October Salon to focus on art’s ‘raw energy’
Biggest event in city’s annual cultural calendar, the October Salon, will this year showcase fine art at a site which itself contains many artistic references.
The October Salon will run from September 22nd to November 4 at Karađorđeva 48. The show is open between noon and 8pm daily, except Monday.
Mika Hannula, one of the two curators of this major artistic event, says that this year’s October Salon “will discuss the raw and energetic articulation of contemporary art”.
He also says that the former Geodetic Institute in Karađorđeva Street was chosen to host the salon because of its unique history, and the cross references of styles represented in each of the rooms.
Hannula says that another important factor in the organisation of the show has been time constraints, which forced them to decide fast on which artists and contents were to be presented.
Just weeks before it was due to open, the City of Belgrade threatened not to issue a security permit for the event to take place, citing the building’s decrepit state.
Mia David, director of the 53rd October Salon, says that she hopes organisers will be able to overcome all technical issues and that a permit will be granted for use of the building.
There will be around 40 participants at this year’s October Salon. Apart from Serbia, they come from Finland, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, The Netherlands and Britain.
Their works connect many different forms of art – sculptures, installations, films, stories, essays, paintings, photographs, interviews, cartons, interventions, documents, explorations and public discussions.
This year, the salon will not have a catalogue. Instead, the organisers will publish a book of essays and stories by internationally recognised writers, addressing key issues of contemporary society.
The Geodetic Institute was built in the early 20th century. Originally an office for bankers and stockbrokers, later it became the Geodetic Institute.
In recent years it hosted various events, mainly exhibitions, until the authorities decided it was no longer safe to host large numbers of visitors.
The October Salon was established by the City of Belgrade in 1960 to present the best works of contemporary fine art. In 1967 the organisers decided to include applied arts as well.
The concept of the salon is decided each year by experts in the field of the visual arts – historians, critics or artists – who are all appointed by the City of Belgrade. They then form a council, which elects a jury. This jury awards three prizes of equal merit to the three best works of the salon.
In 2005 the city and the Council decided to stop limiting the salon to Serbian artists alone and make the salon international.
In previous years the salon has used spaces that represented the grandeur of former Yugoslavia, such as the former military academy or the museum in the 25 May complex, which is dedicated to Yugoslavia’s former president, Josip Broz Tito.
Last year the salon had 8,000 visitors, compared to 10,000 two years ago. This year, the city and the state gave the October Salon 25 million dinars [€218,000], which is one million [€8,700] less than last year, and ten millions [€87,000] less than three years ago.