news 27 Sep 12

Homeless Bosnian Art Collection's Head Quits

Enver Hadziomerspahic, director of Ars Aevi, Bosnia's contemporary art collection, said he was resigning in protest over the failure to construct a permanent home for the artworks.

Hadziomerspahic said on September 26 that he would resign in December on the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the first contemporary art collection in the country.

Speaking in Sarajevo on Wednesday, he said that the authorities had failed to stump up promised funds to house the collection by renowned artists from all over the world.

The collection includes pieces by Greek painter Jannis Kounellis and Italian conceptual artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. The 160 pieces in total are estimated to be worth around 10 million euro.

“I have tried to explain [to the authorities] what kind of treasure we have - the kind of treasure one gets once and never again,” he said.

“But the politicians are not interested in seeing this project live,” he added, noting that the museum housing the collection was supposed to be ready by 2014, so that it could open its doors for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

He said he hoped that his decision to resign after 20 years of campaigning for a museum of contemporary art in Sarajevo would draw attention to the authorities.

Italian architect Renzo Piano designed a bridge over the river Miljacka, which was intended to lead to the planned but never built contemporary art museum, which Piano also designed.

The estimated cost of the museum is around 15 million euro. The EU offered to donate 10 million as long as the Bosnian authorities provided the other 5 million, but the latter has never firmed up its part of the money.

The Ars Aevi concept was created during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war by a group of Sarajevo artists, who asked colleagues around the world to help collect pieces for a future contemporary art museum in the besieged city.

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