Feature: Serbian art students pour life into steel

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-04 06:59:14|Editor: ZD
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BELGRADE, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Metal sculptures, exhibited on Tuesday within the "HBIS Art" project in Belgrade, showed Serbian artists' reflection on the idea that the power of art can bend any material to deliver meanings and impressions.

Art lovers here at the gallery of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Arts in Belgrade gathered to see 11 artworks produced by art students within the practical education project with HBIS Serbia.

HBIS, or Hebei Iron and Steel, is one of the world's largest steelmakers based in northern China's Hebei Province. In 2016, HBIS Serbia took over a steel plant and its 5,000 employees in Smederevo, some 50 km southeast of Serbia's capital Belgrade.

Sculpture "Fishes" captures summer memories of Katarina Boskovic, "Signum" of Filip Djukic represents a head of an eagle, "Thoughts" of Bogdan Djukanovic are large spikes of steel, while his "Emotions" are engraved balls of steel showing strength and fragility at the same time.

These and other sculptures, together with a video and photos will be exhibited here until March 18.

The project started only recently, with an agreement between the Faculty of Fine arts of the University of Arts in Belgrade and HBIS Serbia to launch a metal sculpture workshop, and since then, cooperation between the employees and artist has been flourishing.

The exhibition here at the gallery in Belgrade, crowded by art students and art lovers includes photos of the working process at the steelworks, as well as a documentary film made by students.

Bogdan Djukanovic, an art student who turned his "Thoughts" and "Emotions" into steel sculptures, shared his excitement with time spent at the steelworks in Smederevo.

"The steel is very interesting, because it offers one a wide variety of possibilities to express his emotions. I tried to do just that, and I put my feelings inside these balls of steel, which represents a free shape that can transfer them to another person," he said.

Djukanovic said that, although he prefers to keep emotions to himself, with his two sculptures here he invites audience to examine their own emotions and inner thoughts.

Filip Djukic, another art student of the University of Belgrade, said that the several weeks at the steelworks helped him develop artistically, estimating the environment and atmosphere were inspiring to create art.

"I have never experienced the atmosphere in a big factory, although I have seen them from distance. The impression is much different when one is able to go inside and talk to people, listen to the sounds of machinery, it's quite magical," he said.

"Not many people can understand us artists, and the things we have in mind, on the other hand we have weak understanding of people behind giant machines. This project got us together and they helped us very much," he said.

Miroslav Stokic, an HBIS employee who recently retired after 40 years of working in Smederevo, was in charge of students arriving to conduct their art projects, as their mentor and assistant.

Stokic told Xinhua that the company recognized his work by including him in the HBIS Art project, and enable exchanges with art students.

"For example, this eagle that you can see here, it was just a sketch, the size of a matchbox. We worked with the student to develop the idea, and now it is almost meter in length. I am still happy, even retired, to be a part of the team, and I hope they will need me," he said.

Tatjana Bjelic, Director of public relations department at HBIS Serbia, said that the company decided to put some light into heavy industry and decided to bring their cooperation with art students to a higher level.

"At their faculty, they didn't have to work with such expensive materials as metals, at the Smederevo steelworks they were like in heaven. It was very inspiring for them, and they also brought a new energy into our working environment, with artists and employees here exchanging their experiences," she said.