1. The financial facts are reality
For the first time its history, the FISAE congress was arranged in Finland, and that’s why
Exlibris Aboensis trusted on the support of the society as well as the sponsors – a support
that, after all, was received a lot less than expected. During the five years time we had before
the congress, we applied for support from more than 250 sources in vain. We used, in fact, all
our savings viz. 15,000 € in order to be able to realize the congress.
Fortunately, Naantali City gave their full support but nevertheless plans had to be curtailed and
adapted to funds on hand. In spite of difficulties we were able to arrange the congress and we
are pleased to say that we have received merely good feedback.
A surprise was the support offered by the Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese artists, who
arranged a wonderful exhibition of woodcut art. The thanks go to the organizers: Ichigoro
Uchida, Wang Rong and Yuan-Shih Pan. Mr. Pan had also published a magnificent exhibition
book: Pearls of Asia.
2. The high-class ex-libris competition
We made a mistake when we did not send the invitation to the ex-libris competition directly
to participants of the former competitions and to art colleges that will secure the future of this
art. It would be nice if we could gather on the FISAE sites contact info to such educational
institutions that provide art education.
Many participants of the competition expressed their annoyance, quite understandable,
when they did not receive the exhibition catalogue, which was distributed to the participants
of the congress. But according to Rule No. 11 of the Competition, we promised to send the
catalogue only to those who had succeeded best in the competition i.e. the rewarded and
those who received honorary mentions. It would have cost us an additional 20,000 € to send
the catalogue to all participants, taking into account printing and shipping costs, and we,
unfortunately, did not have means for that.
You can still obtain the catalogue for the rock-bottom price of 50 €, which includes shipping
costs. For many inquirers that, already, turned out to be too expensive.
3. The number of participants has to increase
In order to cover the general costs, we have to get the number of participants to stay
permanently over 200 in the future. We knew this would turn out to be difficult, because
usually the basis has been on your own country added with the neighbouring countries, from
which little was to be expected. In fact, from our neighbouring countries we received only five
participants from Scandinavia, one from the Baltic States and 11 from Russia.
Time to Thank
Self-criticism about FISAE’s XXXIVth Congress is sound
Exlibris Aboensis, Mertatie 12, FI-21100 Naantali
To get the interest in ex-libris growing, you have to profoundly understand the importance of
the congresses as well as marketing the societies effectively everywhere. We were missing
the participants from, among others, countries with long traditions, like the U.K., Italy and
France. Some language disputes that occurred earlier feel selfish – it should be understood
that you cannot expect to get services on your own language. We have always been able to
understand each other. FISAE’s official language is English, which most of us master.
In the net we had advance advertising on nine languages. We had not been prepared for the
post-congress expectations with sufficient pictorial and info supply, the resources simply were
not there. The number of personal inquiries was a big surprise - we replied to approximately
4. The Delegates’ plenum
In the official plenum there was a discussion that got a proportionally too central focus in the
introduction in which we heard about the confiscation of an ex-libris collection on exportation.
The decision on this matter was that you have to obey the exportation rules of that particular
country you are visiting.
It was very pleasant to notice that the future of the FISAE world congresses that have been
organized since the beginning of the 1950’s, has been secured by organizers long into the
5. The cooperation of the Societies
Concentrating on your own country only is a mistake of the members of an international
organization. Already a minor cooperation could turn out to be an important stimulus that
may forestall the diminishing of the local interest. It is worthwhile to increase visits to ex-libris
events abroad – even in smaller groups.
There are totally 249 states and countries out there from which only 33 are represented in
FISAE. Most likely the majority in most countries doesn’t even know what an ex-libris is. That
is, for us, a great challenge. You can imagine the potential!
6. The future has to be secured
I would say that we can remain confident with regard to the future; the younger generations
will certainly find the hobby through Internet.
We should appreciate the versatility of our hobby. It is great if you will be able to exchange
an ex-libris with all participants in the congress. You can personally do your own decision in
that respect so that the way the ex-libris has been designed will not pose a hinder that would
offend and chase away a new collector, a novice.
My chairmanship of the FISAE ended with the Finnish congress and this is the right moment to
thank everyone that works for this experiences-bringing hobby of ours, because we all in the
various societies, as well as FISAE, work entirely unpaid on our own time.
I wish you a fruitful ex-libris year 2013!
Also all success to the organizers of the XXXVth congress,
see you in Catalonia 2014!
FISAE Chairman 2010-2012
FISAE Chairman 2010-2012