Wednesday, May 29, 2013

reading notes, entry 5...

*Ruined Landscapes: Paintings of the Balkan War Zone, paintings by Laura Buxton and text by Ross Yockey.

Why I read it now:

Total impulse grab from the library--I saw it while looking for a couple other art books I wanted for Gray's schooling.

Overall thoughts:

Laura Buxton's paintings are beautiful. But they rip your heart out and bring tears to your eyes. I found it interesting that she chose not to include people in her paintings. And it yielded a surprisingly powerful effect.

As powerful as Buxton's paintings are, I was grateful fot he narrative. For the background. I feel as if I understand the war more than I did before and less than I did before. I can't find the right words to explain that contradiction.


Mostar's population was 130,000 before the war. One-third of those were Muslims or Bosniaks, one-third Croats. About one-fifth called themselves Serbs, and the rest identified themselves simply as Yugoslavs. By the time Laura Buxton arrived in Mostar with her canvases, only 60,000 people remained in the city, roughly split between Muslims and Croats. Since everyone she met looked and sounded very much like everyone else, the artist painted their streets and homes, their places of business, without regard for the labels they affixed to one another. She was in the ratna zona, the war zone, where fear played no favorites. (p. 21)

Books from the bibliography I'd really like to read:

Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War by Peter Maass
Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia's War by Ed Velliamy

Side note:

I'm also more eager than ever to watch the documentary Chris told me about--The Death of Yugoslavia.

New-to-me words:

campanile--a bell tower, especially one freestanding from the body of a church (p. 37)

pentimento--the revealing of a painting or part of a painting that has been covered over by a later painting

Quote postcards sent:

Chris: 1 with "melancholic"

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