Sun, Dec 08, 2013 - Page 12 News List

A critic abroad

International Association of Art Critics president Marek Bartelik discusses his future goals for the UNESCO-affiliated body and Taiwan’s role in it

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff reporter

TT: How can Taiwan, whose critics write mostly in Chinese, broaden their audience and move out into the international stage?

MB: The possibilities seem to be endless, for instance organize international symposia, invite art critics to see your exhibitions and visit artists’ studios. I want to propose to our colleagues to start to publish an annual guide as to what happens in a given place in terms of exhibitions, art events and so on. So we would have 63 guides by critics from all countries and we could put it together as an aid to the understanding of the local art scenes. A yearly guide of what happens artistically in a given country. I think that would be a way to make it international and make it feasible because those articles wouldn’t have to be long, but, at the same time, written by the experts so-to-speak on the ground, who know the local scenes the best.

AICA has developed a new Web site which will be launched later this month. It will be much more interactive. We want to have forums where we will invite critics from different countries and we will say to them: you have a month to moderate any conversation you want on the subject related to contemporary art and art criticism. Obviously if it is a critic who writes in Chinese it can be in English and Chinese, with modern technologies we should be able to deal with the translations. There are ways to maintain that kind of conversation and that’s how I’m trying to bring people closer to AICA because otherwise we don’t offer enough activities to our members and the audience at large.

TT: Yes it sounds as though you are more proactive than your predecessors and are also cementing this community of members that you already have and get them speaking to each other.

MB: I see myself as extending the legacy of my predecessors. I also want AICA to become a truly global association. To do so, we do not always need to speak from, or through, New York, London or Berlin. We can speak to each other directly from one “periphery” to another “periphery.” A lot of exciting activities take place in those so-called peripheries. A lot of brilliant ideas develop outside of the “centers”— my present visit to Taiwan reinforced me in thinking this way.

— This interview has been condensed and edited

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