Trieste Contemporanea november 2001 n.8

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1. Has the role of the curator of contemporary art changed in recent years?

2. What do you feel is the audience's response to contemporary art? Have the type of audience and/or the attendance changed over recent years?

3. Do you feel that co-operation among institutions from different eastern European countries in the production of contemporary art exhibitions can strengthen the international promotion of eastern art? Do you have any experience in this sense? If so which institutions and countries were involved?

4. Which is the state of the market for contemporary art in your country and who are its main actors?

5. How would you define the position and the role of the artist in your country today?

Executive director of Soros Center for the Arts (SCA), Sofia, Bulgaria

1. Curators have played a crucial role during the last 10 years. At the beginning of the transition period it was difficult to define their role for the society. Today the artists and the artistic society have a clear idea of where to place the curatorial work - as a very important one.

2. After a remarkably big success, which I could define as a "boom", in the artistic scene there is a constant interest from the point of view of both art criticism and the wider public. What we are still missing in Bulgaria is an institution with a proper venue (Kunsthalle, Museum of modern art , etc) which could focus on contemporary art development - exhibitions, discussions, presentations etc.

3. Certainly there are possibilities for much wider cooperation in the field. The I-CAN (former SCCA Network) is one of the good working networks in this field. Although most of the centers don't have venues or proper spaces for exhibitions, the professional knowledge is crucial for this cooperation. In 1996, I worked with SCCA- Riga (Gallery M6) and later with the Museum of Foreign Art in Riga, in1999, for the exhibition Bactericum Bulgaricus (co-curator Plamena Ratcheva)

4. Practically there is no real market for art in Bulgaria. The general picture is sad and badly organized. The small private galleries make up the main part of this market but speaking about contemporary art we have to say that there is no market.

5. There is a clear vision for the artists, the picture is not "all roses" and lots of them are trying to find new international contacts or simply ways for presentation. The role of NGO's working in the field is for the moment very important and appreciated. The young generation is looking for it's own ways to express itself and very often the result is quite interesting.

Director of the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art of Budapest, Hungary

1. The curator is acting much more as a producer now, especially with regards to the new media and site specific works. The curator is involved in the fund-raising as well, specially in our countries where the marketing practice of the art field is in transition.

2. Unfortunately the gap between the general audience and contemporary art is still rather big. It takes time to educate people and make the public interested in contemporary art, especially in the visual arts. The younger generation is more capable and slowly the "customers" of the art market are getting to be in favour of contemporary artworks as well.

3. I am truly convinced that a joint effort of the former 'Eastern Block' countries would be more effective in terms of international promotion. On the other hand the 'iron courtain' still exist mentally. If you check the international art magazines on the Venice Biennale, you cannot find a word or an image (perhaps a few) about our participation. They also neglected the exhibition "After The Wall", even if it was curated by the Stockholm Moderna Museet. The collaboration with the former Soros Centres of Contemporary Art was very important and still is the best source of information in most countries.

4. Besides the remarks I made for question 2, I would say that certainly over the past two years one can feel a development of the market and the quality galleries. Not only, new private museums and art centers are opening in these days.

5. Clearly the position of artists has changed as well. They have to fight for recognition and for living. On the other hand they have more possibilities for travel and grants as before (specially the young generation).



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