With a view to the new exhibition by Ákos Ezer, Michael Wimmer examines current developments in Hungary’s cultural-political sphere in his lecture “Art and Antagonism: Artists in the Maelstrom of Illiberal Cultural Politics.” This pertains to the cultural self-image of Hungarian citizens, most of whom—if we consider their voting behavior—have made peace with the illiberal regime of Viktor Orbán. With the aspiration of keeping alternatives alive, artists today play a very special role. This lecture spotlights the creative activity amid the present-day economic, social, and political circumstances prevailing in Hungary, or even more broadly in Central and Eastern Europe, but also contrasts it with the (predominately?) liberal democracies of the West.
Dr. Michael Wimmer (*1950 Vienna, lives in Vienna) earned degrees in music education and organ as a concert discipline from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, as well as in mathematics and chemistry from the University of Vienna. In 2011, he received his doctorate from the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the field of cultural policy research, where he now teaches today. Moreover, Wimmer is a consultant for the Council of Europe, the UNESCO, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, and the European Commission. He was also a member of the Federal Ministry’s commission of experts on the introduction of the new middle school concept in Austria. His expertise encompasses issues related to cultural and educational policy. Following his years as director of Austrian cultural services from 1987 to 2003, he founded the research and consulting office Educult – Denken und Handeln in Kultur und Bildung, with an emphasis on cultural education and mediation of art and culture.