Nina Zeljković, Papilon painting, 2022, oil on canvas, 180x180cm. Installed at Non canonico, Courtesy of the artist and Non canonico, Belgrade.
I’ve been following the work of Serbian, Hamburg and Belgrade-based artist Nina Zeljković (b. 1985) for some time but finally saw it for the first time in real life at this year’s Artissima. Her paintings at the booth of Eugster || Belgrade (a duo with Saša Tkačenko) – some of which of large scale, shaped and framed canvases, all mixed media, all 2022 – tightly interrelated with the public. One had to wonder about the extensive research behind them, not limited to a pictorial quest. Speaking to the artist,  I learned about the different aspects that inform her practice. Perceiving a lack of discourse growing up in Belgrade in the 90s and 00s, she stresses the idea that painting needs an entry point, which for her became the 2015 class of Jutta Koether in Hamburg. Coming from philosophy, the artist considers her German experience an “eye-opener”, mentioning she still misses the way art was discussed in those days.