Danube Dialogues 2105 – third international festival of contemporary art in the macro region of the Danube (www.danubeartfest.org)
28 August – 30 September
Novi Sad – Apatin
16 exhibitions, 20 art events, 14 locations in Novi Sad, 3 locations in Apatin, symposium
75 artists + 15 art critics from 13 Danube countries.
Opening: Apatin 28 August, Novi Sad 7 and 8 September 2015
Countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraina, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro. This year’s focus is on the former Yugoslav countries. In addition to Serbia and Croatia who have taken part previously, we are now happy to present the art scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Montenegro.
History: The Danube Dialogues Festival of contemporary art was launched as a pilot project by the Bel Art Gallery, Novi Sad, in collaboration with the Erlin Gallery, Budapest. It began modestly, with four exhibitions in the Petrovaradin Fortress on the left bank of the river at Novi Sad, each featuring one Hungarian and one Serbian artist. The first official festival took place in 2013 and was attended by of 80 artists representing 10 countries. Last year, in 2014, the Danube Dialogues fronted 18 exhibitions, the work of 90 artists, curators and critics from the region.
Concept: a selector from each country chooses works of the artists he or she feels best represent current developments in the art scene of that country; there are exhibitions in which artists from the entire region take part, special artistic programmes, performances, video projections, round tables and workshops.
Theme: Art and the Age of (Non)emotionality (keynote exhibition and symposium). This year’s theme focuses on art in a world linked by electronics, where people as individuals are becoming increasing dependent on the technological environment and drawn into the most diverse global situations, while becoming ever less focused on their inner life and their own emotions. A seemingly unstoppable, aggressive media culture assaults our personality, suppressing and reducing the space available for intimacy. Social networks are altering inter-personal relationships; the relentless accuracy of a digital counter informs us of the number of “friends” we have acquired – and their status, of course. A friend is no longer someone close to us, someone with whom we are in personal contact, to whom we can speak face to face, who will understand us and with whom we have an emotional relationship; “friends” is the term now applied to unknown people, usually at a considerable geographic distance. Instead of genuine emotions, we are offered virtual communication as a surrogate for a real relationship between one human being and another.
In an age where picture and the painter are no longer the dominant visual language, when the prevailing visuality comes from technologically generated images and the artistic visual unit is at once the product of man and technology, the idea of emotionality, long at the heart of artistic expression, is today altered and questionable. New creative vistas open up before us, new and different situations, new results and messages. This is why we feel that Art and the Age of Emotion (Non-emotionality) will provide a thought-provoking stimulus that will resonate with artists at the present moment in the Danube countries and the extended region.
Exhibition curators are: Hartwig Knack (Austria), Vladimir Beskid (Slovakia) and Sava Stepanov (Serbia).
An interesting feature introduced in last year’s Danube Dialogues was the exhibition: „235 km, 100 years: Serbian and Austrian Artists Today“, shown in Zrenjanin (Serbia) and the two Austrian towns of Baden and Mödling, under the umbrella title of „Cooperation Extended“. This was actually a follow-up to the artistic encounters that took place at the previous year’s festival. Radi se zapravo o nastavku umetničkih susreta ostavrenih u prethodnom izdanju. Continuing the trend, as part of theDanube Dialogues 2015, Slovak artists will be exhibiting later this year at the Vojvodina Museum of Contemporary Art, while Serbian artists will be on show at the Kunsthalle in Košice, Slovakia.
The festival organizers like to make use of what Novi Sad has to offer as a city, locating various features along the pedestrian zone in the town centre and transforming it into a unique and dynamic atmosphere for the duration. We hope that we have succeeded in developing an exceptional festival of contemporary visual art that provides a meeting point for people and ideas, where art and new departures can be represented and joint projects undertaken by the artists, curators and institutions of the Danube region.
Festival Director: Vesna Latinović
Artistic Director: Sava Stepanov, art critic
The Festival is supported by the Vojvodina Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, Novi Sad, the Serbian Ministry of Culture, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Municipality of Apatin and numerous friends and the media.