Danube dialogues 2015, symposium

/Art historian and museum consultant (Croatia)/

Countries of the former Yugoslavia have a fine contemporary art production, that is to say, we have many good artists. What is missing is personal information outside of Facebook, Twitter and similar electronic blogs, which should be incorporated into a unified system. This would enable us to get know each other better, which would, in turn, facilitate communication and rapid flow of information, subsequently increasing the number of exhibitions in the region. It is important to mention that, if an exhibition was displayed in several museums and galleries, its costs would be lower than if each museum or gallery did the same exhibition for themselves. Croatia has a Culturnet portal financed by the Ministry of Culture, publishing daily news in the field of culture with a schedule of events briefly introducing a content of a show, movie, festival, exhibition, symposium, etc. If we want to connect more, or to establish an adequate flow of information, it will be necessary to make such a portal for the entire region. Another thing is the organization of contemporary art presentation, and I believe that Danube Dialogues showed us how to do it. Meetings of artists and critics are important, and Danube Dialogues do it by carefully staging thematic exhibitions making sure to invite curators and artists, which brings the necessary liveliness and numerous contacts which, of course, should result in a fruitful exchange of exhibitions, artists and curators. Mini-symposia are also very important, and they have fully justified their, almost unconventional, form and content. These symposia, lasting several hours, are really concise and short enough to engross the full attention of listeners, and all participants, opening numerous topics for discussion in many unofficial meetings after the exhibition openings. The dynamics of exhibition openings is fast and well spaced so it is not hard to visit several exhibitions in one evening.  What we all lack in the region, and particularly Danube Dialogues, is much greater financial support, primarily from our states and cities, and I experienced this myself after being involved three times in a biennial international exhibition of visual arts Here we are, organized in Pula by my parent museum (Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria). Finally, I had to give it all up even though these events were very successful. It was just that we had received only promises from socio-political organizations, while financial and even moral support was completely lacking. Danube Dialogues have proven that they know what they want, that they can organize it and work flawlessly. Such events should not remain of a local character but should evolve to encompass the whole region, with minor transformation. The will of experts and artists, of course, exists (my hope is that the organizers still have the enthusiasm and zeal). The only thing left for us to do is to expel the word “enthusiasm” from the vocabulary and finally start to act professionally in all aspects of our profession. But this, unfortunately, is beyond our powers.

Istrians would still say: Courage, Danube Dialogues!