Showroom: Debate Room: Back Room

Type of work: Action

Exhibition: Form-Specific

Location: Metelkova 22, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Year: 2003

Curator: Zdenka Badovinac

Courtesy: The artist

Photo: Dejan Habicht, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Showroom / Meeting room, Backroom addressed the question of the constitution of a Museum of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana, a subject publicly discussed over the last 15 years. The Moderna Galerija Ljubljana proposed the constitution for the Museum of Contemporary Art, a contemporary venue that would function not only as a space for representation but also a space for production and experimentation. The idea had never fully been endorsed by Slovenian cultural politics, and was continuously put off with spurious excuses.

An important element of the project was its location: a dilapidated former military barracks building, which had been allotted to Moderna Galerija for its extension. The idea was to renovate one single room in the building, as a showroom of the renovation process, which would also serve as a debate room for discussing the critical issue. We organized a meeting with the Minister of Culture and her advisors, artists, representatives of private business, curators, and the local media to discuss the problems concerning the funding of a Museum of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana.

Prior to that, we recorded an interview with the Minister of Culture which was made for the main national TV network, in which she was asked one question (in three different formulations): “When will Slovenia get a Museum of Contemporary Art?” As predicted by communication theorists, the backroom (room for breaks) became the space where the real and final decisions were made.

Participants in the meeting: Andreja Rihter (Minister of Culture-Slovenia); Simon Kardum, Nejka Batič (Minister’s advisors); Borut Vogelnik, Alen Ožbolt, Tadej Pogačar (artists); Andrej Smrekar (Director, National Gallery of Slovenia); Gregor Podnar (Director, Škuc Gallery); Zdenka Badovinac (Director, Moderna Galerija); Franci Zavrl (Pristop Communications); Adela Železnik (Museum consultant, Moderna Galerija); Jelka Šutej Adamič (journalist); the artist as a moderator; and the audience.