Vasko Popa – Far Within Us: 2022

Author of the exhibition:

Bojan Kundačina i Marjan Marinković

Exhibition design:

Dejan Dačić

Exhibition on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vasko Popa

The exhibition was created to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the most significant and translated modern Serbian poet Vasko Popa (1922-1991). The exhibition visually approaches Popa’s work in an innovative way. It consists of 23 large-format panels, primarily circular shapes reminiscent of Popa’s famous symbolic circles. The panels show excerpts from the most important texts dedicated to Popa’s work, selected Popa’s songs that illustrate his poetics, photographs, drawings, manuscripts and other material. Thanks to the SASA Archive, which houses the legacy of Vasko Popa, the exhibition also includes archival materials that were not available to the general public until now. An extensive catalogue accompanies the exhibition.


The cycle “Daleko u nama” belongs to “Kora”, Vaska Popa’s first collection of poems, and at the same time, as the last cycle, closes it. The songs from this cycle were written from 1943 to 1951; some of Popa’s first songs are among them. According to the poet’s first idea, which he later modified, the songs from the cycle “Daleko u nama” were supposed to open the mentioned collection. Songs from that cycle also thematically occupy a special place in Kora; they are different from the poems from Popa’s later collections, up to the collections “Kuća nasred druma”, “Živo meso” and “Rez”, in which the poet returns to a more personal theme, such as the one in the cycle “Daleko u nama”. Viewed this way, we have a circularity in Popa’s creativity from the first to the last collections of songs. On the other hand, the songs from “Nepočin-polje”, “Sporedno nebo”, “Uspravna zemlja” and “Vučja so” deal with themes from Slavic mythology, the Serbian Middle Ages and folklore, plunging into alchemy and using a rich layer of symbols and archetypes – all of which make something that is far within us.


Popa’s poetry had an exceptional reception during the poet’s lifetime and is still continuously active today. Various books, doctoral dissertations, anthologies, numerous essays and reviews in magazines were dedicated to her. Popa is one of our few poets who carried the aura of world fame, whose verses were translated and read throughout all meridians. Popa spoke little about his songs, but that’s why not only literary scholars wrote about them, but, which is not often the case, many great poets – Octavio Paz, Ted Hughes, Charles Simić, Miodrag Pavlović, Stevan Raičković, Josif Brodsky, etc.


For this exhibition, condensed excerpts were selected from the abundance of existing texts on Popa’s poetry and the three anthologies he edited, which are undoubtedly significant for understanding his poetics. There is also a selection from Popa’s poetry itself as a small picture of his creative oeuvre. All this in the hope that something substantial can be found in the fragment, that based on the properties of the water in the glass, it can be explained, or at least guessed, the sea from which it was caught.


The exhibition can be viewed here.

The catalogue can be viewed here.