February 1, 2019

Words: Aleksander Todorovic & J. Scott Stratton

Aleksandar Todorovic describes the motivation behind his provocative paintings
Hypocrisy, tyranny and modern novelty will find no refuge from the discerning gaze of Serbian artist Aleksandar Todorovic.

There is absolutely so much to unpack in the paintings of Serbian artist Aleksandar Todorovic. Political satire, activism, iconoclasm – the paint of Todorovic’s work is thick with defiance against the majority of our modern day demagogues, institutions, and dubious influencers. If your foot is falling on the little guy, then your personage isn’t safe from Todorovic’s wicked scrutiny.

Within his work is the blend of comic styling with compositions often found in religious iconography. Much like the iconic work of Hieronymus Bosch, Todorovic’s work has a tendency to tell hundreds of little stories with one larger story. Every symbol, icon, and visage depicted in his works is expertly placed to expose an injustice, a hypocrisy, or a false truth. One of his more recent works (seen above), paints a rather fair assessment of Boy-King Mark Zuckerberg as a modern day religious zealot.

Todorovic’s work answered the call to our Ello x Blacklisted artist invite in a way that was undeniable. As I put out the call for artists that expressed themselves through the concept of resistance, it was clear from the moment I saw his work, that ‘resistance’ is what Todorovic excels at. Not only is the work provocative and satirical, it is also informed.

“My work speaks about how the righteous anger of the masses can be manipulated by the powerful groups of people, and how they can be used to fight violently for the goals which are not in their own best interest. The flag ironically shows that in the world we are living, more freedom equates with more money – those that do not have the money, do not have a lot of freedom – if any. In order to fight for freedom, one needs to have material means, and those that provide the means effectively, in the end, wind up controlling them for their own selfish goals and purposes.”

Iconostasis of Communism

Iconostasis of Capitalism

After finishing his Masters in Fine Art in Belgrade in 2007, Aleksandar Todorovic took it upon himself to become an active member of the local artist community – serving as a member of the ULUS (Association of Fine Artists of Serbia) and founding an art collective called C4 along with five other Serbian artists. Todorovic’s career has been paved by actions that try and speak to the plight of the little guy – while allowing his own actions as an artist reflect the polar-opposite of that which he depicts in his paintings.

In the mission statement that is put out about his collective C4, it states, “the themes that are interesting to us are sustainable development, human rights, ecology, economy, politics, media, culture – human society in general. Critique and innovative views on the problems in question are highly valued, alongside possible new solutions, unconventional ways of thinking and behaviors.”

All of which makes it apparently clear that outside of his personal work depicting Ronald McDonald as Saint Fester McJester, and Santa Claus as Saint Corporate Nick, there is a seriousness intention behind the way Todorovic thinks and acts in his own personal life.

Buy it All watercolor and acrylic gouache on paper, 65x100cm, 2017.

“All of my personal work is very socially and politically engaged, I explore many of the contemporary issues which are present in our modern time. I explore political systems, history (both local and global), effects of globalism and neo-liberal capitalism, new technologies (internet, social networks, automation, robotics etc.) and their impact on our everyday life. I created my own set of archetypal characters through which i represent my views, placing them in surreal settings, using a mixture of visual styles (pop-surrealism, new contemporary, low brow, Byzantine, cartoonish and illustrative).”

With the socio-political work of Todorovic, there will always be a positive and a negative. The positive is that he will continue to be here to capture the world’s injustices in satirical beauty. The negative is that, with the direction that the world is headed, he will never have a shortage of those injustices to capture.


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