Untitled (Black Star), 1999, Ludwig Collection (MUMOK), Vienna

Uroš Đurić (Serbian Cyrillic: Урош Ђурић; born December 4, 1964) is a Serbian conceptual artist, actor and painter based in Belgrade. He studied art history at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy and painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. In 1980, he took part in Belgrade punk movement by joining Urbana Gerila as a drummer. Đurić became an active participant of the Belgrade art scene since 1989 by founding the Autonomist (anti)movement together with Stevan Markuš. In 1994 they published the “Autonomism Manifesto”. During the 1990s he often appears in feature films, works as graphic designer and as DJ at Academy night club, known as The Hole. Contributor to several documentaries and underground comics publishing. Founder of Remont gallery & art magazine. From 1992 to 2010 he collaborated with Belgrade Radio B92.

Uroš Đurić’s strong presence in the popular media as a public personality, and his very charismatic appearance, constitute the major obstacles in grasping the specificity of the discourses he develops in order to intervene in the field of contemporary art and culture. What usually happens when his works, especially the ones that feature images of himself, are interpreted without insight into the grammar of visual language and into the conceptual strategies he uses, can easily be designated as a “naturalistic mistake”. It consists of equating micro-histories of his personal biography, as the biography of an empirical person who is the author of certain artworks, with the narratives that make up the visual content of those works, and with the features of the represented characters. The fact that he gets engaged with popular culture both in the fields of subcultures and of cultural industries (as an actor, radio host, underground punk musician), and in the field of critical and experimental visual art (as an author who recycles samples and schematics of popular culture in his work, which is mostly figural) gets condensed into a view of his works as functioning as “the organic representations” of those mechanisms of cultural production and of those subcultures.

“It is about the projection of personality as a mediator of ideas”, said Uroš Đurić in an interview published in 1996, explaining the role of his own image in the paintings he was producing at the time, adding that the “self-portrait makes it a historically determined model, the specific feature being that, in this case, the image of the author is activated as a part of the content by being included in the representation”. From this quote, it is quite clear that, at least on the level of intentionality, the image of the author is not used as a simple mirror-image of himself or of his identity belongings and affiliations, but as a tool for conceptual manoeuvres. Therefore, Uroš Đurić may appear as an “organic intellectual”, in the sense of visually codifying and making more coherent, presenting and making more broadly present in the public, a specific shared non-hegemonic and, both culturally and socially, underrepresented world-view “in a way that is directive and organizational, i.e. educative, i.e. intellectual”, but he does not do that as someone who enters the field of art from the outside. He does that as an artist fully belonging to it, and being formed by it, and within it. Thereby, he acts in a synthetic manner, as a link between the life worlds where minor cultures are developed, and the elitist art world, as defined in its hegemonic role. Uroš Đurić even made that clear himself in a discussion with the local art critic and art journalist Danijela Purešević, by stating the following: “I use figuration the way Duchamp used ready-made. I use figuration dually. And I am not a figurative painter. I am a pure conceptualist”.