Journey to the Mountain.
Aquarelles by 26 Serbian artists depicting the Holy Mountain.
Exhibition of the Mount Athos Art Archive,
Ierissos (Chalkidiki) 2015
The exhibition “Journey to the Mountain”
The idea for the “Journey to the Mountain” exhibition arose from the friendship and companionship between my father, Pero Acimovic and Dragomir Todorovic, a great expert on Athonite life, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the spiritual life of Hilandari (1198-1998). The initial aim was a small, simple exhibition of water colours. As time went by, however, ever more water colours were presented and these exuded inconceivable energy. We all wondered who we were, where our roots lay and where we were going.
The conviction of our spirituality and immortality was reflected in these aquarelles. The names ceased to be important. Of greater importance was the desire of ordinary people to contribute to the vision of unity between Orthodox peoples. As a technique, aquarelle was the best choice, because it is the most sincere. It cannot be repeated. Its transparency and truth are compatible with the idea of the Holy Mountain.
Through this exhibition, anyone who has not been to the Holy Mountain will want to visit it, while those who know it will want to return. As Dragomir Todorovic says: “The Holy Mountain is not remote and enclosed in the past, destined only to preserve memories; it is living history, in which our own time can leave its traces”. I hope that the “A” Gallery has left some trace and that you will participate in this iconographical journey. I hope that the aquarelles and the Holy Mountain will always surprise and excite you as much as they did the first time.
Owner of the “A” Gallery, Belgrade
The idea of presenting an exhibition of selected paintings by artistically inspired pilgrims to the Holy Mountain, was born at the time of the celebrations of the eight hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Holy Monastery of Hilandari. This event determined that the artists would draw their subject matter mostly from the monastery, in correlation with the personal spiritual ties of each one with the Holy Mountain.
Through the efforts of the organizing body, the “A” Gallery in Belgrade, which specializes in aquarelles, 26 artists presented works painted with the aquarelle technique, who in their own way made their own statement about the Athonite landscape, light and stillness. The works were either painted on the Holy Mountain or inspired by it. This is why the exhibition also includes artists who were unable actually to visit it.
Given this initial concept, then, the exhibition moved on from its inauguration in the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade and toured another ten cities in Serbia and the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina. In the state of war which obtained in 1999 on Serbian soil, its missionary journey was halted. In the end, thanks to the assistance so cordially extended by the venerable monks of the Monastery of Simonopetra, the exhibition completed its journey, ending it in its natural environment under the protection of the Holy Mountain. The recent fire at the Monastery of Hilandari further underlines its importance.
The exhibition in Thessaloniki in 2006 and now in Ierissos, through the care and effort expended by its Greek organizers, rests on the highest values of the deep historical proximity between the Greek and Serbian peoples, as yet another symbol reinforcing and enriching it.
With heartfelt thanks and belief in the One God,
Art historian, artist