Concept Designer and Initiator in collaboration POGON


ICSC is organized in three stages during three years, involving two partner organizations (Kunst Kraft Werk and Pogon), two curators are selected by a public call (one from Leipzig and one from Zagreb), and two temporary artist collectives of three artists each, from the same cities. Both curators and artist collectives will work together during residencies in each city. This collaboration will lead to an exhibition with supplementary programming that will take place in each city, with all six artists exhibiting under the direction of the two curators.

ICSC continues to develop cross-national relationships, intercity cooperations, and cultural expansion, through the spirit of partnership building, and artist and curator mobility. Our aspiration is that this city exchange will gain a life of its own that will outlive the project. It is our intention to apply this frame to exchanges between other European cities, as it is an apt expression how culture can communicate Europe’s shared values.  Zagreb Cultural Capital 2020 candidate city has pledged partnership with ICSC.

The connection between Leipzig and Zagreb first began in 2012, initiated by the efforts of Candace Goodrich, with the One-sided Story artist residency project and Wasser Schöpfen/ZAGRABITI exhibition, in the alliance with the HDLU, through the support of the Goethe Institute and the Ministry of Culture of Croatia. This first phase established a dialogue through the mobility of artists between the two cities. Eleven Croatian artists (Tomislav Buntak, Natalia Borčić, Sebastijan Dračić, Maja Pejčinović, Fedor Fischer, Anita Kontrec, Ljiljana Mihaljevic, Zlatan Vehabović, Saša Živković, Pavle Pavlović, OKO, Igor Ruf, Matko Vekic, Petra Grozaj, Josip Zanki) were hosted in Leipzig over the course of 2012 and 2013, and represented the highest percentage of the national demographic across the international residency program that in total hosted 38 international artists. Besides Croatia, there were artists from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, the UK, and the USA. The culmination of the one year project was the Wasser Schöpfen/ZAGRABITI exhibition at the HDLU Ring Gallery in Zagreb, where eight Leipzig artists (Edgar Leciejewski, Johannes Makolies, Franziska Holstein, Katrin Heichel, Maria Sainz Rueda, Falk Messerschmidt, Jochen Plogsties, Justus Jager) traveled to Zagreb to exhibit alongside international and Croatian artists. The ripple effect of these first encounters still reverberates both independently and through the original partner institution, as German and Croatian artists continuously exhibit in one another’s cities, both individually and by forming new collaborations.

In June 2014, Sonja Soldo, program coordinator at Pogon, invited Candace Goodrich, Art Director of the Kunstkraftwerk, and Director and Founder of One-sided Story, to Zagreb to speak at Residency Programmes Forum, an international event organized by Pogon in partnership with Croatian Ministry of Culture and EUNIC – Cluster Croatia. Candace delivered a lecture about the current state of artist residency practice and non-profit art organizations in Leipzig in the context of an environment deeply involved in reurbanization and gentrification. Candace, Sonja Soldo and Emina Visnic (Director of Pogon) exchanged and worked together through panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities, and developed the concept for this project.

ICSC is a 3-year exchange that is structured as a tier system, providing multiple points of contact between Leipzig and Zagreb, through diverse avenues, forming bonds through cultural workers, curators, and artists alike. The aim of the project is to to create concrete and lasting relationships between two cities and their artistic scenes, focusing on collaborative curatorial and artistic work. ICSC focuses on process and operates as a structure defined by three axes: (1) collaborative / collective work; (2) inter-local exchange between two cities; and (3) engagement of local communities. Such a structure remains open at a conceptual and artistic level, in order to allow a free creative space for the curators and artists that will participate in the project.

In order to engage curators, artist collectives, art historians and theoreticians, to develop a broad audience through public presentations, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions, ICSC will be organized in three stages during three years through close collaboration between the partners.


  1. Two curators work together during the one-month residences in each city.
  2. Two artist collective of three artists each work on their artistic projects during the two-month residences in each city.
  3. An exhibition with supplementary programming in each city.

Stage 1 – Curators

The project will start with the selection of a single curator from each city by way of open call and juried selection. Each partner will organize a specialist jury, and both juries will be involved in selection of both curators. In 2015, the curators will travel to one another’s city; for one month in Zagreb and one month in Leipzig. During this time period, both curators will make studio visits with the local artists; visit the local galleries, museums, and off-site spaces; explore the city to gain a strong impression and understanding of its heritage, history, and people; conduct a public presentation of their design; and ultimately work directly in collaboration with the other curator to develop the concept note for artistic residences that will follow and that will serve for the the next open call for artist collectives. At the end of the two months, the curators will publish their open call for artists to form temporary collectives of three artists.

Stage 2 – Artists collectives

The two curators together will choose one Zagreb collective and one Leipzig collective. In 2016, the two collectives will travel to one another’s city for two months of residency. The collectives must work with one another over the two months, and over the course of 2 weeks (1 week in Leipzig / 1 week in Zagreb) the curators will again travel to the partner’s city to work directly with both collectives in the context of each city. During the residencies in both cities, the collectives will make a public presentation whether in the form of a panel discussion, lecture series, through an educational or social institution, through a collaborative action with the public, or by another means of their creation.

Stage 3 – Exhibitions

In the third and final stage, in 2017, curators will work with the artists and partners to prepare the exhibition with supplementary programming that will take place in each city. All six artists will be exhibiting under the direction of both curators.

All stages of ICSC will be documented through curators and artists activities (texts, notes, sketches, photographs, and video). Moreover, the partners will document all of the events and local encounters, engaging a professional photographer and communication person. The documentation of the process will be available on-line through the partners’ websites, and a mutual printed catalog will be published and distributed locally and within the European networks and beyond.

Special attention will be given to communication with local audiences and specific groups and communities. Artistic and other ‘neighboring’ communities (for instance activists and other socially engaged groups) will be involved directly in all stages of the project. Inter-generational involvement with the program will be fostered through the dissemination of the project activities and public invitation for civic participation through on-line social media and printed materials.

The basic frame of ICSC, allows for:

  • flexibility and the natural evolution of the project and collaborations
  • the inclusion and exploration of other organizations
  • the involvement other sectors
  • new modes of social engagement
  • audience development through participation over longer periods of time than a single event
  • networking opportunities and career development for the artists, curators, and partners

This formula can be applied to any two European cities to develop lasting relationships beyond the predetermined. In this way all of the cities involved will be able to see how this dynamic progresses in different environments.

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