Ever since the antiquity, the pastoral theme in art has been the symbol of purity, innocence, tameness, quietness and harmony. As the portrayals of virtue and peace, the idyllic pastoral paintings evoked the feeling of distance from the existential everyday life and its misfortunes – the comforting illusion about the world without conflicts, the world of sublime harmony between the humans and the nature, the unity of microcosm and macrocosm, and the rejuvenating return to the mythical Arcadia.
The focal point of the photo series Cultivation, Commodification by Srđan Veljović aims to define the mechanisms of the ideological fantasy – the fantasy of the archaic vision of the Paradise Lost in the midst of the historical actuality of today. However, unlike the Milton’s timeless, yet no less ahistorical, thematisation of the trope felix culpa1, Srđan Veljović’s photo–narrative on the cause and effects of the self–proclaimed end of the utopia2 is presented without even the slightest addition of moralistic theogonic fabula and, what’s more, with ethical awareness about the historic character of the process of actualisation of the capitalistic dystopia and the effects of objectification, i.e. the commodification of the living and non–living world. Meticulously methodically executed with the specific approach to the photographic medium that in his case includes without exeption today almost extinct instance of the artist’s devotion to the vocation of the photographer as well as honesty in relation to the observer of the beautiful photographic scenes of nature around Ečka, Srđan Veljović manages to, in his own particular way – quite discreet and subtle – unfold the layers and „deflower” the romantic presentation of the unspoilt innocence of nature as the idealised counterpoint to the historical reality of the world we exist in.