Speech by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia Vasko Simoniti at the opening of the exhibition in the European Parliament



Speech by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia Vasko Simoniti

The exhibition of contemporary Slovenian visual works of art in the European Parliament is a great honor for Slovenia. We are particularly proud of this event because Slovenia is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its independence and at the same time holding its second EU Council Presidency – the family of free democracies.

Aware of its identity, history and traditions, Europe faces new challenges and reflections on its own future. After great trials, ups and downs, it was possible in the second half of the last century to form binding common values ​​and to secure freedom on all levels of human existence, which gives free rein to creativity. That secures its existence today and tomorrow. This environment hosts a variety of forms of expression, as each community forms its own spiritual and material image through its language. Just as every family, every institution and every profession has its own specific form of expression, the language of art in all its manifestations also has its own particular forms of expression.

Of all genres of contemporary art, especially in the fine arts, we find an extraordinary variety and an extraordinary coexistence of forms that is less characteristic of other arts. I am not only thinking of the completely congenial juxtaposition of abstract painting and figurative art, but also of the juxtaposition of conceptual art, performance, installation, socially committed art, biological interventions, etc., works of the younger generation, including Internet art. The visual arts embrace an extraordinary pluralism. For the last half century, the visual arts seemed to resemble the mythological Proteus, the Homeric sea god who constantly changes his forms and only reveals his wisdom when we hug him tightly, even when he turns into a tree, a bull, fire, Water and a snake. Perhaps it is precisely the fine arts, with their extraordinary diversity, that form a kind of living democratic laboratory that constantly creates a plurality of forms of expression and ideas.

This exhibition of contemporary Slovenian artists challenges us again to reflect on the essence of art and its messages. The exhibited works thus encourage us to preserve the two virtues of a democratic society: tolerance of differences and empathy for others. We might even dare to say that the visual arts are a real test of the openness of modern democratic society. So long live the fine arts in all its diversity; it is up to the artists to find deeper statements through unlimited freedom of expression, not only to discover forms, but also to discover content, be it in the lyrical world of the artist or in his social commitment.

The exhibition “We Are Living in Interesting Times”, which shows works by artists of the middle and younger generation, is addressed with and in their own language to all those in the European Parliament who do not speak this language, but as seeds of their own Freedom and spiritual expanse.

The exhibition, which was created in cooperation with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška as part of the Slovenian EU Council Presidency, will be on view in the European Parliament and on the website of the Ministry of Culture until the end of this year.


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