November 21, 2018

Conference: Art—How Much is it Still an Idea for the Future?

Moderna galerija

Exhibition view of L'Histoire, from The Unmaking of Art - Revisited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, 2018. The Museum of Modernity collection. Photo: Dejan Habicht, © Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.

Participants: Clémentine Deliss, Zoran Erić, iLiana Fokianaki, Ana Janevski, Nomaduma Masilela, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Lívia Páldi, Marjetica Potrč, Marcelo Rezende, Adam Szymczyk

The conference focuses on the concept of contemporary art, especially on the question of how much it is able to shape ideas for the future. If modernism was to a large extent oriented towards the future and postmodernism towards the past, then we would like to know which temporality determines contemporary art. Further on, we will discuss what it actually means when we say that contemporary art is global art. Is it a concept co-shaped by subjects from different parts of the world or a construct of the global art system that has boomed after 1989, when the “old first world” triumphantly spread the doctrine of neoliberal capitalism across the globe?


1–1:15pm: Welcome by Zdenka Badovinac (MG+MSUM) and Urška Jurman (Igor Zabel Association)

"What is Global Art?"
Nowadays, the big world museums are more frequently presenting art on the basis of geographical diversity. But what has actually remained a common denominator in this advocating of heterogeneity? The latest documenta, for example, advocated global diversity by stepping beyond art and also exhibiting the traditional practices of the local cultures of indigenous communities, on which colonialism imposed a Western concept of art and culture. Furthermore, what do the various local spaces get from these representations of diversity and to what extent can such a treatment of diversity avoid the mechanisms of capital and its culture industries? To whom are the critical voices formed by international exhibitions speaking?

1:15–2pm: Keynote speech by Marcelo Rezende, critic, curator and writer, based in El Salvador and Berlin

2–2:20pm: Cuauhtémoc Medina, art critic, curator and art historian based in Mexico City

2:20–2:40pm: Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, writer, historian and artist based in New York City

2:40–3pm: Adam Szymczyk, curator and writer, currently based in Basel, Switzerland

3:15–4pm: Discussion moderated by Ana Janevski, curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York

"Art, an Idea for the Future"
Although contemporary art frequently describes the future as dystopian, there are many art projects that do not describe time, but merge with it, last in it, develop with it, and thus, in their own way, co-create the future. The present has become embedded in the very tissue of art and it therefore seems that art also has a greater chance of changing reality. Even though contemporary art is an important social agent and a vibrant platform for various micropolitics, we nevertheless have to ask what real impact it actually has and further on, how much of an effect should art have in reality? Which experience of art then provides the most important basis for the future?

4:15–5pm: Keynote speech by Clémentine Deliss, curator, publisher and cultural historian. She is currently professor of Curatorial Theory & Dramaturgical Practice at the University of Arts & Design, Karlsruhe

5–5:20pm: Zoran Erić, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade

5:20–5:40pm: iLiana Fokianaki, writer and curator based in Athens and Rotterdam

5:40–6pm: Marjetica Potrč, artist and architect based in Ljubljana and Berlin

6:15–7pm: Discussion moderated by Lívia Páldi, curator of visual arts at Project Arts Centre in Dublin

Live stream

The conference is conceived and organized by the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana in collaboration with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation.

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