Dílna Mikulov - Art symposium
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HARVEST 1994–2000
(Results of the Mikulov Art Symposia)

In late August, the seventh annual event of the Mikulov Art Symposium "Workshop" 2000 was closed. The final programme has resulted in the opening of the permanent exhibition mapping the results of these Symposia in the premises of the Mikulov Chateau. The title "Harvest 1994–2000", which is based on the specific local terminology, has been selected for this first version of this relatively modest exhibition, which nevertheless extends the range of the spectrum of few permanent exhibitions of the contemporary art in our country. The installation of this type results from the relatively numerous collection of art, which is in the possession of the town of Mikulov. It is an opportunity for creative balancing that is also connected, in this case, with reasoning about the generally valid aspect of art pieces – "materialized recollections of very transient moments" of Symposium summer months, which are related to many emotional relationships in the period of their creation.
The tradition of the Mikulov sessions expressing their inimitable atmosphere, which surely results from the historical charms of the town at the foothills of Pálavské hills (poet Jan Skácel best expressed its genius loci as "a piece of Italy, which was transferred to Moravia by the will of God"), was founded in early 1994.
It resulted from the shared initiative of the Town Council officers and enthusiasm of the sculptor Nikos Armutidis who, as many others in fact, fell deeply in love with this town. Significant co-operation of the Regional Museum in Mikulov possessing great Chateau premises provided the necessary background for work of the artists and their presentation while the surrounding and the park of the Chateau offered generous opportunities for monumental sculptures. This is, at least, the objective justification why the Mikulov Workshops are typical and unique (probably with the exception of the International Symposium in Plasy) with their strictly multi-disciplinary approach, which has been applied from the very beginning. Retrospective efforts show that three dozens of authors participated in the summer workshop sessions in Mikulov. During one of the first annual events, which formulated the profile of Mikulov sessions, it was spoken about the status of an artist predestined by history, return to the tradition of workshops and art work based on crafts. It surely has its own logic – time for continuous art activity without everyday existential worries has a positive effect both on the concentration and consistent handmade process of creation of the art piece, considering that there are virtually no limitations of the nature of the work (existing proofs can be found, for example, in the conceptual methods of work of D. Chatrný). In fact, the profile of individual annual events is formed by rules ensuring certain continuity – advisory committee and curator of the current annual event of the "Workshop" appoint the curator of the upcoming event with the right to call on the authors with similar choice. In this sense, the words of poet J. Gruša rightly say that it is correct to "compose some sessions as art pieces – look for the right ratio of time and place and find the right names of people, who shall meet to make the things move ahead". However, there is a certain danger of one-sided views, which the organizers have successfully faced, in particular in the last events, with their efforts to ensure a certain programme shift to an increased variety of art and genre approaches and a bigger generation span, too. The position of the curator was held by Nikos Armutidis in 1994, Stefan Milkov in 1995, Jaroslav Róna in 1996, Čestmír Suška in 1997, Petr Jareš in 1998, Martina Riedlbauchová in 1999 and Mikulov artist Libor Lípa in 2000. This list of names shows that mainly the repeated preference of the members of the Hard-headed group has had the dominant impact on the profile of the Mikulov Symposia (besides the above named, the Mikulov Workshops also enjoyed the participation of M. Gabriel, F. Skála, S. Diviš and Z. Lhotský). As far as the exhibition is concerned, Petr Jareš was lucky in his selection of the authors. Thanks to him, high-quality painting works of S. Diviš, A. Střížek, L.Teren from Bratislava and others find their significant place in the exhibition. A pleasant refreshment of the genre structure of the collection can be found in the "harvest" from 1998 (after the nomination of Jindřich Štreit in 1994 and 1996) – photographs by Tono Stano. Martina Riedlbauchová deserves her reward for extending the authors' view by inviting other sculptors, who brought a bigger material variety (granite of P. Opočenský stands out greatly among mainly wooden objects), and trying to balance the uneven ratio between the Prague and non-Prague artists by inviting D. Chatrný from Brno and J. Sobotka. She also partially expressed her concept by selecting M. Mainer and M. Titlová, at least with respect to their relations to FAVU in Brno.
This annual event will surely enter the history of the Mikulov Art Symposia with its biggest international representation. The geographic location of Mikulov naturally reckons with the Austrian (Ondřej Kouhout living in Vienna) and Slovak representations (Michaela Klimanová Trizuljaková from Bratislava). The hallmark of the star participation in 2000 was ensured by the personality of Milan Kunc, who lives in Cologne (the town of Mikulov probably has the first Czech public collection with the representation of an art work of this world-famous author of the Czech origin). Tomáš Císařovský, Zdeněk Halla, Libor Lípa and Tereza Pirščová Brichtová also participated in the last annual event.
The Chateau installation enabled the realization of more intimate spatial pieces and, of course, mainly painting, graphical and photographic works. Large-sized sculptures are concentrated on the Eastern Terrace and in the Chateau park (the collection of sculptures of S. Milkov has no competition as far as the number of pieces is concerned) and some others form a decorative part of some local architectonic objects. The exhibition "Harvest 1994-2000" has not been based on the chronological key. The nature of the Chateau interior and the composition of premises with their typical great variety rather predestined the effort to form individual collections according to specific unifying art criteria. This concept was most successfully imprinted on the installation of the photographic set, which is completed with paintings of a narrative nature. The ideally compact and richly structured complex is formed by the authors working with objectivity (A. Střížek, L. Teren, J. Sobotka, J. Róna, T. Císařovský, L. Lípa and M. Kunc) and the set of generally reductive authors' approaches (D. Chatrný, M. Mainer, M. Titlová and Z. Halla).
With regards to the nature of the Symposia, the exhibition may never have a definite shape. Its nature should lie in gradual changes as the best pieces remain and mature after each "harvest" to extend its archives.

Kaliopi Chamonikola
director of Moravian Gallery in Brno