I perceive my work as conservator for a museum collection and as curator for art-historical and contemporary exhibitions as being cultural work in the widest sense of the word. At the same time I consider the communication of historical positions, which after all were all contemporary at one time, to be an essential background for a reflective reception of art production today. Particularly in a place such as Zwickau, in which contemporary art is still considered to have that aura of incomprehensible elitism and where people are scarcely aware of its necessity, I have experienced that complementary references to historical and contemporary positions is becoming increasingly important. Also, there is an increasing emphasis on people’s own personal experience of contemporary art against a background of familiar traditions. I therefore see museum work on the one hand as the preservation of our cultural memory, while at the same time a critical approach to contemporary positions must be considered, in view of their strong and very immediate impact.
Similarly, I believe that it is necessary to form independent initiatives or even “guerrilla-troops,” which perceive themselves as initiators for cultural projects, in particular contemporary culture – particularly in places other than metropolises. At a time when the public institutions in the densely populated cultural area of Germany are increasingly unable to (or not inclined to) fulfil their cultural mission, then professional grass-roots culture should be ventured and established. The former East Germany even has the advantage of experience: In the GDR, a culture of niches without official recognition, often accompanied by hindrances and repression developed autonomously. This cultural-anarchist practice, with its more complex creativity and artistic “grass-roots” substance, should by all means be used to challenge the sometimes rather gratifying mainstream of fashionable event culture, which, marketed as a tourist attraction, has spread into every area possible.
Petra Lewey (2006)