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Djordje Prudnikoff


It was the hand of God that joined a Serbian woman and a Russian man, who had come to Serbia as boy, with his parents, after the October Revolution in Russia. So, on April 19th 1939 in Uzice, they got their son Djordje - Djordje Prudnikov.

In 1946 the family moved to Belgrade. After completing his grammar school, Djordje was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts. Few months later he left it to enroll at the Academy of Applied Arts where he graduated in the class of Professor Mihailo Petrov. During his studies Prudnikoff was rewarded several times for graphic design. Graphic (industrial) design was his preoccupation while staying in Wienna, in 1967.

Before leaving for Vienna, after visiting an industrial design exhibition that inspired him, he started to do industrial design himself. It was design of completely new shapes of glasses. In Vienna, he had contacts with Rosenthal, Gralglass and other companies that belonged to Euro "Group 21". They were not only full of compliments for the artist but offered him a cooperation. After 5 months spent in Vienna, he returned to Belgrade for a summer holiday. Nostalgic feelings overwhelmed him and he remained at home.

That was most likely the reason why some of his ideas were used while he was away, and without his approval. One of his ideas even won the "Oscar" for design in 1969 in Germany.

At the International competition for new ideas in furniture design, in 1968 in Italy, he was granted a reward and 3 months scholarship by the company called Sormani from Milan for perfecting himself in furniture design. During and after his studies he was mostly occupied with creations in the field of applied arts and took part in projects for furniture and applied pottery for several well-known Italian enterprises. His work were selected for the ITALIAN DESIGN exhibitions in many European metropolises, and that was the time when Italian design was considered one of the best in the world. While staying in Italy, he established a good cooperation with Gabbianelli (and some others), and achieved his greatest success.

Prudnikoff met many interesting people in Italy, the most impressive contact being with Mr.Dino Gavina, one of the pioneers of industrial design who said that "he had waited for such an Artist" There were remarkable proposals to work in Bologna but, unfortunately, the two distinct personalities had conflicts from the very beginning.

That was unfortunate, of course. As he stayed in Belgrade longer than he planned, he failed to take his chance to realise his project "Habitata", already accepted at the Milano Trienale in 1975, for a well known enterprise "Zanotta" /transparent armchair, armchair in a shape of the sack. In 1976 he had left Italy, and only 18 years later learned abut the reason why Italian authorities had not granted him extended work permit. There was a bad guy who lived in Milan at the same time, and possessed a passport in the name of Prudnikoff. That man loved his painting but had no idea how he affected his life. Prudnikoff's idea was borrowed in Italy as well, and an "armchair - FIELD" won the 1st prize at an international contest, but it was not registered under his name.

In Belgrade, Prudnikoff became famous not only as an artist, but for his whole-page advertisements announced in daily newspapers. These advertisements symbolized his reactions to certain occurrences, whether he approved of them or not. At first, this way of communication with the community represented his discontent with the contemporary art critique that did not accept him, and that, apart from few exceptions, did not win his confidence.

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