Ilija Soskic

1935 (Decani/Kosovo), lives and works in Rome

Thanks to his sporting achievements in throwing the hammer, Soskic already had the opportunity to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade during Tito’s time. His early work reflects his admiration of the American art of Jackson Pollock and also his examination of French existentialism and Russian theatre; later his art was practically inseparable from his own experience and life.

As of 1969, Soskic lived in Bologna and Rome, where he came into contact with the work of Manzoni and Pascali; as of 1969 he also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 1973 he took part in “trigon 73” in Graz followed, in 1974, by his participation in Art Basel. In 1989 he was awarded a visiting scholarship in Graz and exhibited at Grazer Kunstverein and Galerie Bleich-Rossi. As of 1987 he lived in Dubrovnik and documented the horrors of the Balkan war. Finally, in 1996, he managed to flee to Italy under difficult circumstances. He lives in Italy till today.

He works with installations, objects and also with video, photography and performance. His preferred materials are raw eggs, stone, wax, feathers, steel and railway sleepers. The artist works consciously with symbols with which he links history and myth with the present. With regard to the dynamics and language of his works, he follows the precursors of the conceptual scene. At the end of the 1970s he left the art arena, retreating to Montenegro to prepare certain transformations in the early 1980s. These phases of escape resulted in a lessening of ideological and political aspects in his work. The artistic watershed followed, with the mythological symbol, metacultural and philosophical aspects (Foucault, Nietzsche, Deleuze) gaining importance.

In 2001 the artist exhibited at “steirischer herbst” and in 2004 at the Fridericianum in Kassel. Ilija Soskic’s works are on show at numerous galleries, museums and various festivals in Austria, Italy, Germany and former Yugoslavia. 2008 his artworks are shown in the Museum of 25th May in Belgrad, in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Novi Sad and in the National Museum of Montenegro. In the same year he was - together with Eugenio Barba - award winner of “The actor of Duclea” from the Teuta Theater Festival. In 2009 his exhibition “The Ultimate Avant-garde: New Tendencies and Bit International” was shown in the ZKM Medienmuseum Karlsruhe. In 2010 his works were presented in the Galleria Fonticus in Groznjan and in the Lazareti Art Laboratory in Dubrovnik. In 2011 he created together with Natalija Vujosevic “The Fridge Factory and Clear Waters” - Montenegro`s appearance at the 54th International Biennale of Venice.