ALLOCUTION OF THE HONORARY PRESIDENT

What should come first and what is more important – is it a thriving commercial environment in which human creativity can flourish, or is it art which makes us richer and which the commercial environment recognizes as an additional impulse for creative fermentation? Perhaps the answer to this age-old question is unimportant.

Perhaps what we should ask ourselves is ‘What can we today recognize as immortal?’ Is it something merely a handful of people enjoy, or is it something that enraptures the masses? And why should we even perpetuate the first question posed? Why should we speculate about the differences between us, instead of searching for what we have in common? In art as in business we are driven by our thoughts and emotions. Indeed, we meet on the same path. Every businesswoman, lawyer, or professor perceives a visit to a gallery or performance as a surplus, as something she must do for her mind and spirit. And each artist must deal with the problems of production, organization, fundraising, and other essentially commercial issues in order to successfully create.

Does the opposite hold as well? Do businesswomen keep artists at a distance and do artists perceive businesswomen with a touch of distrust? Art and culture need spaces, materials, sponsors, donors, benefactors, support, and funding. The business world and economy need art and culture which fertilize and broaden our comprehension, perception, and awareness. Neither of them is an end in itself, they are interconnected, intertwined, even joined. Top managers try to broaden their personal and professional visions and stimulate their business talents through painting, sculpting, music… And it is no coincidence that the greatest contemporary artists are often also excellent businesspeople, their works reaching head-spinning prices, since unfortunately, this is how we much too often measure artistic standards in our material world.
The question posed at the beginning is often forced upon us. This is one of the reasons why I believe that many differences and tensions of the art-business relationship are merely apparent, that similarities and common grounds are much more tangible than we are prepared to admit, much the same as the dynamics of the animal-nature-culture axes and the place of humans along its lines, which are the issues of this year’s City of Women Festival. Correct answers do not always exist, what is important is asking the right questions and searching for answers which are manifold, searching within ourselves and within the broadest social and natural relations. Because these are the questions which concern us all.

 

Mateja Jesenek, M.Sc.,

Honorary President of the City of Women - Association for the Promotion of Women in Culture