there are many advantages of the District and that its main advantage lies in the concentration of artistic or creative production in one place in purpose-built and good working conditions.

– What I try to achieve the most is daily work with the desire to improve and overcome myself. Apart from that established routine, there is also an upcoming exhibition as part of this year’s sixth Kaleidoscope of Culture, where the three of us, who create in the District, will exhibit our works. That’s something I’m especially looking forward to – concludes Lukić.

Source: Dnevnik

Photo: Vladimir Veličković, Filip Petronijević

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