Guest-author Prof. Dr. Adrian Popescu, Sibiu, Romania, publicist President of Lobbyart Foundation, founding member of German-Romanian University in Sibiu and for many years Vice-President of the the association of visual artists UAP in Sibiu, about the idea of the Danube Region, the recent Oana Ionel exhibition “Secret Stories of Danube River” in Vienna and the Private Art Club ART 9TEEN in Vienna and its support for Romanian Contemporary Art. The text had been published first time on Prof. Dr. Popescu’s facebook-site on October 6th, 2020.
A resident of Sibiu supports the strategy of the Danube Region through cultural activities.
Surprisingly or not in times of pandemic, there are still commendable initiatives aimed at economic recovery. Among those who promote such initiatives, we are pleased to nominate the collector and art curator Thomas Emmerling, a cultural lobbyist and more, with an effervescent activity whether we are talking about Europe or America. Thomas Emmerling visited Romania in 2010 and since then he has created a cultural bridge starting from traditional art to the creations of contemporary art. In this framework of cultural exchanges, the exhibitions alternated, being organized in: Sibiu, Cisnădioara, Timișoara, Iași, Cluj, Tg. Mureș, etc. At the same time he held events in Hungary, Germany, Slovakia but also in Austria where since 2018 he has carried out several projects under “ART 9TEEN”, as a result of his cooperation with the Viennese art entrepreneur and collector Alexander Varvaressos.
“ART 9TEEN” is a new concept, much more than an art gallery – a private art club, where business and culture coexist perfectly. Art collector and art dealer Thomas Emmerling, who also resides in Romania, the initiator and director of “Michelsberger Kunsthaus 7B in Transylvania”, based on an older project -related to the countries bordering the Danube- became the supporter of the Danube Region strategy through cultural activities . It is a welcome initiative that brings a new foundation of unity within the EU. The statement is supported by several arguments. The first would be the historical one and here, using archival documents, we invoke Nicolae Bălcescu who, on June 16, 1850, in the letter addressed to Alexandru Zane, referring to the “new continental order” launched a shocking proposal in that moment … namely “Giovine Europa”, formed on the basis of a “pact” … a structure meant to unite the Greeks, Spaniards, Swiss, Romanians and the Slavs of southern Europe, “a Danube confederation to which Napoleon himself I visa ”. This option regarding the “federal plan” is also presented in the letter he sent to Ion Ghica, on April 6, 1850, in which he proposed that this federal form be called the “United States of the Danube”, for which he proposed that the governing act to be implemented by a “Federal Central Assembly”. The second argument concerns the EU itself. Following the example of the “EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region”, the first such macro-regional approach, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region was recently relaunched, based on the efforts of stakeholders in the region to create a habitat in which all 115 million inhabitants to enjoy security, prosperity but also equal opportunities by connecting the Danube region to a network of transport, energy, culture and tourism.
“Secret Stories Of Danube River”
This last aspect is highlighted in the exhibition “Secret Stories Of Danube River”, in the creations of Oana Ionel, works exhibited by the curator Thomas Emmerling in the gallery in Vienna. The artist is known for her original concepts, which transcend political boundaries. Oana Ionel appeals to the memory of the river-symbol of Europe – the Danube, to tell a story about diversity, tolerance and respect for life. In a lyrical-abstract style, the painter describes the Danube as a cohabitation space that allows multiculturalism, from the Black Forest mountains to the Black Sea. “Rivers are alive and have a memory. Memories older than the peoples living on their shores are imprinted in their memory. Rivers do not care about the boundaries set by people”, explains the painter. One of the leitmotifs of Oana Ionel’s paintings is the island of Ada Kaleh, which was swallowed by the waters of the Danube in 1971, following the construction of the Iron Gates dam. In Oana Ionel’s painting, the island of Ada Kaleh is a constant presence and a symbol of diversity and respect for life. Congratulations to the Austrian curator living in Sibiu but also to the exhibitor who draws the attention of the decision makers that quick solutions must be found to overcome the pandemic crisis.