Prosperity, happiness and good opportunities. According to the Chinese horoscope, these are the things we should have received last year – in the “year of the pig”. Nemanja Golijanin, one of the most exciting Serbian artists of the younger generation, based his series The Year of the Pig on a cultural phenomenon deeply enrooted in the collective consciousness. Although in art, the pig is often represented as a symbol of happiness or fear and has also been known to symbolise celebration, ridicule and reluctance, the artist exposes it as a mediator between the individual and the world through a contemporary context. In doing so, he composed a story in which the pig is both a tool and metaphor for the insatiability and greed of our modern age, providing us with precise insight into the reality of an individual’s and society’s existence.
Nemanja Golijanin’s works are based on interpretations and analyses of his personal archive: photographs, books and toys, which, through distant memories and past events, gain new meanings and perspectives. He often incorporates symbols of pop culture into his work, enabling him to question the role of the individual and the essence of existence through the medium of humour. He often uses self-portraiture as means of reflection and exposure of the possible, his paintings and drawings projecting and exposing contemplations about identity and his own existence, allowing a mild dose of self-irony to seep through. Despite a subtle hint of resistance, his works are characterised by a mixture of the artist’s liveliness and delicate awareness, while soft, fluid figures and objects through the semantic openness of his works offer a different range of experience and understanding, which uncompromisingly and consistently places contemporary phenomena in a rather disadvantage position.
The artist emphasizes that today we are confronted by representatives of unruly regimes who are destroying established norms and values, while on the other side, we have workers who, despite their personal values, obediently perform their duties under a looming sense of dormant fear. Emerging between the two opposing sides is the pig – perhaps as food or culture – representing, through repetition and characterisation, different groups of people trapped in the same form of absolutism. Disguised within a drawing or painting, the pig is placed, among other things, on the iconic Zastava car or the popular Stojadin, a symbol of happier times. The works thus humorously reflect political and cultural dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs our world finds itself in. Although his message is not limited to the duration of one year, drawing from last year’s “year of the pig” premonitions, the artist maintains, above all, the hope for a brighter future.