Artists in the Collection

Milica Zorić
(Split, 1 September 1909 – Belgrade, 5 February 1989)

Milica Zorić was one of the founders of tapestry as an autochthonous discipline within the visual arts on the territory of former Yugoslavia. She achieved an original expression in tapestry in the second half of the twentieth century. The artistic heritage of the family of Nadežda and Rastko Petrović, as well as that of her father, Svetozar Zorić, painter and collector had a significant influence on her creative development. She started her studies in painting and art history in Belgrade before World War II when her interests turned towards revolutionary ideology. She spent the pre-war years mainly as an underground activist in Belgrade, Prague and Paris, and the war years in concentration camps such as Jasenovac, Lobor-grad and Banjica. Only in 1953, at a mature age, did she begin to reveal herself first through literary work and glass-painting, and from 1957 she started working – actively and with dedication – on tapestry as a creative act, stimulated by an inner impulse and the revival of tapestry in Europe, which was started by the French painter
Jean Lurçat in the nineteen-thirties. The suggestive accentuation of man, his nature, state and destiny, stimulated by different causes, were the crux and the constant quality of her rich opus, authentic and independent from the traditional ideas about this medium. A significant role in that context is also played by her truly extraordinary iconography which
she used to create her scenes and which came into existence as Milica Zorić was faced with her own emotions and memories, and this iconography is also a key to interpreting her art – symbolic, surreal and dramatically-narrative in their concept, but expressive and archaic-naïve in their expression. There is a synergy between her themes and motifs and the techniques and materials she uses: whether it refers to her works created by the use of embroidery and applying collage fragments of folk embroidery and weaving (late fifties and the sixties) or a needlepoint weave on a loom, when the figures vanish almost completely and the tapestry itself becomes an entity of structured interwoven
threads (the first half of the seventies, marked by an intense cooperation with “Atelje 61” in Novi Sad). Milica Zorić showed the necessary respect for the decorative concept of the tapestry as a visual and tactile medium by making clever use of the elementary features of the matter.