50th  AICA Congress Newsletter

We are pleased to present you this Newsletter, which focuses on the 50th AICA Congress held in Paris, France.

How does one assess the success of an AICA Congress? Is this determined by the quality of the presentations? The number of the participants? The intellectual and emotional temperatures of the debates? The friendships established... Whichever criterion we choose to apply to our 50th Congress—it was a historic event, during which we managed to turn Paris into a vital stage for lively and highly stimulating discussions about art criticism and art, and the way both impact the world at large. By doing that, we remained truthful to our original mission: to build bridges among the artistic communities around the world and to foster artistic exchange. The list of organizations and individuals who turned our Congress into such a spectacular event is very long, and they will be acknowledged elsewhere in this Newsletter. I just would like to thank three colleagues with whom I worked closely on preparing the event in Paris in November: President of AICA France, Raphael Cuir, Secretary - General of AICA International Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, and Treasurer of AICA International Mathilde Roman. This is my final report as President of AICA. I would like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve you for the last six years. This was an extraordinary period of my life—which began in Paraguay in 2011 and ended in Paris, where our association was established some seventy years ago. In AICA, I have been part of something bigger than myself and, as a result, I have learned about the vastness and richness of the world, and, also how complex our art world is—and that only by understanding those complexities can one make constructive changes. I wish all the best to the current President, Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, for her tenure as the XVI th President of AICA International. Marek Bartelik. XVth President of AICA International (2011-2017)
I am very honored to receive the presidency from the hands of Marek Bartelik. He has done a wonderful job for AICA during his mandate. I want to pay homage to Marek  Bartelik, President from 2011 to 2017. It is always a challenge to run an Association with the profile of AICA, where the cultural diversity is very rich and important to be recognized. I promise you to do my best. I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of the 50th Congress which took place last November in Paris. It will be, I´m sure, a reference in the history of AICA. I hope 2018 is a year of many realizations for our Association. I hope new projects begin and can be successful. Let´s work together!
“How to cut off, fragments on judgement and art criticism” was the title of Georges Didi-Huberman’s fascinating lecture, certainly a peak in our 50th Congress, together with the closing ceremony at centre Georges Pompidou, celebrating Georges Didi-Huberman’s career as an inspiring art historian, when we presented him the AICA Prize he received from Régine Hatchondo (Managing Director of artistic creation) and Adriana Almada (Chair of Awards Committee, President of AICA Paraguay) – the appearance of Israel Galván was particularly magic. In-between, we had much intense, specific, wide ranging moments, from Gayatri Spivak’s opening lecture to the various round table, from visits to the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art in Paris to exhibitions’ tour which led us to la maison rouge, Antoine de Galbert’s Foundation, the collection Société Générale, the Institut des Cultures d’Islam or the gallery Les filles du calvaire and more. We shared moments of listening, moments of debate, moments of discovery, moments of fun, celebrating six years of Marek Bartelik’s presidency, welcoming Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves as the new President of AICA. Each of us will have personal reasons to remember this 50th Congress, but I am sure all of us will remember it as a special time in the history of AICA. It would never have been such without our partners who all deserve to be thank warmly: Régine Hatchondo, Managing Director of artistic creation, Ministry of Culture, Éric de Chassey, Managing Director, INHA, Colette Barbier, Director of Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Stéphanie Chazalon, Managing Director of the Institut des Cultures d’Islam and Bérénice Saliou, Artistic and scientific Director of the Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Antoine de Galbert, fonder of the maison rouge, Aurélie Deplus, Manager of Société Générale artistic sponsorship, Thomas Kirchner, Director of Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art in Paris, Stéphane Magnan, Director of galerie Les filles du calvaires, Hélène Orain Managing Director, Palais de la Porte Dorée – Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration and Stéphane Malfettes, in charge of cultural programmation at Palais de la Porte Dorée, Serges Lasvignes, President, Centre Georges Pompidou, and Bernard Blistène, Director of the Musée national d’art moderne as well as Jean-Max Colard, Responsible for "Service de la parole du DDC" of Centre Pompidou, José Manuel Albares Bueno, Conseiller culturel de l’Office Culturel de l’Ambassade d’Espagne en France, Bénédicte Alliot, Director, Cité internationale des arts, Catherine Bédard, Adjunct-Director, Centre culturel canadien Paris, Yves Robert, Director, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Nathalie Giraudeau, Director, Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, Ann Stouvenel, Responsible for Visual Art, Mains d’Œuvres, Camille Blanc, President of Amnesty International France, Catherine Botton, Responsible for Communication and Partnership, Nespresso. Last, but not least, a special thanks to Secretary - General of AICA International Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, Treasurer of AICA International Mathilde Roman, and the AICA team Célia Bricogne (AICA France), Nathalie Rousselle (AICA International) assisted by Paula Caredda and our webmaster Alma Saladin.
Raphael Cuir, President of AICA France
The following three days of lectures and panels addressed AICA’s significant early history and current issues, opening with an inspirational key note at the Institute of Art History by Gayatri Spivak who talked of language and of the subaltern and of her work as teacher with poor and marginalised communities in India. The many highlights included Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Museum, Tokyo on the human and the necessity of art in an age of the cyborg and biotechnology, João Ribas, of the Serralves Museum, who gave a powerful argument for the necessity of the public life of art and images under threat from private interests and political censorship. AICAUK’s Sarah Wilson presented an enthralling gallop through her rich encounters and experiences through AICA and of the life-changing Congress she attended in Moscow and Tblisi in 1989. The last day of the symposia, "Everywhere and Nowhere" was held at the extraordinary Musée de La Porte Doreé de l’ Histoire de l’Immigration, a building of art deco splendour, the façade and interior adorned with reliefs and paintings of exotic images of empire. This was perhaps the most focused day, addressing the impact of migration on contemporary art; from Kim Levin (US) who gave a timely warning on the distinction to be made between empathy and exploitation, to Beral Madra (Turkey) on Vilém Flusser’s thinking on national identity and the migrant. AICAUK’s Paul O’Kane celebrated the art of translation as a means of migration of ideas through his work on the writings of the South Korean critic Lee Yil, shortly to be published by AICA and les presses du réel.  Members later enjoyed a very convivial Moroccan dinner at Paris’ Institut des Culture d’Islam which has a suite of exhibition galleries, a prayer room and a hamman in the basement. The  tour de force of the Congress was unquestionably the key note of  George Didi-Huberman, philosopher, writer and artist, who spoke eloquently and with great clarity on "How to cut? Fragments on judgment and art criticism?". Didi-Huberman received the AICA International Award for distinguished contribution to art criticism at the closing ceremony at the Pompidou. He was also presented with a surprise performance by the outstanding flamenco dancer Israel Galván de los Reyes'.
"Everywhere and Nowhere: migrations and contemporary art", by Mathilde Roman, Chair of convenors and Treasurer, AICA International In the context of the 50th congress of AICA, it seemed important to address an issue both historical and current: the impact of migration on contemporary art. The call for papers attracted thirty four proposals worldwide, and the eight selected speakers gave diverse and in depth perspectives on a complex topic. Kim Levin recalled the optimism of the 1991 congress she organized, in contrast to the much more pessimistic global reality we face now, as political and ecological changes worsen. Confronting this reality, artists, critics and curators are fighting the terror of the past- and the future. The memory of Walter Benjamin  or Willem Flusser was often invoked in the discussion.  Speakers addressed these global issues through the specificities of geographical contexts, such as Sophie Ravion d'Ingianni on the Caribbean; on the situations  in Colombia or Turkey and their impacts on lives and art, analysed respectively by Paolo Camargo Gonzalez and Beral Madra. In these political contexts, art has a therapeutic dimension, as Marek Wasilewski argued in discussing the work of the Slavs and Tatars. In the day's plenary discussions strong individual experiences contributed to historical and theoretical approaches, as migration impacts on all our  lives. The Palais de la Portée Dorée, Musée National de l'Immigration, was a very interesting context for this day. Warm thanks to our colleagues Nathalie Rousselle, AICA Office, to Alma Saladin, Programme assistant, to our intern Paula Caredda and Célia Bricogne, AICA France, all who gave tremendous administrative support throughout: AICA meetings, the Elections and the Congress symposia.
The closing ceremony of the 50th AICA Congress, at the Pompidou Centre, was very special. After a brilliant presentation of Georges Didi-Huberman’s work by Raphael Cuir, President of AICA France, I had the honour to present, as Chair of the Awards Committee and with Régine Hatchondo, representative of the French Ministry of Culture, the AICA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Art Criticism to the French philosopher, art historian, writer and curator. The Award is given for lifetime achievement  to an outstanding art critic from the country that organizes the Congress in a given year.Georges Didi-Huberman’s ideas and reflections on the status of images, expressed in his books and exhibitions, have offered a new perspective on art history and contributed to shaping contemporary artistic and curatorial practices in many parts of the world.In a moving speech he acknowledged the Award and, as a special gift to him, he was presented with a memorable performance by the renowned flamenco dancer Israel Galván. It was followed by an enlightening conversation between Georges Didi-Huberman and the curator and critic, Robert Storr.Previous recipients of the AICA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Art Criticism were Ticio Escobar (Paraguay, 2011), Annemarie Monteuil (Switzerland, 2012), Tomáš Štrauss (Slovakia, 2013), Lee Yil (South Korea, 2014), Sarah Wilson (United Kingdom, 2015), and Adelaida de Juan (Cuba, 2016).The AICA Awards Committee also offers the AICA Incentive Prize for Young Critics, and the winner receives an invitation to attend the AICA Congress. Details of the next Award will be announced in advance of the next Congress.
Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Days 4 & 5 of the celebratory 50th AICA Congress held this November in Paris. I rushed there from teaching a workshop in London, and arriving in Paris at 9 pm, worked until 1 a.m. on a final draft of the paper I would give the next day. I set an alarm to wake me at 5 a.m. and after a few hours’ sleep resumed working on the piece over a mug of coffee and a magnificent cake, gratefully gleaned at dawn from a bakery close to my hotel. [...]
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Newly Released  Issue 49 – Autumn/Winter 2017 Print journal – 198 pages – Bilingual >
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