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Serbia: Arts Roundup

Here are some picks from the blogosphere on Serbian literature, architecture, design, film, music, visual arts and cuisine. Enjoy!

Literature

Semanario Serbio [Es] writes about the recent passing of Dejan Medaković, a writer and art historian who was the president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts from 1999 to 2003. Quoting the director of a publishing house, Zoran Kolundžija, he commented on Medaković's contribution to Serbian arts:

Esta obra sólo hay que leerla, simplemente porque allí están muchas respuestas a nuestros problemas prácticos […] Durante su larga y fructuosa vida Medaković nos ha enseñado que lo más importante es seguir siendo fiel a tu pueblo, su cultura, a la afirmación de esa cultura y su conexión con el mundo.

We can only read his works, simply because there we will find the answers to many of our practical problems […] During his long and fruitful life Medaković has taught us that the most important thing is to be faithful to your people, their culture and the affirmation of this culture and its connection with the world.

Architecture

Sandra Drašković of Demystifying Serbian Design informs of the results of the competition “Boathouse” that were announced last Sunday during the Architecture Week in Belgrade. The competition was open to architects and students under 35 and its goal was to “give a new development model, functional distribution and visual identity” to commercial floating structures on the river banks of the Danube and the Sava. Drašković also posted several pictures of the winning projects, such as the one below:


(Photo of the winning project by Studio Poligon)

Nothing Against Serbia describes in a post full of photos the blokovi of New Belgrade, apartment blocks built in 1948 by the communist regime of the time. These blocks, which are home to 100,000 “socio-economically mixed inhabitants because most people in blokovi received their apartments through government-funded social programs,” have appeared in a number of Serbian movies, and have also been the protagonists of two documentaries in 1973-74 about the artists and intellectuals who used to live there, mostly on Block 45 and 70.

The blogger concludes by saying:

Although the blocks have an image of grayness and drabness (shown in movies like Rane, Apsolutnih sto, Jedan na jedan, Sutra ujutro, and Sedam i po), the reality is much friendlier than portrayed in the movies.


(Photo by Elia Varela Serra)

Music

In a later post, Nothing Against Serbia gives some examples of the artists inspired by the blocks:

From the 90's till now also the belgradian Hip-Hop scene gets its inspiration from the “blokovi” where it's kind of standard to choose the blocks as a location for videos. (see for exemple “Struka feat. Demian – 1001 plan“).

Another rap artist got his name from the blocks and made is record label (carski rez) there: Blokovski. His entire image is built around New Belgrade's Blocks!

Speaking of 1990's Serbian music, Balkan File posted a music video from 1995 by a boy band called Beat Street (Bit strit), with the comment “Glad to see that British and Serbian 90s pop share the same awful dance moves”.

Film

The first post of the brand new collective blog Balkan Crew [It] reviewed the film Apsolutnih Sto by Srđan Golubović. The review highlights the very blokovi mentioned above, where a few scenes are set, as well as the disco-restaurants on the Danube river banks also mentioned earlier.

One of their latest posts reviews another Serbian movie, Zona Zamfirova by Zdravko Šotra, set in the southern town of Niš in the 19th century. The review quotes the director speaking of the film's success:

La nostra cinematografia da 10 anni si occupa di temi contemporanei, di questi giorni tristi, delle guerre, delle sanzioni. Il pubblico dice basta a questi film. “Zona” è una commedia romantica senza parolacce e scene brutte, una storia d’amore con un po’ di melodramma. Forse la gente voleva un po’ di serenità dopo le tante cose brutte successe, rappresentate in film carichi di violenza.

For the last 10 years our cinema has focused on contemporary issues, on these sad days, on the wars, on the sanctions. The audience has had enough of such films. “Zona” is a romantic comedy without cussing or unpleasant scenes, a love story with a bit of melodrama. Perhaps people wanted a bit of serenity after all the nasty things that have happened, represented in films laden with violence.

Visual Arts

Diario de una serbia [Es] introduces her readers to Milena Pavlović Barilli, a Serbian painter and poet who lived between 1909 and 1945. She says that the style of her art is hard to define:

… en su obra coohabitan […] modernismo y realismo con las reminiscencias históricas en los retratos y pinturas de flores, el realismo poético o mágico están reflejados en sus retratos y composiciones de mujeres trajeadas; además existe el surrealismo que complica el tema, llevando a varios objetos a una relación irracional, liberando una misteriosa poesía de horror y aguardamiento en las pinturas con estatuas, sillas de hierro, abanicos, guantes, pájaros nocturnos, estrellas, chicas, cartas, actrices con trajes, viejas.

… in her work we find at the same time modernism and realism with a historical reminiscence in her portraits and paintings of flowers, the magic and poetic realism are reflected in her portraits and compositions of women in suits; moreover, there's surrealism to add to that, bringing several objects to an irrational relationship, liberating a mysterious poetry of horror and anxiety in the paintings with statues, iron chairs, fans, gloves, night birds, stars, girls, letters, actresses in robes, old.

Cuisine

And to end this roundup on a sweet note, we recommend that you try the recipe for tulumbe, described by Marija Petrović in her blog Palachinka. She calls it “one of the most loved desserts in the Balkans, probably originally brought here during the Ottoman rule in this region.” Take a look at the picture below and see if you get inspired!

(Photo by Marija Petrović)

4 comments

  • You know, I live in one of those buildings in the Blocks :)

  • Hi Marija and thanks for your great recipes!

    Actually, I also stayed in one of the blocks last summer (61) and it was pretty cool!

  • Wonderful how you give a pleasant and interesting overview on Serbian artistry! It turns on to discover more about this extraordinary country….

  • i am so impressed by your country and culture
    i lived with a woman from there for 20 yrs but i couldnt go visit due to conflict there.i want to come visit and stay a long while a nd experience it all.20 of my 50 yrs has been in the company of a lady from serbia.and my heart has always wanted to see the place and meet the people .read me on myspace and connect if you are for real.i surely am.thanks peace n love david rodgers –
    [veteren hollywood movie producer 25 yr career.artist painter /writer/mystic/consultant on all & everything..see my space.daveUBUstyle.]

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