“Art and Engagement”, Talk at the Vienna Art Week 2016

9. November 2016
Magazine > Archive > “Art and Engagement”, Talk at the Vienna Art Week 2016

It is for the first time that ERSTE Foundation has the pleasure to host one of the multifold and diverse events at the Vienna Art Week. Around 200 exhibitions, performances, lectures and films with the theme “Seeking beauty” will take place between 14 and 20 November 2016. “Art and Engagement – Talk about the contemporary art scene in Croatia and Hungary” with Hajnalka Somogyi and Sabina Sabolović takes place on 18 November 2016, 5 pm at 21er Haus.

How does art react to political and social changes? How do artists and cultural producers take over more responsibility in society? How does the world of art stay a public and accessible space? How do politics affect the art and culture sector at large and contemporary art production in particular?

In Hungary and Croatia we are confronted with a rapidly changing political landscape. The state takes over more and more control in art and cultural institutions. It tries to gain influence on the content and programme and cuts funding. Two proponents of the independent art scene from Budapest and Zagreb will present their strategies and perspectives. In the talk they will comment on their experiences and ideas. Hajnalka Somogyi of the initiative Budapest Off-Biennale and Sabina Sabolović of the curatorial collective WHW will discuss the challenges the contemporary art scenes in Croatia and Hungary are facing.

Sabina Sabolović is a member of the Zagreb-based curatorial collective What, How & for Whom (WHW) founded in 1999. WHW is a non-profit organization for visual culture based in Zagreb. WHW’s mission is to open up discussions on relevant social issues through art, theory and media, by supporting contemporary art production, organizing exhibitions, art projects, and discursive programs, publishing, and developing new models for collaboration among organizations from different cultural fields. Since May 2003 WHW directs the program of Gallery Nova – a non-profit, city owned gallery in Zagreb. In 2008, WHW received the first Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory in 2008. WHW’s current project “My Sweet Little Lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise)” is a series of exhibitions based on the Kontakt Art Collection.

Hajnalka Somogyi is an art historian and curator based in Budapest. She is the project leader of the Off-Biennale Budapest, a grassroots initiative for contemporary art. The Off-Biennale was initiated by a collective of curators in 2015 to revitalize the Hungarian art and culture scene. The first biennial in spring 2015 gave an overview of the independent off-scene and thus offered alternatives to the local state-run art and culture infrastructures. Off-Biennale Budapest works as an umbrella project for joint activities and brings together the different stakeholders of the Hungarian art and culture scene – artists, art galleries, curators, NGOs, civil society.

Please note that we changed the location of the event to 21er Haus.

Host: Christiane Erharter, ERSTE Foundation

The talk is held in English.


Friday, 18 November 2016
5 pm to 6.30 pm


21er Haus – Museum for Contemporary Art
Arsenalstraße 1 Quartier Belvedere
1030 Vienna


Photo (c) Elisabeth Gruber