International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
News Archive
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2

Double Talk with Maria


Liviana Dan

VANILLA CAFÉ: In this age of hard trying nonchalance is good
in the days of prismatic color
'you are like the realistic product of an idealistic search
for gold at the foot of the rainbow'
you do not seem to realise that beauty is a liability
rather than an asset
the sound of the wind, the seven varieties of blue,
the beautiful element of unreason
in a solid and brilliant discourse first Robert Curtius
tried to prove that in France the 'idea of nation' and
the 'idea of civilization' were identical
brilliance by the hand majesty of that sophistication


at a country-house party, and offer a breakfast,
damask tablecloth, silver, silver everywhere, and
rolls and simmering dishes, and honey
the big cedar that shades them from the sun
listened to the beginning of the tale that opened like
a scarlet geranium and gave signs of concluding in
the orchid-house
will you finish your story in the drawing-room?

from aesthetics to self-consciousness, one-way traffic
it refuses to see the temporality
/which it never tires of invoking/
it think of that history of 'objective'
/beyond the dictates of sensibility, beyond ideology/
it is unself-critically prescriptive

'only he is alive who rejects, his convictions of yesterday'
there is, too, a kind of intellectual rarefication in many
modern artforms that is reminiscent of the attitudes of
the late eighteenth century, certain types of minimal
poetic timelessness
vanished secret nobility
crossed the room to look down through the little
lemon trees on the blue Mediterranean
dream of a perfect intellectualization of the body
and of the world's destiny
baroque's subversion of the dominant visual order of
scientific reason / that makes it so attractive in our
postmodern age/
in this transformation the mind becomes a limpid
transparency open to a world made transparent
the triumph of cynical over critical reason
the countess gave no dance this spring
'it is impossible to deduce a prescription from a description'
intermediate value of gray, the smell of the sea,
lavender anywhere
on sundays at five o'clock, I pass over in silence
like their shadow, gardens without flowers, empty
in the moonlight –
a luxury calculated to affect
half-affectionately, select and recherché the salon blue
dangerous taste for politics
where among the leading lights.


claiming that it is the cognitive features of art
that are important for the evaluation of art
large ambitions / instinctive anxiety
'the decision to enter unfamiliar territory means
accepting the possibility, perhaps the probability
of losing our way'
it was an elaborate affair
this talk came to nothing


he travels with Emerson's essays in his pocket
according to his habit, which is quite Rooseveltian,
he stood very close to me, and talked very earnestly
better to look back upon the place one has departed
and the limited identity one has left behind.

dancing with starry flowers and the water for a mirror
had a good deal of the charm
its clear crystal winds and
all the red hair of the countess
elegant rooms and she as elegant as ever.


safely delivered a dream came true
the big cedar that shades them from the sun, already
high risen in the sky
one of the broad bay-windows looking over the sea
and distant woodlands: one solitary church spire
gives an idealism to the landscape
ubiquity of visual metaphors
'I have a feeling we have not a farewell dinner anymore'.

/ I met Maria Hlavajova one cold, dark morning and I cannot explain why I was so straight with her regarding Romanian contemporary art. So I decided to send her two statements concerning this meeting. /

Imaginary makes the game
A wind of craziness passes trough the world of art. This world is mostly led by extremely plugged-in people, pure products of the generation that resulted from that endless May '68. With full powers, 'baba-cools', experts in multicultural sensitivity …
The multiculturalism is not only expressed in recovered memory, lack of principles, malleability. Multiculturalism also includes moralizing streams, positive discrimination, diversity. It remains anyhow a migrating mixture of cultural conflicts. Dramatic-fascinating in national joining, in original theories, in silly projects. It has only one dysfunctional aspect: schizophrenic limits, the error of schizophrenic limits.
The error comes from an exclusion. Recent history is mostly a large scale replay of Frankenstein's story: generous projects, apparently impeccably founded, which lose control and take you where you don't expect.
Where would you hide a leaf? In the woods.
Where would you hide a little stone? On the beach.
Where does art hide its vanishing beauty? Between other vanishing beauties? Not at all. Art is hiding among strategies of power. The ideas of art hide strategies of power.
This elegant but sterile game, practiced by a restricted elite, attracted by the charm of power and by its own privileges, is played at 'two ends': the world of imperial structures, social seclusion and especially the political one – and the utopian, unifying world, with people becoming more and more alike.
But the inheritance is not elitist; the inheritance is good for everyone. When you make a project / fair – as interpretation, fair – as attitude / you have to simplify the ecological sensitivity, the ideological factory, aggressiveness, showy display … I accept the odd behavior – it is the project that matters, not the material …
The form of traditional structures matters, the power and the hope, the old circles of sociability.
In a coherent system even artists are to be persecuted. Imaginary becomes explosive. The one who loses the future tends to lose the past, too.
But there still is a brutal question: why do eastern artists have spoiled teeth, why are their nerves destroyed and why do they drink more, why can their second-hand clothes be traumatized / and when you are cold, your shoe is broken and you have wet socks – the confusion and lack of understanding are more visible /.
Why do eastern artists have a higher perception of the glancing parquet of galleries, of career strategy, of communication strategy, of perfume, black clothes and Gucci bags …

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