Art Capital is the greatest visual art festival of Central-Eastern Europe, which will be held this year in Szentendre for the fourth time. In the past three years, our prominent exhibiting artists have included, among others, Marina Abramović (USA), Peter Kogler (Austria), Victor Sydorenko (Ukraine), Bill Viola (USA), Jelena Bulajić (Serbia), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Radu Comșa (Romania), Mohau Modisakeng (South Africa), Žarko Bašeski (Macedonia), Yoko Ono (USA), Oleg Kulik (Russia) and Chiharu Shiota (Japan).
This year’s festival is entitled Old and New Dreams. 19 thematically linked exhibitions and 52 related programs await visitors in the downtown of Szentendre.
Dream is art’s accomplice. We are all artists in our dreams: at such times, unusual, often symbolic images arise, along with surprising stories and exciting associations, which relate to the world that we experience while awake in an autonomous manner. The images of our dreams show conspicuous similarities with works of art. “The dream is World, the world is Dream,” wrote Novalis.[*]
It bears witness to the inexhaustible richness of artworks in how many different ways they can be enjoyed: every interpretation is by necessity different, however small these differences may seem. Though dreams can be classified, it is their defining characteristic that as experiences, they are exclusive to individuals. When awake, we share our world with others, while our dreams are our own only. They include our fears, desires, and past—many think our future as well. Two and a half millennia ago, in Ephesus, Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher called the dream an idios kosmos, a private universe no one else can own. Today, we still agree with him. Dream is an individual’s immeasurably vast and rich realm, probably the only treasure he or she cannot be divested of.
This year’s Art Capital undertakes to show something of this extraordinary richness—of this “unconscious” vehicle of the deepest human concerns—with the help of art. Rather than employing considerations established by psychoanalysis, the exhibitions and events look at dreams by focusing on those compelling odysseys of freedom that become manifest in dream experiences. When in art we imagine to be dreaming, our imagination creates a primordial, dreamlike state we like to return to again and again—if we can. Because what is necessary for the enjoyment of art is not only a state of grace on the part of the recipient, but first, good works as well, and situations (such as captivating exhibitions) that provide them with a perspective. Szentendre, the Hungarian capital of the visual arts now offers such an abundance of the latter that is certain to delight all art lovers.
Szentendre, 1 May 2019,
Chief Curator of Art Capital
[*] Novalis: Heinrich von Ofterdingen (John Owen’s translation). Cambridge: John Owen, 1842, 195.