On one Side of the Same Water is a quote from Lawrence Weiner; it offers insight into the art production and sicussion currently taking place in the south and southeast Mediterranean region, countries some of which have undergone radical political transformation over the past few years, particularly recently. Artistic practice accompanies these events: it is both influenced by them and seeks to offer ist own contribution to change. Beyond all things documentary in nature, it shows us a variety of aspects that the cultural perspective perceives differently than that of the economic and political.
Angelika Stepken, the director of the Villa Romana in Florence, Italy for the past five years, is deeply familiar with these processes. She has opened the resideny program to artists primarily from the Mediterranean region, and they now work as guests of the Villa Romana alongside the other fellows of international origin who are based in Germany. From these encounters, relationships, contacts, and discussions have emerged, which have found a voice in the present Jahresring publication and which continue to develop today. Angelika Stepken has put together a fascinating book that offers an insight into the region’s artistic development. However, the publication has had to limit itself to some of the essential aspects; it’s clear that a work of this nature cannot sum up the complexity of the south and southeast Mediterranean region in ist entirety. Reflecting on the ongoing upheaval and continuous change, however, Stepken suceeds in creating a convincing image of the present contemporary situation in the area that aspires to historical validity.
I am grateful to all participating artists, authors, and especially guest editor Angelika Stepken for their contributions and efforts.