“You have got to want something great!”

Susanne Kujer
Cultural Affairs City of Frankfurt am Main

In our collective conscience, there are stories that possess a special, mythical power, that over decades have not lost their fascination. The story of Don Quixote, the figure of the sad knight, is one of them. The work, created by Miguel de Cervantes at the beginning of the 16th century, provides the basis for an interdisciplinary exhibition project, to which international artists have been invited. Together with artists from Frankfurt, they will use the novel’s figure as a parable to approach and confront their own artistic existence.

So widersprüchlich sich Don Quijote vs. die Künstler auch zeigen, für die Gesellschaft erfüllen sie eine große Aufgabe: In ihrem schöpferischen Arbeiten hinterlassen sie der Nachwelt Sinnbilder, die uns zum Nachdenken anregen und der Wahrheit ein Stückchen näher bringen. Ich wünsche dem Projekt den Erfolg und die Aufmerksamkeit, die es verdient hat.

Don Quixote lives in an imaginary dream world. He prays with Dulcinea von Toboso, a noblewoman, who in reality is a noble lady. And although this passage in the book does not once fill more than two pages, everyone knows the section where the windmills in Don Quixote’s imagination become giants from which he must protect his lady-in.arms.Here the self-proclaimed knight calls out, “

„There you see, […] how thirty giants or many more come to light; with whom I think to fight a battle and to kill them all.” Then Don Quixote rushes forward to attack. Alone against windmills. But as the wind shifts and the mill wings change direction, the lance breaks and the brave knight is thrown to the ground. It is a drama that has become an idiom and symbol worldwide: as a struggle of the idealist against the reality of life.

And so, this exhibition project not only asks whether art can change people‘s reality in life, but also which personalities hide behind art. Is not every artist part of the personality of Don Quixote in his daily fight against windmills?

The results of the artist‘s daily struggle are his works of art: they are authentic, they speak of things that affect everyone, they intervene, they are seismographs. Artists reflect the reality of life in many facets. Artists are loners and lone fighters in the daily struggle for their creative work. Perhaps artists are therefore a modern Don Quixote? The repertoire always expanding. A professional life is not enough to absorb everything. That shapes one – for sure.

Credit for the idea of the project goes to ​​the Frankfurt artist Ahmad Rafi, who has managed to realize it through his network. Apart from the Frankfurter Kunstverein Familie Montez, the exhibition venues include, the Kunstverein Aschaffenburg, which with its three-storey house, is a suitable location for multimedia-based artists, as well as the „Instituto Cervantes“ in Frankfurt, a Spanish partner that will present an exhibition, readings and podium discussions. Another project partner is the Cultural NGO, Stara Zagora, in Bulgaria.

As contradictory as Don Quixote vs. the artists show themselves to be, they fulfill a great task for society: In their creative work, they leave to posterity symbols that inspire us to think and bring the truth a bit closer. I wish the project the success and the attention it deserves.