I am baffled by Jeremy Melvin's review of the 'Joze Plecnik and the Making of a Capital' exhibition at the AA, especially by his wondering 'whether Slovenia can blame 50 years of misfortune on external forces, or was instead as fertile a breeding ground for fascists as its neighbours, the outcome is tragic.'
This seems quite unrelated to historical reality; so when I read that 'when the territory became an independent country after the First World War' (when it did not), I can only think that your reviewer confuses Slovenia with Slovakia or Serbia. In fact, after the break up of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, Ljubljana (misspelt twice in the review) found itself in the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (aka Yugoslavia, a name not mentioned). Mussolini invaded the province in 1941 and after the war, Marshal Tito's communism inhibited Plecnik's career. Only in 1990 was Slovenia able to emerge as a decent, democratic, independent state, and one rightly proud of its great national architect-hero.When, writing of Plecnik and Matko Prelovsek (again misspelt, along with Max Fabiani), your reviewer concludes: 'One only wishes they had succeeded.' I can only presume he has not been to Ljubljana, for it is a charming small city full of Plecnik's inspired interventions and buildings, which confirm him to be one of the great and, more importantly, relevant talents of this century.And there, perhaps, Jeremy Melvin and I might be in agreement.
Gavin Stamp, Glasgow