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Darko Sretić

Darko has been involved in photography since he was sixteen. Since two years ago, he has been intensively researching his memories of growing up in a small town, looking at photography not as a two-dimensional printed picture in a frame, but as a three-dimensional tactile object that can be seen from all sides. Gaining a new dimension uses a variety of materials with which he tries to further produce and convey the feeling that these stories bring with them.

Darko Sretić was born in Bačka Topola, Serbia in 1998. Since 2013. he is based in Novi Sad, where he is currently starting his fourth year of photography studies at the Academy of Arts. Growing up in a small and conservative town leads him to deal mainly with the topics of micro-history and intimate memories of places from his past, trying to look at traumas and memories from all sides. Looking at a photograph not as a two-dimensional printed image in a frame but as a three-dimensional tactile object. Such research begins in 2019 at a workshop and since then he has been trying to collect all its memories in the form of photographic objects or video works.

HOMETOWN

A place is not a person but it can become the protagonist in someone’s life. Hometown, a place that most associate with nostalgia and fond memories, while for Darko Sretić his hometown is just that, a town. Bačka Topola is a very important station in the artist’s personal and artistic development, but there is one darkness between him and the feeling of connection with that city. That darkness is what he is trying to enlighten with his work. Darko goes to places that were crucial to his development and photographs them. While illuminating the camera sensor, he exposes it to all these stories and in that way tries to illuminate that darkness from his memories of those places. For him, photography alone is not enough to convey the feeling and emotions that those memories carry with them, and that is why they are on concrete slabs. The visual record begins to lose its significance, while the concrete absorbs all the weight and coldness of those emotions. And it is these concrete slabs that are the beginning of his new foundation.

Interview

What is the language in common for the young people today?

The desire for change. No matter how different we are, I think that this desire and aspiration for a better tomorrow is something that is common to all of us and that through that we can very easily understand each other.

What does the process of making one of your pieces look like?

Haotic.

Which challenges have you faced while making art as you know it?

Dealing with the past is a challenge in itself. Every time I start analyzing things that happened e.g. for some work it always happens that a new question or knowledge about my personality comes to the surface and that can be exhausting.

Do you consider yourself an artist, and what does that word mean to you?

An artist is someone who creates things that make a difference whether that difference is for him or for others. An artist is someone who, in the form of a work of art, gives himself completely to others to get to know the most intimate parts of his being through art. An artist is someone who must not be afraid of the unknown. I don't feel like an artist right now. I think I need more life experience and creation to feel that way, but I'm on that path, I would say.

What is your escape from reality? Do you even have a need to escape from something?

In fact, I don't have that need to escape, that's why I deal directly with the truth. I like to run with open arms to embrace my reality because that is the only way I can experience personal growth.

What does the word innovative mean to you?

Being innovative today is almost impossible since everything has ever been done and seen. We are flooded with a huge amount of content every day and it is difficult to stay visible in that ocean of content. But if there is someone who does something with a great amount of will and sincerity, it is immediately noticeable and therefore stands out because today everything has become somehow superficial.

Do you have a plan for the future? Where can your artistic practice take you?

I have a plan in my head, but mostly I let things develop in their course because of course you never know what may happen tomorrow, while I hope that my artistic practice will take me as far away from this country as possible.

What made the biggest influence on you to become what you are today and do what you do now?

Well, I almost never knew how to express myself in words and it was always hard for me, so somehow I found a photo very early in my life that I started using because I realized that in almost the same way I can say what I want only without that part where I have to use words.

How would you describe Serbian (Balkan or European-depends on where you live and work) contemporary cultural scene?

The young art scene is definitely present and I think things are slowly starting to move in a better direction. It is difficult that there is usually no support from the side or someone who will be the wind behind us, but I think that very well we can be more visible, especially with projects like this, so I hope that there will be more and more in the future.

In which way does your creative process shape you or changes you as a person, if it does at all?

Of course - yes. The whole point of my process is to understand myself. With each new work, I learn something about myself or new questions open up that give me inspiration for further research and creation.