45th ZAGREB SALON
08 May - 30 May 2010
Croatian Association of Artists
“…This overview of the complexity of art market (or sheer listing, as I might call it) indicates how demanding is the form that Salon has to fulfil in order to present a platform upon which will be initiated the dialogue between artists, public, buyers, collectors, art dealers, institutions and administration, unified in their attempt first to define strategies and procedures of regulation and stimulation of local art market and then its breakthrough into the international market. Therefore the manifestation is conceived as a central exhibition, as compulsory for the Salon, around which the accompanying events will be developed. They will include presentations of private galleries that are trying to change the usual local concept of gallery-cum-store, more or less appeasing the taste of general public and selling whatever is demanded for. There will also be a series of public presentations and lectures on relevant topics like art fairs, quantification of value of artefacts as well as social importance and role of collecting. Special hope is placed on meetings of expert groups that should bring artists, art dealers, and representatives of government institutions and business in order to design new initiatives like promoting the participation of private galleries at international fairs or defining the tax strategies that would stimulate investments in art.
The main exhibition is based upon the public competition with one and only condition: the submitted works have to be created in the period between two Salons. In order to avoid possible conflict of interest as well as to secure a fresh overview of the scene, members of the jury are mostly international experts involved in the art market, either professionally or as collectors. A chance to present works of Croatian artists to four interested people from this line of business was another bonus. The members of the jury, Josie Browne (Max Protech Gallery, New York), Anna Daneri (Fondazione Ratti, Milano), Hans Knoll (Galerie Knoll, Vienna) and Sanja Vukelić (collector, London/Zagreb), had a difficult task to choose out of 350 heterogeneous entries those that would form a high quality and versatile exhibition. All other submitted entries will be presented at the interactive station placed in the exhibition hall and will be offered for sale, too. Salon is conceived as a selling exhibition or introduction of a model of legal purchase of art works and, perhaps, an encouragement for (re)establishment of Zagreb art fair. Although Salon will pursue the theme or the art market and art galleries as phenomenon, it has been decided that at the same time it has to remain realistic. Hence the idea of introducing the commercial component or offering the exhibited works on sale, with fixed 10% provision for HDLU as the organiser of the event, in the face of recession. Finally, a hybrid form has developed from the fusion of art fair and conceptual exhibition with many possibilities to observe tiny social shifts marking every segment of our society in its rapid compliance to the norms of western democracy. The reality check at the basis of the idea also presumes the public display of all brutto prices of exhibited works. Although the project initially won wide support and good response, most of the commercially established artists didn’t respond at the competition. Apparently the acquired positions are not to be examined. The submitted material also indicates at still strongly present ambiguous stance of Croatian artists towards the commercial aspect of the artistic context. Roughly half of the submissions are context specific works cynically commenting on capital or contrasting “art” against “commodity” while referring to, quote, traditional saying that money corrupts people. We believe that these works, in synergy with those that represent a realistic response of the artists to the profession of their existential choice, will create a versatile and spirited edition of Salon, impressive both for its theme as for the presented art. However, it would be more important to make the most out of the given frame and moment and try to create that utopian balance of all various impulses created by the unexplainable and unrelenting human need for aesthetics…”
BRANKO FRANCESCHI: THE MARKET