Nevena Popovic


Ilaria Specos
Phone: +49 89 51689793 

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Combining different art media, my attention is in the problem of individuals in complex circumstances, where personal interests are intertwined with society’s expectations. I am focused on psychological states of individuals, to their fears, doubts, hopes, expectations and other burden that they carry during lifetime journey.




Graduate and MA studies completed at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Department of Sculpture. As a recipient of the WUS AUSTRIA grant was a guest student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. She is currently doing her PhD studies in art, at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade. She exhibited, initiated and participated in numerous artistic and educational projects in Serbia and abroad. Lives and works in Belgrade and Kosovska Mitrovica. 


2016  Award of XX Spring Annals, What is Our Passing Time?, House of Culture Čačak, Serbia

2014 "Bogomil Karlavaris Award" for exceptional results and special contribution in the domain of art education for children and young people, The Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade and the Children’s Cultural Centre in Belgrade


Olivera Erić, What's the Big Rush?
No Clocks Strikes for Happy One, exhibition catalog
Art Gallery, Cultural Centre of Belgrade, August 2015

This exhibition of Nevena Popović’s works, being based on a sculptural interpretation of the time phenomenon, examines the impact of technology on the development of modern society.

According to the artist, the clock is a key machine of the modern industrial age. It has changed its form and function in accordance with the technological advancement of society. Firstly, we had tuned the rhythm of our own time with the sunlight in earliest periods of history; then we synchronized our time with ticking of a clock; today we are adjusting ourselves to the time shift of numbers on the screens of our TV, computer and mobile phone. The evolution of the clock, ranging from a natural form, through a metal mechanism, to a virtual screen was accompanied concurrently by a shift from our physical perception of time to the mechanical one, i.e. digital timing, which led to a change in the way we see speed. "In today’s society, it seems that waiting does not exist any longer. Life means speed and satisfaction here and now."1

Unconstrained acceleration of life and work brings an individual, at one point, into a situation when she/he starts consuming her/himself, because she/ he often thinks mistakenly that the speed of New Age will help her/him escape death. In reality, it is usually just the opposite: speed brings us even closer to death. "The paradox is that an individual, sees her/himself as a master who completely controls her/his own life, on one hand; on the other hand, the same individual ends up on the path of destruction in a split of a second - excessive alcohol use, drugs, excessive shopping, workaholism etc..."2

Nevena Popović’s works at this exhibition are warning us that our rushing will lead us directly to our destruction, pointing out that we need to "slow down" our life in the time that is "consuming" us rapidly. Therefore, the artist’s sculptural installations at the gallery venue bring the exhibition display closer to the theme of memento mori (remember (that you have) to die). These installations with their composite order, where a vertical dominates, evoke the inner mechanisms of tower clocks. The clock running mechanism and clock weights are highlighted by various images of nature in the artist’s works, whereas a reminder of us being mortal creatures whose lives are "ticking" rapidly toward their imminent end is presented with motifs of animal (bird) skulls, withered flowers and leaves, as well as anthropomorphic forms.

While the sculptural installations resemble the running mechanisms of tower clocks, Nevena Popović creates a new composition in her assemblages, set on the gallery walls, by means of combining the dismantled elements of a clock mechanism (metal wheels, dials with numbers, hour and minute hands).

Nevena Popović creates her assemblages, using two different types of material: solid, durable, mechanically cut metal, on one hand, and soft, weathered, hand-moulded clay, on the other, in order to illustrate the contrast between the technological advancement of society and the  images of nature, which is epitomised in two opposite materials. This opposition is highlighted also by the way in which the exhibited form has been created. So, the metal clock wheels, resembling a portable clock mechanism, are mass-produced objects, whereas the ceramic shapes of clothing are individual and originally fashioned creations.

The artist depicts our experiences of the flow of time with these contrast combinations of motifs and materials in her assemblages. Our experiences are tied no longer to the natural rhythms which surround us; they are rather calculated mechanically by hours, minutes and seconds today. Technology has become our new, comprehensive living environment, as nature once used to be. According to the filmmaker Godfrey Reggio, technology is not something that we use; it has become something that we are living and what we are turning into now. "[...] If our environment itself is technological, if we don’t use technology, if we live it, breathe like the air that is ubiquitous, then we become that environment."3

Nevena Popović portrays the notion that human beings are being transformed into their technological environment through the figures of idols. Created on the principles of assemblage and sculptural installation, set up in the gallery venue, these idols as anthropomorphic clock mechanisms are announcing some future cyborg combinations of the organic and the mechanical. Furthermore, the constructions of these idols, created on the ruins of nature, from the rational order of technology, similar to Eduardo Paolozzi’s machine-tool sculptures 4, "are functioning" in a society where mental processes have a tendency to reach the level of technological stability. But, unlike Paolozzi, who wanted with this formulation of "idol" to "breathe in" some soul into his sculptures-machines, Nevena Popović implies with her sculptural representations of idols that the soul has been lost. "[...] The end’s already occurred, we’re living in the aftershock of the event, and that’s what I mean about being hopeless this order[...]"5

Therefore, we should "stop", i.e. "slow down", at once the acceleration of our lives. According to the theorist Renate Salecl, one way of "slowing down" may be found in a game of tag between parents and their children. "A parent will run fast for a while, but she/he will slow down at some point in order to allow her/ his child to catch her/him. Here, slowing down is victory, which a loving parents wants to offer as a gift to her/his child. Although they do not slow down really, both the parent and the child will appreciate it very much."6

Nevena Popović presents her way of "slowing down life", in order to prolong it, with a metal sculpture where she dismantles her own figure in motion into 7 representations. The British photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who invented a device called zoopraxiscope, i.e. an early movie projector, was interested also in the successive order of the human figure in motion. Unlike Muybridge, who aimed to achieve as realistic motion as possible with successive shots of the human figure in motion, Nevena Popović is trying to "stop", i.e. to "slow down", the accelerated rhythm of life’s reality with the successively lined representations of her own body in motion, executed in metal. Nevena Popović advises us with her steps of slowing down that, although we are living in a technological world of speed, we do not have to follow the processes of life acceleration. Pointing out that we are becoming fatally addicted to speed, the artist is warning us with her exhibition that the price we are paying today for our present technological "bliss" is too high.

1 Salecl, Renata (2010). ‘Opskurnost žurbe’[ The Equivocality of Rush]. Zenica: Zeničke sveske, Časopis za društvenu fenomenologiju i kulturnu dijalogiku, J.U. Bosansko narodno pozorište – Zenica, December 2010, p. 150

2 Idem, p. 51

3 Godfrij Redja [Godfrey Reggio], Koyaanisqatsi: Govori i intervjui 2003 - 2011 [ Koyaanisqatsi: Speeches and Interviews 2003 - 2011]. Translation in Serbian available from: . The original quote available from:

4 Rid, Herbert [Read, Herbert]. Istorija modern sculpture [A Concise History of Modern Sculpture], translation into Serbian, Belgrade, 1966, p. 236

5 Godfrij Redja [Godfrey Reggio], Koyaanisqatsi: Govori i intervjui 2003 - 2011 [ Koyaanisqatsi: Speeches and Interviews 2003 - 2011]. Translation in Serbian available from: . The original quote available from:

6 Salecl, Renata. Op.cit, p. 150



Jelena Krivokapić, There Is No World, Only Islands.., exhibition catalog
Sales Gallery "Belgrade", April, 2008. 

“There is no world anymore: there is no mundus, no cosmos nor a harmonious and complete order from whose interior one could find the place, habitat or elements of orientation. Or once again, there is no world “down here” through which one could pass on the way towards that which is above or apart of this world. The Spirit of the World does not exist any more as there is no history that can judge events. In other words, there is no sense of the world anymore.”

Jean-Luc Nancy, Le sens du monde, Galilée, Paris, 1993


Not claiming to explain the reasons for the loss of orientation in the World nor the lack of feeling for a unique Spirit of the World, an artistic invention, at the most, aspires to grasp the articulation of the perception of time that took part in the creation of our feeling for that world.

Nevena Popović attempts to illuminate the perception of time in all its manifestations by a specific fragmentation of movement in sculpture. In the works made since 2005 different formations of the wheel, rotating machines, wings or different aircrafts represent newly created sculptural bodies that as models in scientific laboratories demonstrate the initial energy of flight and movement. The hypothetical fuel that makes them move is their interior, as in the superimposed planes of film editing, that anticipates the flow of social operations of the organic community in constant movement. Walkers, individuals who do sport activities or make telephone calls, different consumers, sleepers, hitch hikers – are “caught” in successive planes of a singular frame and the routine movement in a straight line. The reality they live in is materially flooded by the dictum of a continual spectacle. Since the specific agents in the “frame” are missing, the initial movement is maintained by a system of phantom pulsating pneumatic motorcar shock absorbers or rotating office chairs. Each attempt to emancipate movement returns to the metric of the imaginary mechanical equilibrium defined by some external clock that would always return the system back to its place and its fixed positions.

Nevena Popović only indirectly deals with what connects ones experiences of community in Foucault’s panoptic conditionality of it surveyed space and the restricted actions of the individual. In an artistic interpretation, the transparent cages and small theatre stages, focused on the anticipation of intention or its agents desires in the circumstances of being additionally parceled out and in the endless perspective layering define places of constant time delays or auto sanctioning of the action itself. Excess of time defined by this extreme schedule and events which overtake us, prevent us from giving meaning to the near past and immobilizes all our future actions. Even if were able to imagine an interpersonal scenario between these figures “caught” in the simultaneous planes of escape, meetings and passing by each other, in a time of potential fear, expectation, hope, boredom or alienation – nothing secures their relocation from one space to the other, the qualitative transfer from one “state” into another or into the space of direct contact.

The question that remains open is the one that tests our sense of the world as a simultaneous perception of numerous micro worlds. It also test, our emancipation of experiencing the world where the observer and the observed would constantly be in touch with each other and where each act of observing would take part in the evolution of one and the other.




Ich arbeite mit

  • Keramik
  • Installation
  • Metall
  • Mixed media
  • Stein
  • Textil
  • Video


2018          The Time Collectors, Remont Gallery, Belgrade

2015           No Clocks Strike for the Happy Ones, Art Gallery, Cultural Centre of Belgrade

2015          One’s own time, Students’ Cultural Centre, Kragujevac

2011          Outside the Marked Path, Student’s Cultural Center, New Belgrade

2010          Never or Next Time (with Milena Putnik), Gallery of Contemporary Art, Smederevo

2009          On the Way Back, Gallery of Contemporary Art Pancevo

2008          Passing, Modern Gallery, Lazarevac

2008          There is No World, Only Islands..., Sales Gallery “Belgrade”

2007          Strata 2, Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, Belgrade

2007          Never or Next Time (with Milena Putnik), Student’s Cultural Center, New Belgrade

2006          Strata 1, Gallery Zvono, Belgrade

2005          Knight Errant, Cultural Center, Sopot

2002          Ring, Gallery SULUJ, Belgrade

Video works:

2004          Carambole, video work, BELEF, Barutana

2003          Abyss, video work, BELEF, Summer stage Kalemegdan


2017       Soft Sculpture - Hard Thoughts, SULUJ Gallery, Belgrade

2017       Landscape in a Box in a Landscape, Student’s Cultural Center, New Belgrade

2017       Sculptors of Serbia, Art Pavilion "Cvijeta Zuzorić", Kalemegdan, Belgrade

2017       Sculpture-network NYB 17, Art Pavilion "Cvijeta Zuzorić", Kalemegdan, Belgrade

2016       What is Our Passing Time?, XX Spring Annals, House of Culture Čačak, Serbia

2016      Nature as Material for Sculpture, SULUJ Gallery, Belgrade

2015       Overbooked, Harry Wood Gallery/School of Art, Herberger Institute for Design and

               the Arts, Arizona State University

2014      IV International Art and Culture Symposium, Waste Materials Will Be Transformed

              into Permanent Art Project, Kartal Municipality Building, Istanbul, Turkey

2014     Derivatives of Graphic Print, Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia

2013     Faculty of Arts, University of Priština - 40 Years, Faculty of Arts Gallery, Kosovska


2013     International Conference and Exhibition On Architecture, Gallery of Science and

             technology, Belgrade, Serbia

2013     Art Salon, Progres Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia

2013     From - To (ProArtOrg), Magacin, Belgrade Youth Center, Belgrade, Serbia

2013     Sales Gallery “Belgrade” - 50 years, Sales Gallery “Belgrade”, Serbia

2013     About Identities - XVII Spring Annals, House of Culture Čačak, Serbia

2013     ELAN 2013, KPZ (Penitentiary) Sombor, Serbia

2013     Vidovdan (Art Colony and Exhibition), House of Culture Gračanica

2012     Let's Consume Consumerism! Arta Terma, Italy

2012     Icebreaker, Aula Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic

2012     Walking Through... Belgrade, Gallery na_daLokal, Vienna, Austria





Nevena Popovic




















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