A Yugoslavia-born sculptor, Zoran Mojsilov received his art education at the University of Belgrade, graduating in 1979, and later trained with the renowned Yugoslavian sculptor Matija Vuković. As a conscientious objector, he taught art at a military psychiatric hospital in 1981 and later went to Paris to escape the narrow confines and restrictions of the state-controlled art establishment in communist Yugoslavia.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz for MPR

Mojsilov moved to the United States in 1986, settling in the Twin Cities. Since then, he has participated in numerous exhibitions across the United States. He became prominent as a creator of large-scale public art, completing a number of projects in the U.S., France, and Serbia.

Mojsilov’s sculptural assemblages are starkly massive, making use of raw materials found in nature or left over from human activity. He works with natural properties of stone, wood, and metal, without trying to embellish or disguise their original looks or the way they are put together. Rawness and starkness, heaviness and ruggedness are signature traits of his pieces, making them striking in their unedited state. There is an abandonment of front-end styling and conventional aesthetics: surfaces are untreated, and structural logic is ruthlessly exposed. The means by which pieces are held together becomes part of the end form of the work.

Mojsilov’s art shares some of its qualities with such avant-garde art movements as anti-form, arte povera, minimalism, and brutalism, but resists the narrow definitions of these 20th century developments. Some of his pieces conceptualize his experience of a socialist citizen, while other artworks thoughtfully ruminate on nature and its unstoppable will for survival.

Zoran’s Surrealist Sculptures: Dry Neck of the Pig and Other Curios is on view in the Main Gallery February 3 – May 26, 2024

Stone Soup, 2005
Iron, wood, stone
From the sculptor’s studio

This sculpture is that of the sculptor’s Serbian grandmother out to prepare soup from iron nails, with all of the community contributing a little something from their pantry, resulting in a delicious soup for everyone. This ancient story survives in European folklore, known in different countries as stone soup story or a tale of axe soup.

Zoran Mojsilov
Yoga Poses: Down Dog and Snake
From the sculptor’s studio