Zagreb - Paris via Ljubljana, Venice, Milan, Dijon

Mobile, ephemeral exhibition Simplon Express was realized in June 1989 on a train traveling from Paris to Zagreb. 23 years later we are revisiting the same itinerary with new passengers but in opposite direction, from Zagreb to Paris: the Return.

Last 23 years have brought out deep historical, economical, cultural and social changes along this itinerary. In 1989 the Berlin wall was torn down, a few years later Yugoslavia disappeared and in 2001 the Simplon Express itself stopped running.

The return trip will incorporate images from the 1989's nearly idyllic voyage, consisting of numerous artistic interventions in the ambience which invoked day-dreaming. Today, the paradox of changes that have occurred during the years make this voyage complex and problematic. It manifests contemporary preoccupations on the international art scene.

The Gallery of Tenants is trying to follow the itinerary of the not longer existing Simplon Express, this legendary train that was almost for a century a direct connection between East and West. It's wagons carried ideas, cultural dialogs, they reflected political will, and now they are being abolished by globalized financial operations. For them this vehicle means nothing today but at the begging of the XX century it carried diplomates, politicians, artists, the populace of European countries towards Balkans and further - to Turkey.

For this reason the Gallery of Tenants will renew the intercepted itinerary of the Simplon Express with Simplon Express / the Return using excerpts from the video made in 1989, some complete pieces that will help us detect the transformations that occurred in last 23 years, and specific pluralistic projects directly conceived with the Simplon Express / the Return.

To realize the reconstruction of the Simplon Express through this project, even for a short period of time, is a resolution of the stubborn insisting on the urgency of connecting nations and cultures.

The plurality of investigations that are contributing to Simplon Express / the Return are combining research and engaged questioning that have appeared in the field of visual arts, theatre and music thanks to the use of similar technical processes and sharp reflections on the complexity of contemporary moment.

Ida Biard