Report. AICA. Administrative Council, 21.X.2002

General Assembly, 24.X.2002, Ecole Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-Arts, 14 rue Bonaparte, Paris.

Dear colleagues and friends,
The title of the AICA round-table at Manifesta 4 was “Art as Social Construction?” The event took place during the opening days of Manifesta 4 on Saturday May 25, 2002 at 6 p.m. in Manifesta’s Trespassing Space in Frankfurt am Main. Manifesta 4 had no theme, no label, which was a part of the curatorial strategy. But the AICA title was close to the work of the three curators, Iara Boubnova, Sofia, Nuria Enguita Mayo, Barcelona and Stéphanie Moisdon Trembley, Paris. On August 14, 2001, I got a letter from Martin Fritz, coordinator of Manifesta 4, asking for the possibility of an AICA round-table in Frankfurt. The strategy for future AICA round-tables was discussed at the General Assembly on October 4, 2001 in Zagreb. The event in Frankfurt was organised by AICA’s Manifesta Commission including the three Executive Board members, Kim Levin, president, Ramon Tio Bellido, general secretary and Angelica Bäumer, general treasurer, Henry Meyric Hughes, president of the I.F.M., and the vice presidents Evelyn Weiss, German section of AICA, and Christian Chambert, who also coordinated the activities. The close cooperation with I.F.M. from now on was announced at the Administrative Council in Paris on February 22, 2002. There is a formal partnership with Manifesta including Manifesta 4 and the next two ones, Manifesta 5 in 2004 in San Sebastian and Manifesta 6 in 2006. The Executive Board of AICA decided in the last moment to continue the planning of the round-table, despite the fact that the promised funding was not yet made available. AICA is still waiting for the money to pay the fees agreed on to the panelists and also other expenses. As there was no money in the budget for travel expenses for panelists coming from outside Germany the organisers had to profit from the fact that the non German speakers we wanted to invite were going to go to Frankfurt anyhow. Hopefully it will be possible next time to pay the travel expenses for participants coming from other European countries and from outside Europe. The AICA round-table at Manifest 4 in Frankfurt was the fifth one I organised together with Kim; the previous four being Manifesta 2 in Luxembourg, 1998, Ars Aevi in Sarajevo, 1999, Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, 2000 and the biennial in Istanbul 2001. I am grateful for the intense and stimulating cooperation with Kim during the years. It has helped AICA to take a vitalising jump right into the middle of the contemporary art scene.

The invited speakers were: Kim Levin, New York, president AICA, art critic Village Voice; Ira Boubnova, Sofia, curator Manifesta 4, senior curator in the Museum of Fine Arts, Sofia; Sabine Vogel, Berlin, art critic Berliner Zeitung, curator; Jon Mikel Euba, Bilbao, artist Manifesta 4; Ekaterina Degot, Moscow, curator, art historian, art critic; moderator: John Peter Nilsson, Stockholm, vice president AICA, vice president Swedish AICA, art critic Aftonbladet, editor NU: The Nordic Art Review.

The round-table was held in English in a crowded auditorium. The panelists described a variety of inspiring aspects on the theme. The discussion was lively and we got a lot of interesting questions and contributions to the debate from the audience. The program along with a short introducing text was published on the Internet by international AICA and by Swedish AICA. The event was announced by the organisers of the Manifesta 4 programs at http://www.manifesta.de In the printed program of the biennial you could find information about the AICA round-table. I sent out the program by e-mail to hundreds of addresses; to critics, artists, institutions and others. We also distributed a leaflet in Frankfurt. The round-table was open to the public with no entrance fee. The discussion was taped by the Manifesta 4 staff and a copy is available at the headquarters of AICA in Paris.

I was in constant contact with Kim concerning the planning of the round-table. AICA is grateful to all the panelists who accepted the invitation with short notice and a lot of enthusiasm. We are very thankful to all the AICA people and others who helped us collect the short list of names for the panel. Special thanks goes to Ramon Tio Bellido, Nada Beros, Iara Boubnova, Hedwig Fijen, Martin Fritz, Antje von Graevenitz, Marieka van Haal, Thomas Thiel and to John Peter Nilsson, Anders Olofsson and other colleagues of the board of the Swedish AICA section, who all gave good advice and proposed excellent speakers. We are also happy for the collaboration with Manifesta 4, its board, its administrative and technical staff, the three curators and the exhibiting artists.

I look forward to deepening the collaboration with Manifesta in the coming events. I also hope that it will be possible for AICA to develop the idea of round-tables at other events, not least outside Europe.

At the end of November 2001 I was invited to Sarajevo by Ars Aevi to give a lecture on contemporary art. Furthermore I participated in “Forum Ars Aevi 1992 – 2002 On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Ars Aevi in Sarajevo 22 – 25 June 2002.” This was the fourth time during four years I visited Sarajevo to attend meetings organised by Ars Aevi. I communicated anniversary greetings from Kim Levin and AICA. At the seminar “Ars Aevi Museum in Progress” I presented my reflections on the project including new ideas for the future. Among others we listened to the following speakers: Bruno Cora, Jesa Denegri, Baronessa Lucrezia De Domizio Durini, Enver Hadziomerspahic, Lorand Hegyi, Henry Meyric Hughes, Meliha Husedzinovic, Joseph Kosuth, Beral Madra, Asja Mandic, Edin Numankadic, Sania Papa, Efi Strousa and Harald Szeemann.

I was invited by Yugoslav art critics and curators to visit Belgrade, where I saw colleagues at several meetings between June 25 and June 28, 2002. The idea was to meet with art critics, art historians and curators and to exchange information and ideas between the newly reconstructed Yugoslav AICA section and international AICA. Among others I met Zoran Pavlovic, new president of the Yugoslav section, Branislava Andjelkovic, Zoran Eric, Zana Gvozdenovic, Lidija Merenik, Irina Subotic and Jelena Vesic. The members of the Yugoslav section told me about a lot of projects for the future. The discussions were constructive and will be continued. The trip to Sarajevo and Belgrade in June was funded by the Swedish Institute in Stockholm.

Thank you for your attention.

Christian Chambert
chairman Special Projects and Programs
President Swedish AICA, Vice President AICA

[The report has been supplemented after the General Assembly.]