BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Embracing the Accidental

Trajković Collection – Belgrade, Serbia

Mrđan Bajić, ’Belfry’, 1986
Mrđan Bajić, ’Belfry’, 1986

In a famous interview with the journalist, William Wright, Jackson Pollock is quoted as saying that his work is a denial of the accidental: “I don’t use the accident … I deny the accident”, Pollock states with characteristic grandiloquence. To hear the founders of the Trajković Collection, Daniel and Slavic Trajković, discuss the origins of their collection, the accidental can prove equally fortuitous for collectors as it may be for painters. Asked by the BMW Art Guide why they collect, they replied “The truth is we never knew the real reasons”. However the collection came into being, the embrace of the accident of its birth has served the Trajković Collection well, as it is now understood to be the largest private collection in Serbia. The collection’s formidable size and the interests of the Trajkovićs in the post-war period of Serbian art means that the collection is both focused and encompassing; it is a collection with a highly specific identity, but also one which retains a sense of adventure and openness.

Zoran Grebenarović, ’Ugh I’, 1987
Zoran Grebenarović, ’Ugh I’, 1987
Dušan Otašević, ’Yes Sir’, 1966
Dušan Otašević, ’Yes Sir’, 1966

The time period on which the collection concentrates showcases the dialogues that existed between Serbian artists and other global trends and developments. Possibly the most familiar name to audiences inside and outside of Serbia from the collection will be that of Dušan Otašević. Otašević’s work traces the history of aesthetic developments in contemporary Serbia with quality of acceptance that brooks few rivals, and is perhaps best known for his dialogues with Pop Art from the 1960s. The Trajković Collection holds some of the most engaging examples of Otašević’s Pop works including the diptych, Yes Sir!. In the work, Otašević’s overloaded ice cream cone, which sits in blank, white space, on one panel is joined by an oddly melancholic tongue in another. It is a tongue that will never taste the ice cream beside it, or even be permitted to settle quietly back inside of a mouth as Otašević’s image depicts no lower row of teeth or jaw. Otašević’s hilarious, somewhat disturbing works, To Eat and To Drink also feature in the collection, imagining systems of the body as something between industrial structures and traffic conduits. This sense of the humorous uncanny infuses not only Otašević’s work, but also that of other key figures in the Trajković Collection. Radomir Reljić’s work also explores the body as a site of tragedy, comedy and incompletion.

Bora Iljovski, ’Personal Escort’, 1981
Bora Iljovski, ’Personal Escort’, 1981
Predrag-Peđa Nešković, ’Porcelain figurines’, 1980
Predrag-Peđa Nešković, ’Porcelain figurines’, 1980
Saša Marković Mikrob, ’Političke Partije’, 1990/91
Saša Marković Mikrob, ’Političke Partije’, 1990/91

Another important strand in the collection’s holdings is an emphasis on the role of performance as a discourse in Serbian art. The collection includes works by Era Milivojević in which the artist can be seen duct taping the legendary Serbian performance artist and contemporary global icon, Marina Abramović, to a bed. In another image, Milivojević is seen taping his own reflection in a mirror. There is a haunting quality to works like these, evoking the determination toward futile preservation of the moment for which art and history so often strive. Along with Milivojević works, this era of adventure and possibility in Serbian art is represented by photo documentation of a performance by Neša Paripović, entitled From the Movie in which the artist is depicted striding purposefully off a section of iron fencing onto a rooftop like a combination of Leonard Cohen and Jason Bourne. The work not only depicts an important (literal and figurative) moment in Serbian art, but also represents the dialogues between western cinema and art movements like the New York downtown scene of the late 1970s and the former Yugoslavia. Pioneering feminist works by Katalin Ladik are also included in the collection. In these images, the viewer finds Ladik standing behind a spinning bicycle wheel, perhaps subverting, or furthering the notion of the Duchampian readymade.

Božica Rađenović, ’Revealing’, 1989
Božica Rađenović, ’Revealing’, 1989
Katalin Ladik, ’Ballad of the Silver Bicycle’, 1969
Katalin Ladik, ’Ballad of the Silver Bicycle’, 1969

If the Trajković Collection was born by accident, it has reached a level of maturity that few collections in the region can rival. Happily, the collectors share a commitment to ensuring the works are seen and circulated widely, providing contributions to numerous regional shows and exhibitions as far afield as Newcastle in the UK. The story it tells is one about the history of Serbia, but it is also a story of Serbia’s future, the present one, and also the infinity of possible others.

William Kherbek is the writer of the novel "Ecology of Secrets" (2013, Arcadia Missa) and "UltraLife" (2016, Arcadia Missa). His art journalism has appeared in a number of publications in the UK, US, Germany, Switzerland and Romania.

All images courtesy the Trajković Collection, Belgrade

More Information on Trajković Collection

Collections (107)

West Collection

Key names in international art meet new voices

Rubell Museum

Curator Joey Lico teams up with artist Alexis Diaz to visit the mighty Rubell Museum in Miami

Vorres Museum

3 000 years of Greek history and postwar Greek art

Alexander Ramselaar Collection

A townhouse of young talent from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and around the world

Quetzal Art Centre

Contemporary art on a winery in the picturesque Alentejo region

Sammlung Wemhöner

A spontaneous exhibition set up in the now empty ballroom, before opening in 2023 as the collection's new home

Museum Liaunig

Nuriel Molcho and Francesca Gavin travel out of Vienna to hillside Carinthia, to meet with Peter Liaunig

Stella Art Foundation

An exhibition space for contemporary Russian art

Frissiras Museum

3 500 contemporary figurative paintings

Arario Museum in Space

Wide-ranging collection of Korean and Western art by the country’s leading collector and gallerist

Fondazione Brodbeck

Contemporary art in a post-industrial complex—in the shadow of a volcano

Peyrassol—Parc de Sculptures

A sculpture park on a centuries-old vineyard in Provence

Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung

A location for contemporary glass and photography

Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

Argentina's wealthiest woman presents six centuries of art-treasure collecting

Rossini Art Site (RAS)

Large-scale sculpture in a landscape park

Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea

Site-specific installations for a dual passion: art and wine

Kasteel Wijlre Estate

Art from the 1960s to the present in a modern pavilion

Fundació Vila Casas

Three buildings, three points of focus: painting, sculpture and photography

Gibbs Farm

A sculpture park in XXL format with monumental art in the grandness of nature

Kloster Schoenthal

Nature-inspired sculptures in a pristine landscape

Pinchuk Art Centre

Blue-chip contemporary in the first private museum in the former USSR

Museo James Turrell — The Hess Art Collection, Colomé

Turrell’s largest Skyspace and additional light rooms in breathtaking surroundings


An extensive private collection of Swiss contemporary art of the last fifty years

Mathaf—Arab Museum of Modern Art

A Royal Collection Spanning 200 Years of Arab Art – Doha, Qatar

Sara Piccinini

Senior Coordinator, Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reflection and Speculation

Sammlung von Kelterborn – Frankfurt, Germany


DJ Cassy and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Venke and Rolf A. Hoff in Henningsvær, Norway

Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg

Positions of social criticism in German and American contemporary art – Hamburg, Germany

The Walther Collection

Inside and Outside the Frame – Neu Ulm, Germany

Peter Ibsen Collection

Minimalist Works That Hone Your Sense for Detail – Copenhagen, Denmark

Initiating Dialogues

Sammlung Hoffmann – Berlin, Germany

The Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

Andrea Denver and Francesca Gavin meet with collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin in Upstate New York

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

KA Modern and Contemporary Art Space

900 Square Meters Dedicated to Lebanon’s Most Significant Artists – Beirut, Lebanon

Art About Beauty and Infirmity

Collezione De Iorio – Trento, Italy

Living Collection

Gary Yeh and Francesca Gavin meet with architect and collector William Lim in Hong Kong

Early Passions

Z Collection – Hong Kong, China

Infinite Interiors

Philara Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Papko Art Collection

Works of Turkish Modernism at the legendary Ralli Apartment in Istanbul

Risky Business

Astrup Fearnley Museet – Oslo, Norway

Something Special, Something Sacred

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, United States of America

JAHM – Justin Art House Museum

Digital and Abstract Art — Melbourne, Australia

A More Democratic Art

MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Galila's P.O.C.

A Collection Made up of Thematic Collections – Brussels, Belgium

Establishing Roots and Creating Links

The Ovidiu Șandor Collection – Timișoara, Romania

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz

Abstract painting and concept art in Brazil’s interior – São Paulo

Conversation Pieces

KUNSTSAELE Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Magazzino Italian Art

Contemporary Italian Art on the Hudson River – New York

Slow Learning

de la Cruz Collection – Miami, United States of America

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A venue for contemporary African art – Cape Town

The Elliott Eyes Collection

Engaging With the Collectors – Sydney

Foundation Francès

A French roadtrip reaching the radical reflections of artist Kader Attia

The Sublime Hyacinth Collection

Czech Art Meets Czech Design – Prague, Czech Republic

Marciano Art Foundation

Contemporary art at the Masonic temple – Los Angeles

Time Stamps

Julia Stoschek Collection – Berlin, Germany

Generative Grammars

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Chasing the Future

dslcollection – Paris, France

Charged Atmospheres

Transformer Station – Cleveland, United States of America

Places in, and out of, Time

Adrastus Collection – Arévalo, Spain

Eloquent Silences

The Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Counting to Ten

Ten Cubed – Melbourne, Australia

Dispersing Narratives

The Wedge Collection – Toronto, Canada

Dialogues in Nature

Chatsworth – Bakewell, Great Britain

Present Pasts

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Space for the Future

The Vanhaerents Art Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Colección Contemporánea

A Global Collection from a Seasoned Art Collector In Mexico City

Adrastus Collection

A Collection That Shows the Diversity of Art in the Age of Globalization – Arevalo, Spain

Masters and Romantics

Collection Lambert – Avignon, France

Fondazione Rolla

A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Photography in Ticino

Finnish Rhapsody

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Cranford Collection

One of Europe’s Most Important Collections with Renowned Contemporaries in Regent’s Park – London

Broad Minded

Artist Tomasz Kobialka on The Broad – Los Angeles, USA

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation

European-American Post-Minimalist Art in a Bauhaus-inspired building – Dubai

Treasure Hunt

The Wanås Foundation/Wanås Konst – Knislinge, Sweden

AMC Collezione Coppola

A Curious Collector Acquiring Art to Broaden his Understanding of the World

A Home for Light and Color

MALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Newport Street Gallery

Damien Hirst’s ‘Murderme’ Collection finds a permanent home – London

Franks Suss Collection

A Duo Investing in Artists and Not Cashing In – Hong Kong, London and Sydney

Mallin Collection & Buckhorn Sculpture Park

A Magic Sculpture Garden in Westchester County – Pound Ridge, New York

Shine On

Wurlitzer – Berlin-Pied-à-Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn

Lavish 18th Century interiors juxtaposed with contemporary outdoor sculpture

Venet Foundation

An Artist’s Take on Collecting in the South of France

G2 Kunsthalle

Large-scale paintings of the New Leipzig School in dialogue

The Immaculate Collection

Igal Ahouvi Art Collection – Tel Aviv, Israel


The best of Chinese contemporary art, available 24/7/365

Thoma Foundation

Two intimate art spaces in Chicago and Santa Fe encourage dialogue between work and viewer

Lyon Housemuseum

Located near Melbourne, Australia, collector Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum to share it with the public

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Inhotim – Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico

Portraiture Confronting a Land’s Traumatic Past

The Walther Collection – Project Space New York – New York City

Conceptual Authenticity

Sammlung Barbara und Axel Haubrok - haubrok projects - Berlin, Germany

A Self-taught Collector

Vass Collection - Veszprém, Hungary

Roots in Rotterdam

Concordia Collection - Rotterdam, Netherlands

Louvre goes Lens – and Pinault follows

How France’s most established museum and collector are redeveloping forgotten places

History Reinvented

Insights into the influential collection of Martin Parr

A Collection Which Never Sleeps

David Roberts Art Foundation – Great Britain, London

Get Lucky

David Walsh and his MONA

An Eye into a Secret World

SIP Shpilman Institute for Photography – Tel Aviv, Israel

Gifts for Philadelphia

Private collectors with a generous heart

A New Home for Miami’s Art Scene

On the opening of the Jorge M. Pérez Museum

Prima Materia at Punta Della Dogana

François Pinault Foundation - Venice, Italy

Eric and Jean Cass Collection

A private collection goes public

Bernardo Paz’s Transformative Museum

A closer look at Inhotim in Brazil

The Open Road to Jupiter

Robert & Nicky Wilson - Jupiter Artland

Collecting with an Impact

Dakis Joannou - Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art

Menil Collection Makeover

Starting with the parking lot

White Rabbit Collection

Chinese Contemporary Art – Australia, Sydney