Dear Art, 29 November 2012 – 10 February 2013 Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Maistrova 3

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Press conference: Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11 a.m.
Opening: Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8 p.m.

Mounira Al Solh & Bassam Ramlawi, Halil Altindere, Rossella Biscotti, Chto delat?, Every Man is a Curator / Jeder Mensch ist ein Kurator. An archive as a tool, Fokus grupa (Iva Kovač & Elvis Krstulović), Siniša Ilić, Sanja Iveković, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Lutz Krüger, Marina Naprushkina, Hila Peleg in collaboration with Tirdad Zolghadr & Anton Vidokle, Cesare Pietroiusti, Public Library (Luka Prinčič, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Vuk Ćosić), Greg Sholette, Mladen Stilinović, Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
curated by: What, How and for Whom/WHW

“Dear art,” Mladen Stilinović wrote in 1999, “I am writing you a love letter to cheer you up and encourage you to come and visit me some time”. Always acutely aware of his own complicity and involvement, in his address to art Stilinović intimates a set of troubled, poetic, enigmatic and modest observations on the standing of art in the contemporary world, its reception and distribution. But he also questions the value of art, which far too often is translated exclusively in monetary terms, or as he puts it: “quick manipulation, quick money, quick oblivion”.

As in several previous shows curated by WHW, “Dear Art” takes its title from a work by Mladen Stilinović, and once again its wager is set on the “classical” exhibition format. Amidst the disillusionment created by the persistent feeling of failure (coming from the fact that attempts for a radical reconfiguration of art and cultural production in general always become almost immediately spectacularized), “Dear Art” insists on the obstinate repetition of what has become the curatorial method. Obsessed with the interconnectedness of art and politics and plagued by the nature of art’s “inefficiency,” it attempts to ask necessary questions: Why do we still need art, and what is it that we expect to get from art today? What is its promise, and what do we promise it in return? And what happens when this promise is broken, betrayed, and just plain exhausted?

“Dear Art” approaches questions of the artist’s autonomy and art’s necessity through works that deliberately blur the relationship between engagement, self-referentiality and aesthetics. Engaged with a range of contradictory, heterogeneous methods that affirm endurance, endure indecisiveness, face misunderstandings and reassert allegiances, the works included address the ways in which misunderstanding, confusion, regret, possession, appreciation and devaluation, support and solidarity play out in contemporary art practice, and in defining one’s practice in relation to discussions on reconfiguring the field of art and its relationship to the political.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, with texts by Mladen Stilinović, WHW and Stephen Wright, which is available for download in the attachment bellow.

Dear Art booklet.pdf


People’s Artist, 2012
Installation view
Dear Art, MSUM – Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova 
Ljubljana (SLO)

Das Wort Contemporary Art hatte ich nie gehört. Es gab einfach Kunst und sie und ich waren das Gleiche: ich stand acht Stunden am Tag vor der Leinwand, verrückt nach Malerei, verrückt nach dem Geruch von Farben. Ein Leben ohne konnte ich mir nicht mehr vorstellen. Und ich bekam “Anerkennung”: man sagte mir, ich sei begabt. Und malte wie ein Mann.

Im Ausland verlangte man von mir, alles zu vergessen, was ich bisher gelernt hatte. Für die Kunst hier war ich falsch. An der Akademie sollten alle über eigene Arbeiten reden, aber keiner erklärte mir, was Kunst ist. Hier hatte ich keine Zeit mehr für die Kunst, ich musste Geld verdienen: in meinem Land gab es keine richtige Kunst, hier gab es keine Zeit für sie. Ich sah, was man hier mit Kunst macht: ausstellen, anschauen, bewerten, verkaufen. Es gab die Kunstbeamten und die Künstler, Produzenten und Konsumenten des eigenen Schaffens. Nicht kreativ, sondern Prekär. Für das System, gegen das System, Naïve und Zornige.

Ich kehrte zurück, ich hatte meine Kunst wieder. Sie war die alte und die neue. Man konnte sie nur für kurze Zeit benennen.Sie war wie das Leben, die Handlung, der Austausch, schnell und ungewiss, unvermeidlich, überall, für viele unsichtbar und namenlos.


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