Jagoda Buić

Jagoda Buić, my great imaginary friend

For the first time I saw the so-called spatial tapestries (monumental textile installations) in the Tate Gallery in early 2023, at the Magdalena Abakanovich exhibition. Tapestry never appealed to me as an favorite artistic discipline, but these were representations of living beings with arms and legs, each with a wing or a third ear, with oversized organs in which the secrets of the ancestors sleep.
And much more than that.
Tapestries in the space in black or red cloth, wool that smell of the stories of the first revolutionaries women.

That’s how I came to our Jagoda Buić, an artist who contributed to the craft category of weaving, traditionally associated with the feminine, closed and extremely intimate area, to be discovered in a new way and translated into art of the highest rank. Already in the mid-sixties of the last century, her tapestry left the sphere of applied art, which until then was still largely close to folklore.

Magdalena and Jagoda exhibited together, but I found out about that only later.

Everything started with monumental installations, but I quickly became enchanted by the nature of Jagoda Buić, her life energy and seduction that simply stuck to all the people who knew her.

She was a real diva. A woman who was followed, listened to, admired and everyone was a little bit in love with her.

I started dreaming about her and hanging out with her in our own imaginary world. Her voice has become my best mantra, her energy and incredible female strength support in everything I do. She looked like my mom, like some brave women in Montenegro and Dalmatia.

We started travelling together. She showed me her hidden places in Dubrovnik, told me stories about the history of this city and the important people who guarded it. Because of Jagoda, I went into a time machine and watched performances at the Dubrovnik Summer Games in the 60s. She slipped into her costumes – tapestries in which the actors probably got heat stroke while proudly playing the heroes of Shakespeare’s plays in Lovrijenac. Jagoda did not make concessions, always radical, the creator of nature on stage, theatre, gallery or ours, on the terrace of the house in Dubrovnik where we listened to the fairies playing some strange instruments at night in a thick forest of hair. In Provence, Venice, Paris, in all her spaces where she turned stone or rock into a warm artistic space.

Then one day I was called by a wonderful young woman, Teodora Delic. Somehow she felt my connection with Jagoda so she proposed to connect me with a man who was Jagoda’s close friend.

So I went to Srbobran to meet Milivoj Ljubinković, a painter who lived in Paris for a long time and was Jagoda’s dear friend and admirer. At his house with Teodora and Jagoda, we eat everything in order but in the French way, because Milivoj is not only our dizzyingly interesting host and storyteller, but also an excellent cook infected with French recipes.

Milovoj is talking, he can barely catch his breath from his agitated emotions, I interrupt him every now and then because I don’t know what to ask him first. Jagoda smiles, sometimes she winks or rolls her eyes at me as if to tell me that we are exaggerating, and yet she is also glad that we dig into her life’s bravado.

So, there were and will be great artists in this world with special stories and inspirations, but Jagoda has everything that makes you want to write a novel or stay in your imagination forever.

She told Milivoj how she met her husband.

In those 80s, Jagoda already had a successful international career and her works won a lot of awards and travelled to major galleries around the world. Nevertheless, Jagoda desperately wanted to exhibit in New York. She asked her friends how to get the money, who to contact, and someone jokingly said that the best thing to do was to ask the World Bank in New York (they must have a budget). Jagoda scheduled a meeting with the vice-president Hans Wuttke, showed him her works and her independent nature with which she overcomes the harsh hierarchy of the art world. Of course, he said he would pay whatever was due. She picked up the works, headed for the elevator, and then stopped and recognized in herself that something that changes the direction of our lives. “I can’t leave. There’s something about that man that makes me want to come back. The exhibition is not all I need to get from him”.
And she came back. And then the two were never parted again.

February 8, 2011
From the diary of Jagoda Buić

“I could sing you my life. With the fiddle. Close your eyes and look at the matter from the inside.
So that the poem goes “from generation to generation”, to be purified, condensed and only wisdom remains.
And why wisdom? Is she needed and is she expected from me? Why not feelings or reactions or comments or thoughts or encounters or desires, regrets, bitterness and hope.
Why is this biography being written? To whom? I wish I knew that.”

I entwined my threads in her works, spun many times in both directions and now I am wrapped in those strings of Jagoda’s magic, protected by the aura of my great imaginary friend.

* Until 26.2.2024. in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, you can see the exhibition Jagoda Buić “Essence of thread”

The characters and events in this story are partly fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons or events is intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.

Art works
Theater costumes
House in Provence
At Milivoj place for lunch
Share with your people
Nataša Nikodijević Savin
Curated by Nataša

Producer (by degree and DNA structure).
A creative leader in business.
Entrepreneur. An artist. Curator and narrator.
Multitasking talent. Improviser. The inventor.



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