45th October Art Salon/Continental Breakfast, Belgrade
International exhibition for the first time
Belgrade, 11. September - 31. October 2004


Jochen Gerz

Let me say some words about travelling. Before I came here, I went to Dublin. The seats of Aer Lingus airplanes are covered with writing quotes from books of the Irish writer's up to the 20th centuries: Synge, Behan, Swift, O'Cassey, Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett and others. Most of them had travelled in the sense that they left behind their country. In the JAT plane for Belgrade the seats were used as advertising for Pepsi Cola.

Continental Breakfast means you are not at home. In many places it means something else: you can choose. It may mean something else as well: to have time to sit down. Travelling to an art exhibition can mean the worst is over. Or it can mean: the worst is yet to come.

Continental Breakfast is an art exhibition. This means we settle for the ordinary life in peace, which art is a part of. Imagine the JAT seats with the manuscripts and the signatures of the artists from this exhibition. Imagine the passengers in the JAT plans finding out, reading, understanding, or not understanding the thoughts of the living artists from here, from Croatia, from Europe and the other places in the world. What would it change? Maybe not a lot. Maybe it means that as long as these planes are flying, and artists are travelling to international exhibitions for contemporary art the worst is over, or, the worst is yet to come.

Belgrade was a well-known centre for contemporary art since the sixties. In the sixties, seventies, eighties in Belgrade and all over former Yugoslavia there were many workshops, symposiums, meetings, performances, international art exhibitions. After this Belgrade disappeared. We know why. It is up to the Serbian people, artists or not, to speak about this. They can and they must do this. So today the opening of Continental Breakfast is a return to Belgrade. Thank you for having us here, thank you for inviting us back.

In the names of the artists - I think this is what I was asked to do - I want to thank Anda Rottenberg. She did here what she did before in Warsaw. She did it for the first time. And I want to thank Dunja Blažević, Biljana Tonić, Bojana Pejić and Ida Briard. They did not (take part in?) do this exhibition, but they are part of the reason why we are here today.