A hanging storage system for completed paintings by Milenko, next to a number of completed sculptures by Delia.
Familiar names in the local art scene, the prvackis find freedom of expression in their generously sized studio.
If the search for Delia and Milenko Prvacki’s studio – located in a nondescript industrial neighbourhood in Woodlands – is a frustrating one, entering the space will immediately calm you down. A white cuboid roomy enough to install a mezzanine level, it’s not just a space to store and show off the award-winning works of the artist couple; the art in progress and associated tools also indicate that this is a place of work.
The 60-something husband-and-wife duo are familiar figures in Singapore’s art scene; Milenko, characterised by his signature curled moustache, and Delia by her jet-black bob. They met as students at the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania, and came to Singapore in 1992, becoming citizens in 2002. Ten years later, Milenko received his Cultural Medallion award. You might have seen their work without realising it; the ceramic and mosaic work, Interchange, adorns floor and column surfaces at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, while a distinctive mosaic fountain of theirs has been in nightspot Zouk since 2005. As a ceramicist, Delia’s works get more public exposure – they’re displayed in public libraries and hotels. Milenko, on the other hand, is a painter, whose work can be found at the Ipreciation gallery.
The Prvackis’ studio signals how far they’ve come in their careers – Delia used to work in the kitchen of the home she and Milenko shared with his parents in Serbia. The mezzanine floor houses a lounge area and office, and the studio’s main floor is where the action happens. Delia’s kiln is here, as are hanging racks for Milenko’s paintings, tools and paints, and a climatecontrolled room for works on paper.
About 3,300sqf, with 8m-high ceilings, the studio is capacious enough for Milenko to work on paintings of monumental scale, but the studio’s airiness is more than just practical. For him, “it’s important to have enough space to feel free, and not under pressure, or tension”. In the studio, he finds freedom in “having the opportunity to create new work but, at the same time, have evidence of what you did before,” which he says is akin to the studio being a sort of enclosed world of its own. Although they share the same space, the couple work independently.
Due to the specialised tools and processes of her discipline, Delia’s practice isn’t quite as embedded in the studio. Much of it takes place in specialised ceramic factories, for example, in Ayer Hitam, Malaysia, for the upcoming project “Toilets 4All!”, which will raise awareness of the lack of access to basic sanitation around the world.
A woollen tapestry, Amulet (1999), forms the centrepiece of the mezzanine’s lounge area.
Milenko and Delia Prvacki are at home in their studio.
A view of the studio floor where Milenko works. The bright orange duct is used to vent waste heat from Delia’s kiln.
Everything from small ceramic sculptures by Delia to the tools of the couple’s artistic trade, are displayed on these shelves.
READ MORE ABOUT THEIR WORK AT HTTP://MILENKO.PRVACKI.COM AND HTTP://DELIA.PRVACKI