Germinations 8

The opening of an exhibition is always a cause for celebration and provides an excellent occasion to thank all those who have contributed towards its success, from its conception through to its realization. The opening of Germinations is one such occasion.

It also provides an opportunity for us to pause and reflect, to critically appraise and measure its success against the objectives we have set for ourselves since its beginning in 1982, namely; the promotion of young artists in Europe at the threshold of their professional practice and career.

It is important then, to state at the outset, that it has not been possible for us to achieve all these objectives in Germinations 8, not for organizational or conceptual reasons but for others which will be addressed later.

It will be recalled that Germinations 6 and particularly Germinations 7 demonstrated that Workshops, held in advance of the exhibition, involving artists from the sixteen participating countries, provided a range of opportunities for the artists to get to know each other. They were able to develop long-lasting personal and collaborative relationships, gain an insight into the cultural ethos of the host country, and to establish contacts with art critics and art agencies. In the light of this experience then it was only logical for us to plan Workshops in Bratislava, Athens, Breda, and Liverpool. Furthermore, in recognition that presently there is no similar opportunity for young art critics to collaborate together at a European level, it had been planned (in collaboration with the Association International des Critiques d’Art, A.I.C.A.) to develop a new element of Germinations through a Workshop which would address the theme of a European exhibition for young artists. Initial preparation and planning for this new development were undertaken by a ‘Round Table’ of young art critics and members of the Board of Germinadons in Breda during November 1993.

This conference critically evaluated previous Germinations exhibitions and produced provocative comments. However, it also produced some constructive recommendations and refreshing new ideas for our future policy.

Further discussion was planned to take place at a second conference in Glasgow where these ideas would be consolidated into positive proposals to provide a new basis for Germinations in the future.

Unfortunately for financial reasons the Workshops and the entire project of cooperation with the young art critics had to be canceled. This was a bitter disappointment for all concerned.

It is a paradox that the main reason for this was the introduction of a highly commendable and much needed European program for the promotion of young artists. It is to be deplored that the conception and introduction of the Kaleidoscope program failed to secure ongoing and future support for institutions such as Germinations which are already well established on a European scale.

Although we owe the European Union a debt of gratitude for their previous support which has been essential to making Germinations what it is today; a network for the promotion of young artists spanning 16 European countries, their support in the case of Germinations 8 has been merely symbolic.

Although the participating countries, particularly those of Central Europe, did their utmost to increase their share of the financial contribution, through their various ministries and institutions, they were unable to make up the financial shortfall. As a consequence the program, as we planned it, could not be saved.

All the more than that we express our gratitude to those national bodies who have contributed their grants and awards to enable Germinations 8 to be shown as an exhibition in Breda, Warsaw, Athens and hopefully, Perpignan and, additionally to provide the artists the opportunity to come together for several days m Y’ participate in a seminar program in Breda.

Looking to the future, Germinations with its 12-year history’ and successful reputation for the support and promotion of young artists will seek recognition and financial support from the Council of Ministers of Culture of the European Community as an emblematic institution for artistic cooperation in Europe.

In conclusion, I wish to thank all those who are already engaged in the struggle to ensure that Germinations 9 is realized as a complete and mature event for the promotion of young artists and art critics in Europe.

Willis Ainley

Chairman of Germinations Europe