Dílna Mikulov - Art symposium
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An Odd Year – Close Encounters
Stanislav Diviš

The 21st edition of the Mikulov Art Symposium "dílna" took place between July 12 and August 9 in the Mikulov Chateau where all the participating artists found perfect conditions for their work. The organizers carefully prepared and arranged everything, as is the custom at the Czech Republic’s best known symposium. The fact that the symposium 21st year took place was no matter of course, but rather the result of unwavering dedication and drive of the organizers who have over 21 years helped create one of the largest contemporary art collections in the country. I first participated in the symposium in 1998 and this year, I’m the curator. But I have always been following the symposium and its results. This gives me an idea of the scope and high quality of the collection of works by leading Czech and foreign artists that has been created in those 21 years. Over the past decade, multimedia and conceptual works have been created at the symposium as well, extending the collection with works by another, younger generation of authors. My intention for this year was to komplete the collection with authors who had never taken part in the Mikulov symposium, and thus contribute to enlarging the varied range of paining approaches represented in the collection. My big wish is that this collection is presented to the public in a modern art gallery in Mikulov that could be established for this very purpose. It would certainly soon become another destination for visitors to Mikulov. This year, the collection received works by authors who, as I mentioned, work with the medium of painting and are among the time-tested personalities of the Czech art scene shaped during the 1980s. In thein careers, they have been members of significant art groups of three generations: Václav Bláha as member of the 12/15 Better Late Than Never group, Stanislav Diviš of The Stubborn, Petr Veselý of The Journeymen of Painting and the Umělecká beseda art association, Oldřich Tichý of the Bridge group and the Mánes Union of Fine Artists, Jan Pištěk of the New Association of Prague Artists and Aldin Popaja as member of the Clan group. The encounters between artists of various focuses are in a way like encounters of different worlds and could be compared to film’s encounters of “the third lekind”. The purpose of the idea was to focus on traditional media, i.e. painting. All of the the cordiality and enthusiasm of everyone who prepared the conditions for our work, and a varied and rich programme on top of that. I should also explain the reasons for using the phrase “An Odd Year” in the catalogue’s heading. During our stay in Mikulov, one of our local friends remarked that we, the participants, were “somewhat odd”. When asked why they though so, we heard that we were “odd, boring and hard-working”. We liked the description so much that we unanimously agreed to use this attribute in the heading.

That’s how the unusual connection “An Odd Year – Close Encounters” came about. Thank you for the attribution of initiation. Despite the time span of the Mikulov symposium being really difficult for the purposes of organizing a family holiday schedule, our experience of the hot summer month spent at the Mikulov chateau will be unforgettable. Let me therefore on behalf of all the participants, namely Václav Bláha, Petr Veselý, Jan Pištěk, Oldřich Tichý, Aldin Popaja, Ondřej Čech, Viktorie Prokopová and, naturally, myself, extend our sincere
thanks for the opportunity to take part in the 21st year of the Mikulov Art Symposium.

Rostislav Koštial

Ladies and gentlemen, friends of the arts, let me use this opportunity to thank my good friend, the curator of this year’s symposium Stanislav Diviš with whom I often discuss the future development of the symposium and whose opinions and advice I hold in great esteem.
After seeing the artefacts created by the participating artists, I can say the event has been very successful and the works will significantly represent both their place of origin and the art symposium as such. I am also happy about the concept chosen of this year’s symposium.
Allow me to express my personal opinion that traditional media are very close to me. I am glad that the 21st year confidently and distinctively opened the door to another decade, and I can promise that this renowned and successful cultural event, whose significance long time ago passed the borders not only of our town but also of our country, will be among those that receive the biggest support from Mikulov Town Hall.
I’m happy to announce that I have a clear concept of how to deal with this magnificent collection assembled over the past 21 years. After several years of searching for possibilities and analysing conceptions, I will now push for the establishment of a permanent exposition of contemporary art under the auspices of the town of Mikulov. I believe that the significance and scope makes this a unique and unparalleled collection of art works of one historic era, and we have to take care of it as such.
Finally, let me thank to all the protagonists of this year’s symposium who ensured its success, as well as to all those who have been responsible for the success of the symposiums throughout the years, namely Marcela Effenbergerová, Jitka Havlíková and Libor Lípa.