By: Ana Horvat / Nova24tv.si
“The minister accuses me of unprofessionalism, but… I was not called from the street, I spent half my life lecturing on the sociology of culture and the sociology of literature, in which I have a doctorate. I got my doctorate about eight years before the Minister of Culture was born, in short, a completely fabricated and obscene statement that predicts a purge in Slovenian culture”, said Dr Dimitrij Rupel, who referred to the unfounded accusations of the Minister of Culture Asta Vrečko, which caused him to resign from his position as director of the Public Book Agency, even before she would have dismissed him.
“This week, prof. Dr #Dimitrij #Rupel overtook the minister who wanted to remove him and resigned from the position of director of #JAK himself. Rupel rejected all the accusations of @AstaVrecko @mk_gov_s in the show,” emphasised Metod Berlec on Twitter, who hosted Dr Dimitrij Rupel, who believes that in the whole situation with the Minister of Culture Asta Vrečko, “it is not only about the Public Book Agency (JAK) and the director of the Modern Gallery, it is also about RTV and other institutions where the left, from the position of its ideological prejudices, wants to air out, as she says, the situation”, he is convinced.
In an interview for STA, the Minister of Culture complained about Dr Dimitrij Rupel, now former director of JAK, about “wrong, unprofessional moves, harmful to the culture”, regarding the selection of directors, saying that the previous ministry did not appoint them/us “on the basis of professional criteria”; that “preparations (for visiting the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2023) are going very far from ideal”. In all this, she mentioned “concerned letters … from the professional public”. In the end, she said that Dimitrij Rupel does not enjoy her trust.
She added three claims to this, namely that the situation is now being resolved by Miha Kovač, that she has already met with Rupel twice, has repeatedly requested documentation on the progress of preparations for Slovenia’s visit to Frankfurt, and that she is currently studying this documentation and will take appropriate action based on the findings.
Initially, Rupel explained that he himself brought Kovač to JAK after his arrival (June 2021). He was a member of the “Frankfurt Commission” from September 2021 and became a curator in May 2022. According to Rupel, until her arrival at the Ministry of Culture, there were no complaints from the Ministry of Culture, so the preparations for guest appearence in Frankfurt proceeded normally. The project “Slovenia, guest of honour at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt 2023 – is a model for the permanent promotion of Slovenian literary creativity abroad, which is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund”.
He also responded to accusations of delays in preparation, which he claims are not based on facts: JAK is preparing on the guest appearance in Frankfurt based on the calendar proposed by the Germans and is not behind at any point. He said that other countries spent less than a year on key preparations, Georgia eight months, which means that they could have succeeded in Frankfurt even if they had only started preparations today.
“We started earlier because we have fewer people available. We have been successful up to this point; if the planned programme is implemented, success can be counted on in the future as well. Of course, changing or not running the programme at this point would be risky, but not impossible; whoever undertakes it will bear all the consequences for the quality of Slovenia’s honorary hosting at the Frankfurt Book Fair,” Rupel has already explained, among other things, in the past.
In an open letter addressed to the minister, Rupel explained that JAK has recently concluded several contracts or is negotiating with art institutions and individuals who will perform in Frankfurt in 2023. “These are big and small events: from the performance of the Laibach group with the performance Alamut, the ballet performance Povodni mož performed by the Maribor Ballet with choreographer Edward Clug, a concert of modern Slovenian music in the Alte Oper (Žuraj), exhibitions of Slovenian illustrations, art works/installations in Schirn Kunsthalle, presentations of Slovenian museums and cinemas to the presentation of the exhibition on Slovenian literature Slovenica (NUK), the exhibition on Prešeren in the Romantik Museum, the presentation of works by the artist Eva Petrič (Rubik’s cube) and, of course, the German and English translation of the Handbook for Slovenia with texts from the field of architecture, film, theatre, literature, cuisine, fine arts, sports, history,” Rupel listed, adding that a series of 20 short films about Slovenian authors is also being filmed, and a film about Slovenian-German relations is being prepared. “The Goethe-Institute in Ljubljana and cultural centres (Skica) in Berlin and Vienna are contributing to the programme,” he further explained.