The Protest that Never Ends

















I came across a statement by the artist and curator Magda Guruli which starts off with the quote by Leonardo da Vinci : Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence, and it got me thinking.  Guruli is one of the organisers of Artisterium V, the 5th International Contemporary Art Exhibition and Forum which takes place in Tbilisi, Georgia next month.

‘Artisterium’ is an ongoing series of workshops, panel discussions and exhibitions which explores themes of social, political and aesthetic concern.  The name ‘Artisterium’ was chosen to reflect the modernist, cultural dynamics of Tbilisi in the early years of the 20th century, recalling a particular art club that was connected to the “ARS” magazine during those years.  The club was famous for its intense artistic environment, its avant-garde exhibitions, its many wild parties and passion-filled poetry evenings.

The theme for Artisterium V is :  “The Protest that Never Ends” and according to Guruli, this theme offers an opportunity to research and showcase artistic and theoretical reflections on a wide range of protest forms that we are currently experiencing around the world.  Furthermore, the events aim to provide a platform for exploring how a creative work might again become a “catalyst for change”.

I find this notion refreshing, I must say.  I attended some talks about Painting in Dublin recently and… well, let’s just say that there wasn’t much passion to be experienced.  I know that I should’ve asked:  “but what is art for? – Is it for the exclusive investigations of the masters of fine art, or might it possibly engage with a wider audience?”  But I stayed silent, and as Leonardo wrote: Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.  Was there more that I could’ve said?  Should I have jumped up on the chair and shouted “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” ?  Should I have torn up a photograph of Peter Doig, or Luc Tuymans, or Martin Kippenberger?  Ah, don’t mind me, but what do you think?    

More information at:



  1. Asking “what is art for” is opening up a cavern. Whole forums and thesis papers are devoted. Perhaps a time and place sort of scenario? Or maybe organize a Dublin artist meetup to discuss and debate the very question. Would prove to be an interesting meeting.
    Artisterium and the Protest that Never Ends sounds fascinating – wish I could pop over there!


  2. Hello again Sara, nice to hear from you. You’re right of course, it’s a very complex issue but an important one to tackle, I think. I’m just back from Tbilisi and I’ll be writing about it soon – when I get the chance to recover my breath ! It was a lot to take in, in a short while, but a great experience.


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