Giorgiana Zachia writes about the role given to contemporary art at national cultural institutes in the perspective of cultural intimacy.
Pride and prejudice of the national cultural institute: cultural diplomacy/cultural intimacy
A national cultural institute, in a traditional perspective, is a lot about pride, and quite a lot about prejudice. Pride in the sense that the basic idea with the institutes is to exhibit the nation’s best and most authentic cultural products – distinguished writers, finest art, best design etc. Prejudice in the form of expectations among the public in the countries where they are active, meaning that a visit to a particular national cultural institute is likely to produce an impression that this or that nation indeed has some unique and essential qualities. This traditional perspective of the cultural institutes is still valid but it has been accompanied by a more flexible praxis in relation to changes in our contemporary world. There is not so much self-reflexivity going on though, with regards to the role of the institutes and to the idea of national culture in the first place.