Initiative Haubrich-Forum too late Das Loch European Kunsthalle

Statement for a European Art-Hall Cologne / Europäische Kunsthalle Köln

16.05. 2004. The idea for an European Art-Hall Cologne / Europäische Kunsthalle Köln was already presented in summer 2003 wihtin the publication of the "2010" magazine. Meanwhile the initial idea became a consistant project of the Initiative Josef-Haubrich-Forum, financially and structurally backed by the registered association Das Loch. On the occasion of the event 'Was ist los in Köln?' (what's on in Cologne?) in the Kölnische Kunstverein the following statement was addressed to the public.

Europäische Kunsthalle Köln

Cologne at last is supposed to get a functional art-hall. In reality, the statements divulged by the administration to reestablish the (at first neglected and finally pulled down) art-hall in the future cultural centre at Neumarkt don't leave a lot to hope for - because the same concepts which once led to the slow decline of the art-hall are now being recycled. Admittedly, the art-scene of those days followed that decline from a self-satisfied distance. A new generation is now battling with the consequences and this generation knows it's in need of an art-hall as the lively place to meet and engage with contem-porary positions in order to participate in the international discourse. The Initiative Josef Haubrich-Forum and the reg. association Das Loch well now take up their own project: the model of the European Art-Hall Cologne / Euro-päische Kunsthalle Köln.

There's more to it than a mere reaction to the city council's failed art politics. This project appeals to the own strengths: In the course of developing the Europäische Kunsthalle Köln we want to discover and set free promising potentials that are hidden by the actual, unbearable situation of art, culture and public space; potentials that are inadequately expressed within the Cologne hole. The hole shows on a large scale how utterly spent our status quo is, how we need new models of participation and self-organisation in order to render possible art, culture and the public within the context of a city, considering the economic and social transformations that we undergo.

But why is it the European Art-Hall Cologne? The framework of urban cultural facilities has widened to European scale. If we want to commence the project of an art-hall for Cologne from a good start and consistently, then we will have to move within the context of plural, pan-European cultures and the process of their self-determination. A Europe of polymorph localities, able to counter the powers of globalisation with something heterogenic, dissimilar, experimental, even quarrelling- that's part of today's possibilities. It prevails even more since we extended our horizon to the East. The pan-European context is the only way to find valid responses to the issues of the constitution, procedures and self- maintaining of cultural institutions oriented along the contemporary. The European Art-Hall Cologne is a concrete attempt to develop sustainable models for local situations within the searching process of European culture.

On our way out of the Cologne hole, on to the model and into reality, this summer we, the Initiative and the association, will establish an international foundation council, whose composition will reflect the actual varieties of contemporary exhibition procedures and urban discourses. The council's task will be the proposition and discussion of competent candidates for the position of foundation director. In a public hearing the competitors will present their basic concepts for the modelling phase of the European Art-Hall Cologne and the foundation council will nominate the director in this hearing.

What will, what can be the task of the foundation directorate? Of course its starting position is paradox: Das Loch and the Initiative are neither politically authorized by the commune nor is there a tangible space for an art-hall. But that's the aim: The development of new possibilities for cultural self-constitution and of supporting networks. The foundation director shall work on the structural and conceptual definition of the European Art-Hall Cologne as a place of contemporary art and discourses in a competent and programmatic way; taking into account the altered conditions of political action, cultural production, economic and urban structures; this again within the context of a common and dissimilar formulation of European culture. The setting up of the European Art-Hall Cologne as a symbolic project at first, then a factual and temporary project is of emphasizing and experimental character. In a realistic scale it establishes itself as a shape of intellectual and working procedures, broadcasting the aims of a future European Art-Hall Cologne in adequate dimensions.

The registered association Das Loch guarantees the implementation and financing of the foundation and application proceedings - to all the friends and sponsors a hearty thank you! The application proceedings will be completed in November 2004. An annual budget for the modelling phase of the European Art-Hall Cologne will be fixed in agreement with the foundation council. This budget ought to be raised by donations, art-auctions and funds of the European Union. The first large auction is scheduled for October 2004 and we invite you to kindly support us.

This project (and everyone who backs and supports it) follows the tradition of citizen's commitment and conceives it anew. We take the first step forwards without releasing the communal politicians from their responsibility: They will have to respond to our model.

Initiative Josef-Haubrich-Forum / Das Loch, registered association, the board of directors

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