The Role of Art and Criticism in War and Peace

AICA hosted a round table on June 25 in the Skenderija Centre with the theme: “The Role of Art and Criticism in War and Peace”. The list of panelists included: Moderator: Christian Chambert. Panelists: Dunja Blazevic, Director of Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Sarajevo, Meliha Husedzinovic, President AICA Bosnia-Herzegovina and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Miran Mohar, member of the IRWIN group, Ljubljana and Igor Zabel, curator at Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, coordinator of Manifesta III.

The Role of Art and Criticism in War and Peace Sarajevo, June 25, 1999.

AICA has started a series of programs with the aim to make art criticism more visible and to provoke a discussion about the new situation in the visual arts. The first of these activities was the round table linked to the opening days of Manifesta II in Luxembourg at the end of June 1998. During these days Enver Hadziomerspahic, General Director of the ARS AEVI Project contacted Kim Levin, international AICA President, and invited AICA to arrange a round table in connection with the opening of the exhibition with the collection, donated by the artists, for the future Museum of Contemporary Art in Sarajevo. The press opening of the exhibition took place on June 24, 1999, and the official opening with the Director General of UNESCO Federico Mayor on June 25. (See my review of the exhibition in NU: The Nordic Art Review, No. 2 1999) Among the specially invited participants in the seminars arranged by ARS AEVI I want to mention: Zdenka Badovinec, Bruno Cora, Izeta Gradjevic, Lorand Hegyi, Kim Levin, Henry Meyric Hughes, Catherine Millet, Edo Numankadic and Renzo Piano.

AICA hosted a round table on June 25 in the Skenderija Centre with the theme: “The Role of Art and Criticism in War and Peace”. The list of panelists included: Moderator: Christian Chambert. Panelists: Dunja Blazevic, Director of Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Sarajevo, Meliha Husedzinovic, President AICA Bosnia-Herzegovina and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Miran Mohar, member of the IRWIN group, Ljubljana and Igor Zabel, curator at Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, coordinator of Manifesta III. As Vice President for Special Projects and Publications, I have coordinated the planning of the round table together with Kim. Ingamaj Beck and Jan Håfström, Swedish AICA members, and Dunja Blazevic helped us to put up the short list of panelists. I established constructive contacts with the organisers of the ARS AEVI exhibition, Enver Hadziomerspahic, Corinne Voss, International relations ARS AEVI project and Aida Ceric, ARS AEVI program coordinator. I obtained funding from The Swedish Institute enabling my participation in the round table. The discussion, which was taped, was open to the public, with no entrance fee.

Miran contributed to the history of the ARS AEVI collection. Dunja told us about the work during the siege to present the art which was created in Sarajevo to the outside peaceful world and to make people in other countries sensitive to what was going on. She also mentioned the founding of the new section of AICA in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its importance for the cultural life during difficult years. Meliha informed us that the Museum of Modern Art was damaged by 46 grenades during the war and had been reconstructed. The museum and the Soros centre support the young generation. Two good examples of these activities are the exhibitions “Maxumim” and “Minimum”, which opened at the same time as the ARS AEVI project. Among matters discussed were the future of the ARS AEVI collection, including works by more than 100 distinguished contemporary artists from all over the world, how to attract the local audience, how to build up an infrastructure of professionals and enthusiasts to take care of the future museum etc. The discussion among the panelists and in the audience was lively and intellectually stimulating.

Kim and I have in a positive way been discussing with Igor Zabel the possibility to arrange an AICA round table during the opening days of Manifesta III in Ljubljana at the end of June 2000.

Christian Chambert,

President Swedish AICA.