Recently, a growing number of experts are emphasizing the importance of cultural tourism as a special form of tourism that our country can offer to foreign and local visitors. This topic has become especially important in recent years, primarily since the European Institute for Cultural Routes began to apply a more commercial approach in the process of developing cultural routes. Our country is on the map of cultural routes within seven topics (out of forty), among which the cultural heritage of Vojvodina is especially interesting due to the topic of the Vienna Secession art movement. We talked about the secession, culture, cultural tourism, cultural interpretation, the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection and destinations in Vojvodina with art historian Jasmina Jaksic Subic.
- Our country is on the map of European cultural routes within seven different topics, among which is the topic of the Secession. What is the importance of this artistic movement and are there any elements of it that are insufficiently promoted which at the same time could become an important part of the tourist offer of Vojvodina?
The importance of the Secession as an artistic movement from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, with specific features and special names in different environments (here the term Secession is predominant due to the ties with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Vojvodina at the time being a part of it) is reflected primarily in liberation from the aesthetics of the Academism of the 19th century which nurtured historicism and eclecticism, and the creation of separate art that will carry the idea of equality and synthesis of art. The individuality of the artist and a unique and personal artistic expression were nurtured, inspired by movement, national art, science and technology, nature, lush women’s hair, supple female body…
Although the Secession is present in Vojvodina mainly in a provincial variant, thanks to the wonderful achievements of important Austro-Hungarian architects and builders, most visible in the views of Subotica and Palić, but also other cities, it is indeed on the European cultural route. It should always be pointed out that many examples throughout Vojvodina, which may not be so visible or at first glance impressive or are mostly devastated by the passage of time, are also worthy of attention, additionally highlighted and included in the promotion of the tourist offer. Many of them are known to the professionals in the field, as well as to the local community, and it is only necessary to point out their importance in accordance with the necessary narrative and promote them. The works of the Secession, however, are not the only ones that need to be paid attention to, it is perhaps the most interesting due to the often present decorativeness, but there are other opportunities and contextualization is possible for the entire architectural heritage of Vojvodina.
- Which destination in Vojvodina would you single out in relation to the specificity of the cultural content it offers?
Novi Sad in Vojvodina certainly offers the widest range of cultural content, but I’m not sure I would single out just one specific destination, because I think that in every, even the smallest place, there may be something that could be interesting, for example in sacred art. The layered cultural history of Vojvodina allows the contents to be present in unexpected places, such as Arača in the Banat fields, and you only need to travel, read, watch, explore, search on the spot, talk to the locals and allow yourself to be surprised and delighted.
- You have an enviable experience when it comes to organizing exhibitions, including a digital presentation. This topic is especially interesting during the pandemic, because a large number of museums have made their exhibits available online. Has public interest in cultural content increased or decreased since the beginning of the pandemic?
I can’t answer in a quantitative sense because the question is widely asked, and different audiences certainly fulfill their online interests mostly privately. Although online content has made cultural content more accessible in various ways, and the activities of institutions have been directed in that way, I think that audiences accustomed to consuming culture cannot qualitatively replace the immediate experience of live art. On the other hand, it is possible that the audience, which was not so interested, will be inspired by these online contents to start being regular visitors and consumers of culture. I think that the consequences, as always, will only become clearer over time, especially as far as the behavior of the audience is concerned.
- There are more and more applications, posts on social networks, and lately also presentations that promote cultural content through virtual, augmented reality. Which format do you find most conducive for presentation?
It seems to me that, if it is not possible to organize direct meetings with the audience during this period, using social networks for various forms of presentations best communicates with them, because they provide an opportunity to see where their attention goes and their reactions, so that corrections can be made or well received practices continued.
- Your work is largely dedicated to the Memorial Collection of Pavle Beljanski, could you single out one work of art from the collection that is most interesting to you and briefly explain its specificity?
The memorial collection of Pavle Beljanski keeps a whole series of works that I could single out for various reasons, and each has its own specificity and special story, and it is difficult to choose. If necessary, this time I will opt for Pine Trees (1912) by Mališa Glišić, as one of the most impressive Mediterranean landscapes in the collection. In the Memorial Collection, this is the only work by Glišić, which the artist paints at the end of his stay in Italy and on which he masterfully presented the motif of the tucked rural Mediterranean landscape on Via Appia, one of the oldest roads of ancient Rome, possibly on the way to Terracina, Tyrrhenian Sea. Although the form in this painting is still strong, building the composition by mastery of color and creating a relief texture with pasty deposits of color masterfully used. One of those paintings whose values are also recognizable on reproduction, but the live effect is irreplaceable.
- Winter is coming soon, is it possible to find music from the collection of Pavle Beljanski on the Internet? If so, which record would you recommend we listen to during the upcoming holidays?
Editions of classical music on shellac records for listening at speeds of 78 and 80 rpm from the collection of Pavle Beljanski are mostly among the first recorded performances of individual compositions and date from the interwar period, they have been played several times on various media, and it is possible to find them on the internet. These are works by famous composers from the Baroque period, Viennese Classicism, Romanticism and the beginning of the 20th century, These are masterpieces by JS Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and the greats of the 19th century Chopin, Schubert, Liszt, Wagner, Smetana, Dvorak, as well as authors who entered the 20th century such as Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, performed by the most famous symphony orchestras and conductors of the time such as Coates, Blech, Toscanini, Weingarten, as well as stars of art music such as pianists Rachmaninoff, Corto, Friedman, violinists Chrysler and Thibaut, or famous opera singers Chaliapin, Pierre Pauli or Enrico Spada.
In the year that marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, I recommend some of his works, and in the collection of Pavle Beljanski there are more than 20 of his compositions, including symphonies and late quartets.
- Will you travel somewhere in Vojvodina in the upcoming period? Do you have any suggestions for our readers, any destination, restaurant, event, any offer that will safely brighten up these unusual days for them?
I don’t know if and where I will travel in the upcoming period, but I definitely always recommend visits to local museums and galleries, because they are still available. We may need to remind ourselves of what we have and keep in the immediate environment, and surely each visit will further enrich us.