Dílna Mikulov - Art symposium
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Some comments on the sixth annual Mikulov Art Symposium "Workshop"

The originalmeaning of the work symposium (symposion), which has its roots in the Antique world, was a bit different than the current one. It meant the closing of a feast, "a collective carouse", which was not a plain drinking, however, but one taking place amongst the scholastic circles. Therefore, it is wise the spiritual fathers of theMikulov meetings have rather selected the title "Workshop" – from the word "to work". Nevertheless, we can say all attributes of both such defined terms were, more or less, fulfilled. Especially the conditions for the fulfilment of the original meaning of the word symposion are particularly good in Mikulov. We could state many analogies (such as the symposium chairman – symposiarchos in Greek – who usually determined the ratio for mixingwinewithwater). Traditionally, all prerequisites of theworkshop are met equally successfully, which is testified with a great number of works realized during the previous five annual events. Like in the old Greek and Roman worlds, the entertainment was provided by singers, musicians, jugglers and dancers and by the guests themselves, too. They also contributed with their pieces to mutual entertainment – in particular with their own poems and songs. We do not seem to change too much in comparison with the Ancient world. Following our forefathers, we also discussed various topics, mainly philosophical ones, but the scholastic discussions often turned into "a noncommittal gabble" (as referenced in instructional literature). Possibilities, that are provided to the artists of today by the symposia, consist particularly of the moments of stability, peace, concentration and togetherness. In principle, they do not differ too much from sport camps, where participants try to get in a great form. The authors were well prepared for their performance and most of them continued within the intentions of their foregoing creative work anyway. Hopefully, the sixth annual event did not disappoint the expectations, whichweremarkedwith the prospect of the upcoming opening of a permanent exposition of the Mikulov Workshops in the premises of the Chateau. It might be one of the stimuli to a certain correction of its concept strategy. Contrary to the previous Workshops, the last annual event is characterizedwith a certain programmemovement. In comparisonwith conceptually fairly unified representation of authors in the pastmeetings, therewas an evident effort to achieve greater idea and genre variety and also greater generation diversification. Also the materials were more varied. After the marginal attempt of the first annual event, Pavel Opočenský brought a typical hard material for his work (granite). In his monumental object, he maximally exploited the possibility of cutting the stone with a cable saw. An atypicalmaterial (polished stainless steel) of the Margita Titlová´s object also attracts as it enables a direct contact with the spectator, who has a tempting opportunity to convert into a Heavenly Walker. The chamber object of a guest of the Dalibor Chatrný´s workshop with its clean shapes also works with the principle of mirroring. It will become a part of the Mikulov Chateau. Even during a short-term installation, the author up-dated his environmental work in the context of younger artists - making holes in a tree and inserting mirrors there. A more chamber measure was also selected by the cofounder of the Mikulov Symposium, Nikos Armutidis. For a permanent collection, he realized a bronze sculpture with all characteristic features of its abstract, haptic and strongly spatial thinking. Specific sculptural imagination was developed by Jiří Sobotka in his variable set of mycological still live scenes, in which the excessively enlarged oakmushrooms rather represent a substitute element of figuration. Though Martin Mainer is mainly connected with a personal artist expression, he reduced his repertoire to a special position of shamanconceptual spiritism hidden in encoded messages resembling combinations of punched cards. On the contrary, Jan Bačkovský became a representative of pure "classical" non-figural artist tools. He was closed to that style with his large-sized spontaneous and very personal testimony. Curator the sixth annual event of the Mikulov Workshop Martina Riedlbauchová, who shielded the selection of the authors, realized a set of pictures with the topic of the principle of order and chaos. It resulted in a kind of a topography of the artist area, very decorative and essentially feminine, perhaps thanks to the structural concepts "woven"with her artist brush-work.
It is obvious that in the competition of other symposia in our country, the Mikulov Workshop has moved to achieve a wider multidisciplinary profile. Its special features include the connection not only with the exterior environment of the park but, at the same time, with the possibility of using the Chateau premises to gather a collection in the spirit of the gallery criteria. There is no need to doubt the reasons for the participation of future artist in the Mikulov Workshop are sufficiently luring.

Kaliopi Chamonikola, PhD.
Director of the Moravian Gallery in Brno