Personal report of the 45th AICA International Congress in Zurich
Under the title «Writing with an Accent» the 45th AICA International Congress undertook to investigate the various forms of art critical writing, as they are practiced today worldwide. For once not art itself should be the subject, but the writing about art.
With the aim to give the discussion a lot of space, the presentations were given very limited time. This measure led to sharper thesis as far as the presentations were concerned, and to more lively discussions than often.
Many speakers took the issue of the congress very seriously and sought to integrate the problem of writing about art in their presentations – in one way or another. It appeared, however, that the matter is hard to pin: many papers slipped easily out again from the reflection about writing, to find themselves back in the more familiar field of the thinking about art. In correspondance to that were the discussions, in which art itself was often more the subject than writing about it. The volatility of the subject became evident as well on the occasion of a panel discussion dedicated to the art-critical approach to Documenta 13.
All together, the Congress was very vivid, with concentrated lectures and an interested audience. At the same time the three days also illustrated that we basically have no words for what we do as art critics in our every day lives: writing. The letters «AICA» are, however, standing for an International Association of «Art Critiques», and so the writing about art should, as much as art itself, be a theme for the asscosciation. With this 45th AOCA Congress we connected the attempt to bring the attention of AICA International closer to the subject of art criticism itself. Even if the congress rather grazed it's subject, it perhaps opened the door to a matter that actually belongs to the core themes of an association like AICA.
Samuel Herzog and Eveline Suter, AICA Switzerland