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Virtual Gallery of the Regional Museum of Jagodina


Milena Milenković was born in Paraćin in 1990. She graduated from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Niš, where she obtained the academic title of Master of Architecture. She lives and works in Belgrade.

Milena took her first steps in artistic photography in 2015, when she became a member of Photo Cinema Club Paraćin and the Photo Association of Serbia. She began her photographic work with portrait and creative photography, and then recorded street and life scenes. Soon, discovering an interest in the human body and emotion, she began to engage in nude photography. She perceives the nude as a kind of collaboration between the model and the photographer, which requires complete trust and understanding. Through the nude, she explores the emotional release that comes with shedding and renouncing imposed social norms.

Until now, she exhibited at more than 120 collective exhibitions in 20 countries, where she won about 90 medals and awards. The most significant ones are the gold medal at the Güler Ertan competition in Turkey and the gold medal for the photo collection at the Republic Photo Exhibition in Serbia. Her photos were published by the magazine “Le Monde Diplomatique”.

She had her first solo exhibition, “Introspection”, in May 2019 at the Gallery of Cultural Center in Paraćin. In November of the same year, “Introspection” was also exhibited in the Gallery of Cultural Center in Niš. This was followed by the “Strings 2019” exhibition, held in 2020 at the Cultural Center in Leskovac, where she exhibited with two other authors. This exhibition showed the Strings music festival and its participants seen behind the scenes. The exhibition called “Deoperio” was shown in 2021 at the FIAP exhibition center in Novi Sad. In April 2022, the Radisson Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade presented the exhibition “Timeless”, which showed street, “accidentally staged” situations.

In addition to solo exhibitions, she exhibited at many international festivals, among which she stands out the photo exhibition “Alchemy” within the Dev9t 2019 festival in Belgrade; “Krug” exhibition, photo festival Malinski in Macedonia 2019; nude photography exhibitions within the Visuelizator festival in 2017 and 2022; as well as the solo exhibition “Escape” at the Punctum photography festival in Albania in 2022.

In 2018, the Photo Association of Serbia awarded her the vocation of “photo amateur of the first order” – FA1 FSS. She obtained the artistic vocation of KMF FSS – “candidate master of photography” in 2020, by decision of the Photo Association of Serbia Artistic Council, and thus became the youngest woman to be awarded this vocation. In the same year, she was among the ten most successful authors in Serbia. She obtained the international title of AFIAP in 2021.

Expanding our interest from painting, graphics and drawing to visual art in general, we present the work of Milena Milenković, who is an architect by profession, but has been involved in photography since 2015. As a photographer, she strives to capture and forever preserve the fleeting moment, emotions and interactions of people. She mainly takes black and white photographs because she believes that color sometimes hinders us from seeing the play of light, shadow, figures or silhouettes and better experience the immortalized story. Although she is very successful in shooting street photography, her interest has focused on nude photography. Through this topic, Milena explores the emotional liberation that comes with shedding and renouncing imposed social norms. In her latest works, the naked body becomes a metaphor for the inner being and the dualism hidden in every person. Milena Milenković writes about her photos and the concept behind them:

Alter ego.
An agent of an alternate reality, existing in a form different from the known one, existing behind a veil, dim and unfathomable. The one we often don’t even know ourselves, or don’t recognize.

I don’t like secrets. That’s why I dared to start researching myself. In an attempt to penetrate into my estranged reality, to illuminate and recognize all the hidden threads that are intertwined with what I think I am, I asked myself the question: Who am I?

In order to really answer this question, the most difficult of all questions, a person must lay himself bare before himself, he must be ready to accept his whole self, he must be able to understand the other himself, that hidden one. Most of us go through life with fear of the answer, fear of what is behind the curtain. By alienating ourselves, we refuse to acknowledge our nature. Those who dare to peek behind the curtain, they are artists. They are freaks. They are enlightened. By accepting what we hide from the world, and often from ourselves, we experience liberation, a kind of catharsis.

I explore through photographs. In search of emotion, I explore ways of expression, movement, expression, the relationship between the model and the environment. Through photography I try to tell a story, using the human body as a medium. I see the nude, in itself, as the purest form of art, which holds endless possibilities for exploration and expression. That’s why in this project I choose the same way of reflection of my thought processes.

To me, an alter ego is something that remains hidden, never fully revealed to the world. That is why in my works it is shown through the prism of the obscure, always partially hidden and sketchy. Incomprehensible, yet always present, within reach of the light, but always behind the curtain. Our hidden aspects are always trying to break through to the surface, and our fears are always suffocating them and hiding them from reality. It is this eternal struggle that makes our personality complex and interesting.

This theme is present in my work almost from the very beginning, and (re)finding oneself intensifies, especially, in difficult periods of life. For me, this research is never finished and never will be. Before you is a smaller segment of this story, a selection of 18 photos, shown through three series, which describe different aspects of my enquiry.

The use of the nude as a medium for this (unfinished) story has a double symbolism: on the one hand, the naked body symbolizes the raw form of the inner being – a kind of alter ego, and on the other, it allows the viewer to see another aspect of this story – gender. In the photographs, male and female nudes appear, thus symbolizing the dualism, which I believe is deep in the essence of man. The two primordial beginnings of our individual reality, whose interweaving in finitude constitutes the essence of our being.