Ars Sacra

Irrevocable Escape into Meaning
This Momčilo Fundup is a painter who doesn’t care whether the colors are oil, pastel or any other, as long as they are before him, and his painting world immediately finds its place in the whiteness of the canvas, seductive as vice and pure as morning

By: Drago Božović

Момчило ФундупOne would think that two beautiful rivers die in the place they meet. The Piva and the Tara. In fact, it is a place of birth, not a place of death, since two green colors, two impetuous mountain rivers, one emerald and the other turquoise, continue as one, just born, the Drina. There, from that place, whether of death or of birth, if one would dare go through the forest, through the deep carpets of fallen leaves, over rapid streams, over entangled roots, as if going through semidarkness, because only high up the sky can be seen, and a small part of the sun, through everything in heavy, multilayered colors, one would reach the village of Velenići. One would reach the place of origin of our painter, of the colors building Fundup’s painting world before our eyes, not too far from the confluence, not too far from birth and death, not to far from the place where frivolous trout bathe, while light refracts in their scales in hundreds of thousands of different ways.
Those continuous color changes, thousands of changes in a small part of the day, those continuous transformations of everything alive, as we discovered, are the strength which initiates and forces creation, inscribing into the map of human memory. And we know everything, but still know a little, one should possess that gift of creation, it is probably inhaled with the drops of dew, with the heavy smoke of the still not lighted fire in the bottom of the room, with destiny which finely spins each of our future days like a spider spins its web.
What the critics call singing and poeticized reality, what they call artistic poetics, is named with simple everyday words in normal life. Sometimes they are spiced with a smile, sometimes with anger, but they are always simple, although carefully measured, so that they wouldn’t accidentally hurt a refined soul, so that they wouldn’t hurt the whiteness of the space being painted, where everything finds its only and right place.
The color of the moss, then the tree bark, toasted in the sun, washed by the rain, shackled by frost, then the color of the stone under a shallow layer of clear water, then the glow in the eye of an eagle, the unrest of a fawn, and the passion of a hunter. Then the stories from the depths of time about people and their destinies, about wars, palaces, the most terrible fear and the easiness of sacrifice. All this is in Fundup’s paintings. A cunning one, he wanted to hide into symbols and colors the images leafed before him through legends in late winter nights, until frosty mornings and the day of departure, far away, into the big cities. A bird in the painting – a voice, a face of a beautiful girl – longing, the horse’s mane – memory of himself free, a lute – a gentle call into the peace of endless forests, then again a face of a beautiful girl with hair of mysterious herbs going down into the landscapes of dreams – eternity.


The window is a frequent motif in Fundup’s paintings. The window from the house and the window of the house.
The window of the house for a curious one, for one longing for warmth, intimacy lost along the way, taken away little by little through space and time. And how to reach it, how to return peacefulness of one’s own piece of the world, how to anticipate the stage of the personal which is not for someone else’s eye and curiosity. To that window, as if to an altar, the painter offers the most beautiful flowers, fruits, and only mildly indicated loneliness.
The window from the house is full of light, but closed. Therefore, what is considered most valuable, most personal, most intimate and most precious is jealously hidden. That window is also encircled with offerings made of beautiful flowers, various kinds of fruit, wonderful woven baskets.
What the depth of the eye is for the soul, a window is to the house. The one we could return to if it isn’t too late, if we haven’t, accidentally, lost ourselves forever.


Taught by the natural state of things, by what he had learned by watching while the soul was still curious and pure, he patiently and slowly embroiders his paintings, continuously and forcefully enriches them. He suffocates each hollow ray in them, each empty and senseless space, resisting the speed of a big city of lost people, the deafening clamor, the human conversations made pointless to the extent that they are called only communication, which doesn’t imply neither tone nor color, neither passion nor indifference, neither joy nor sorrow. Such is his painting, both his and our escape into meaning, into the common and humanly warm.
There are many ways to explain someone’s painting. There are many artistic streams which define, classify, estimate. However, we always think, there is something else which is impossible to describe so simply, there is a layer, deep, too deep, which gives everything another meaning, a significance, which can be reached only with an open soul, without fear and without prejudice.
When one comes out of Momo Fundup’s studio, from the space of murmurs, shapes and colors, from the peacefulness of complete equilibrium, one confronts the grayness, the meaningless nervous hustle, the cars that persecute, the trams running at you, and one just wishes to go back, immediately, straight away. However, just as that world opens up before you, it also closes, politely and quietly.


Born in Foča (Srbinje) in 1954. He graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Moma Marković. He further studied in Bonn. He lives and creates in Belgrade.
Significant independent exhibitions: Belgrade, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Subotica, Niš, Ruma, Herceg Novi.
He participated in all significant collective exhibitions in our country, as well as in Moscow, Berlin, Bologna, Cologne, Paris, Japan and the US.
Among the numerous awards he received for his work, we will mention the ones dearest to the painter: the “Djordje Andrejević Kun” award, “May 1st” award, the Prize at the International exhibition in Zagreb, the prize for portrait in Tuzla, for sculpture in Zaječar and for miniature at the Biennale in Gornji Milanovac.


Analysis of Light
Radmila Vlatković, art historian:
“Thematically, they are landscapes, still-lifes, compositions with woven forms corresponding to his gesture and with coloring by which his analysis coagulates lights into a solid, dynamic, expressive tissue. The color is a portative element, while the atmosphere of sfumato is increased by a unique haze, with shapes bathing in space. In this case, the landscape is not a panoramic presentation, it is more an elaboration of an ambient fragment.”


Contours of Nostalgia
Zdravko Vučinić, gallerist and critic:
“Directed mostly toward motifs which, with their reminiscence, initiate certain nostalgia in the observer, it seems that the artworks of Momčilo Fundup emerge spontaneously, like an internal vision told in a unique manner of narration and with a spirit fitting the world which inspires the painter.”

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