Painter Ana Petrovic discusses the painting of the magical town of Emir Kusturica, which opened the doors of world-class galleries to her and affirmed her artistic creed
Love is a permanent motif in her paintings. Strong emotions that drive things and make them dynamic create an intense dialogue of colours and shapes. Painter Ana Petrovic is appreciated from East to West and the reason for this love lies at the very base of her relationship with art. She believes that creation cannot be separated from emotion, that the work of an artist is the stage from which the emotions speak. This is what lead to the creation of what she thinks is her life’s masterpiece – the painting of Mecavnik according to the wishes of, and in cooperation with, Emir Kusturica.
You have painted the entire Mecavnik, which is an artistic and heroic achievement. What impressed you about this place?
Mecavnik is the energy of Emir Kusturica, then he sprinkles this magic dust of his creativity all over those who work with him… Some recognize magic, others don’t. I was lucky that we understood each other from the very beginning and that I had never done anything he didn’t like. A heroic achievement really is a good term for all the efforts we invested into this beauty. I strive to have many of such achievements in my life, but Mecavnik is my first and greatest love.
Where did you find inspiration for such an achievement? What topics and motifs dominate your paintings?
Inspiration was everywhere. When you are painting all day and you are in some form of an artistic quarantine, ideas just keep popping up. Of course, professor Kusturica had excellent suggestions too. That’s why it all turned out that good in the end.
What was it like to cooperate with Emir Kusturica? What was his vision of a painted town?
Fast, energetic, tough, but also unreal. I still cannot believe that I was this chosen person. Not because he is Emir Kusturica and a great artist, but because living and working at his side was like having an i.v. infusion of art and life twenty-four hours a day. He believed in me, I had complete freedom and this idea that Mecavnik would be a painted, cosy town of art and hedonism was a good idea. We later had to adapt and be more realistic, but the fairytale town is still in operation.
You exhibited your works all around the world, especially in America. What were the reactions to your shows, being that painting, as an art, is an universal language and knows no limitations?
Love and art are universal languages. Reactions to my paintings are usually the same everywhere in the world. Everyone can see that I am honest and they accept my work with a serenity, smiling widely. People really love my paintings. They are loved by romantic women and serious, tender businessmen.
Is it more difficult for a painter to imprint something personal and intimate into their work than it is, say, to a writer?
I think there would be no art of any kind without a serious involvement of emotions. I never painted a painting just like that, for money or for any other reason. Each of my paintings came from the depth of my emotions. Sometimes the topic isn’t mine, sometimes it is someone’s photo, or a film, or a book, that inspires me. But if it wasn’t for the personal, the intimate, there would be no art.
What is your view of tradition?
I relate deeply to it. I respect tradition out of the need to make sure it is not forgotten. It is a good thing for a human being to respect something. We don’t have to forget everything, do we?
How well do we know our tradition and how much are we, in fact, just dealing with generic ideas? What do you find most inspiring in the Serbian heritage?
Younger generations know less and less. But it’s a shame. Because Serbian tradition can inspire all walks of life, not just art. If we were to look at it more, we could learn both from good examples and the bad. I am inspired by everything. Architecture, customs, food, mentality, physiognomy, naive art, educated people, everyday people, great love. Serbia is an enormous treasure. We just need to wait for new generations to come of age, those who will not be ashamed of their origin, but rather consciously blend tradition, mentality and their talents to ensure progress and benefit for our beautiful country. Everything will be different then. Then we will know for sure that love won.
autor: Miloš Paripović