A farewell from Hortensia Völckers

Hortensia Völckers – former Artistic Direktor of the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Dear _,

The time has come to say farewell to our Magazine and you, our faithful readers. I believe the Magazine has fulfilled the promise inherent in its no-nonsense name – a storehouse, a repository of knowledge and an archive for everything that was important to our daily work. Looking back over the past 38 issues, we can take stock of what we have thought about, discussed and worked on over the past 20 years.

In this storehouse, we find a collection of cultural, academic, artistic and philosophical reflections and “essays” in the original sense of the word – attempts to understand contemporary culture in its many manifestations, as well as its ambivalences and contradictions. In hindsight, many things already seem historic to us, while others are on their way to becoming so. And literature and poetry are interwoven throughout like lifelines coursing through the Magazine.

There have been times when we ourselves have been surprised by articles or pictures – all the pieces were first-time publications – and a carte blanche was granted on many occasion. As a rule, when working with artists, you never know what you’ll get in the end. And that’s how it should be. Consequently, the Magazine was always an adventure. And throughout the years, it tended to buck the trends. This included the deliberate choice to avoid illustrating the articles. From the very beginning, we used the Magazine instead to present independent artistic photo series.

The only time we may have been inconsistent is when we took delight in the fact that our “illustrious” posters were occasionally repurposed to wrap presents which later appeared on people’s gift tables.

The Magazine reflects the themes that occupied, challenged and were ultimately embraced by the art world, culture, society and politics. I would say that we have become a different country in the past twenty years. The circumstances have become more complicated and intractable. It goes without saying that art and culture have not been spared but are rather intertwined in this development. At least we have learned from one another how important it is to actively and participatively shape the processes of transformation.

This remains.

I thank everyone who has contributed to making this publication a success – the authors, the artists and not least of all, the team in our press and public relations department. We can be proud of our subscriber base which totalled over 18,000 for our last issue. And we are grateful to the many visitors of our funded projects who took a free copy of the Magazine, which was usually provided at the venues, and recognised it as distinctive mark of quality.

The prospect of remaining in contact with the friends and acquaintances I have made over the years helps lessen the quantum of melancholy I feel at leaving a “job” that will surely never leave me – in my opinion, the most wonderful job in the (cultural) world. And to my successor, Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska, I know I leave it in the very best hands.

Sincerely yours,

Hortensia Völckers

About Hortensia Völckers

Hortensia Völckers was the artistic director of the Federal Cultural Foundation since 2002, the year it was founded. With the Federal Cultural Foundation, she promoted innovative programs and projects in an international context.

After 20 successful years at the helm of one of Europe's largest publicly funded cultural foundations, the influential cultural manager retired from her position at the end of December 2022.

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