While looking at the painting collection of the Town Museum in Becej – what happens quite often, since it is quite a habit of the art historian to do this – the most catching are landscape paintings of Becej. Painters of canvases in the collection have painted Becej landscapes quite often, discovering motifs of the town they stayed at as guests. Most of the paintings were created exactly in the third quarter of the 20th Century, when landscapes and town panoramas were a thankful topic, and for those painters, who took part int the town's art workshops, it was a must. These works were created in art colonies, inspired by the view of the town that has an artistic and cultural identity, having recognizable symbols, urban or half-urban, half-rural, plain,Vojvodinian, still extisting or inherited with nostalgy and highly valued, bearing marks of uniqueness.
Canvases, graphics, aquarells and drawings from the collection of the Town Museum preserve the artistic map of the town, its tectonic print, architectural identity, psychology of its human resources, its common regional or typical Becej-like characteristics. Attracted by the scenery, painters did not hesitate, only a few of them did not use the opportunity that was given by the topic and genre. It is well that such an artistic atmosphere, lasting for a relatively long period of time, could harmonize with the artists' interests in genres and stylistic directions, and that our painters in that moment of art history materialized Becej's town landscapes.
In their paintings, tha artists approached the topic in relation to the given era and artistic affinity, and the exhibition is about this phenomenon. An interesting mixture of landscape and genre painting appears in works of József Ács, who uses discreet, pale colours, with vibrating expressionism of that moment, to mention his most famous paintings: Becej Street with Farm-Wagon (Becsei utca szekérrel) from 1954, At Crossroads (Útkereszteződésen) from 1955 and Becej Street (Becsei utca) from 1960. Warped into the textile of sunlight and silouettes of objects – the pieceful atmosphere is radiating from works of György Boschán, for example the painting called Street along the Tisza (Tisza menti utca) from 1954. The very same painting techniques, combined in a very classical composition appear in the work of Milan Mijačević, creating a warm atmosphere (Becej Street - Becsei utca, 1969). Exciting colouring and emphasized structure, where light becomes an organic part of the painting, characterizes beautiful works of Branislav Vuleković dating from the end of the 60's, beginning of the 70's, representative pieces of this genre (Street from Becej Surroundings - Becsei környéki utca, Becej's Main Square - Becse főtere, Becej Periphery - Becsei városszél). With brilliant technique and motifs picked with great care, using gentle, discreet colouring Olivera Grbić (Becej's Main Street - Becse főutcája, 1972), Zoran Petrović (Yard in Becej - Becsei udvar, Roundabout - Körhinta, Main Street – Főutca, 1954) and Nikola Graovac (Becej Street - Becsei utca, Co-op Yard - Szövetkezeti udvar, 1956) in their works added to the artistic and professional quality of works inspired by the town's motifs, lighting up particles of personal lyre. Works of Stevan Maksimović are idiosyncratic – Red Wall of the Brewery - A sörgyár piros fala, 1954, Square in Becej - Tér Óbecsén, 1956 – with their plasticity and chromatic expression of maximally diffused light. They bear a quite original, individual mark.
Peculiar ambiental compression – fundamentally reduced to the line of the horizon or heaven, emphasizing spatial, structural and colouring characteristics of objects, buildings, churches and houses, experimenting with colours on wide surfaces – these were used by artists, who were looking for idiosyncratic solutions in more discreet abstractions. In this sense, Pál Petrik discovered motifs and genres of themelessness (Bath in Becej - Becsei fürdő, Street - Utca, Motif from Becej - Becsei motívum, all of them from the end of the 50's). Bogumil Karlavaris is one of those artists, who transformed the peculiar structure of the town and the landscape into an artistic symbol (Street - Utca, Becej Periphery - Becsei városszél, Motif from Becej - Becsei motívum, Blue House - Kék ház, Square in Becej - Becsei tér, all canvases are dating from the end of the 60's). He made his own geometrical figures out of the plain landscape and the buildings' architecture, creating a magic atmosphere, using a strong tone of expression. Milan Kerac approached the genre by forming a symbolic scenery out of artistic details, using elements of traditional expressionism with rich, vivid colours. Works bearing his personal note are Becej - Becse (1966), and a mini-series of drawings, Scows on the Channel - Uszályok a csatornán (1977).
Taking into account the uncompromising and infinitely speedy dynamics of the critical evaluation and interpretation of these pieces of art, the exhibition, regarding its title and content is not modern, and, of course, not avantgarde. Its conservativism is on purpose, this way fighting violent critical stereotypes and formulas. According to our wish, it is focusing on art history, loyalty to aesthetic ideals and the museum itself, its ambition is to discover a well-known genre and a period of modern art that may seem far away, as well as to present the museum's collection. Selection of works and the laconic verbal allusion is an attempt to present the artistic motif in question and the development of the genre from an era that should not escape our attention by any means. Quality of these pieces of art deserve to observe them in a retrospective way, and further, to reinterpret them. In the end, the exhibition is considered to be an equally important segment of this project.
curator, art historian