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Blue and red distorted forms with black text that reads attention air raid sirens in Berlin

“I Refuse to Accept This State of Affairs”: An Interview with the International Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the War in Ukraine

While a major war rages in Ukraine, how can contemporary art help launch an antiwar movement worldwide? At a time when art workers in the post-Soviet region are more ethnically divided than ever, the International Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the War in Ukraine demonstrates a unique ability to unite around a platform for promoting antiwar and anti-colonial messages. Initially intended as an alternative Belarusian pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, this digital platform quickly evolved to include and showcase antiwar artwork from a broad spectrum of countries including Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, India, Mexico, … Read more

Sold For Parts: Selma Selman’s Activist Practice

                                                                       “I don’t want art that points to a thing. I want art that is the thing.”

                                                                        –Tania Bruguera

 

In 2018, Selma Selman, an artist of Romani origin who grew up in Bosnia and Herzegovina (henceforth referred to as Bosnia), set out to buy her freedom from her family. Recording her project on film, she negotiated a fair price to make up for the dowry her parents would forgo in not marrying her off. She proceeded to sell her hair, her clothes, and her artworks before officially making the exchange of $11,166 for her independence. Selman’s aim was, in … Read more

Broken Narrative: The Politics of Contemporary Art in Albania

Armando Lulaj and Marco Mazzi, Broken Narrative: The Politics of Contemporary Art in Albania (Earth, Milky Way: Punctum Books, 2022), 364 pp. 

Broken Narrative is a book from the margins peddling central, bringing recent Albanian history into conversation with central ideological currents of our times. This symbolic exchange between local and global stories unfolds through a dialogue between Italian-educated Albanian artist Armando Lulaj and Italian photographer and multi-media artist Marco Mazzi, presenting a microcosm of a long overdue Albanian-Italian conversation. Encapsulating some of Albania’s most persistent dreams and nightmares, Italy emerges as a simulacrum of sorts, an actual and imaginary … Read more

Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany

Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany at the Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minnesota, February 2–May 15, 2022

In Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany, curators Sara Blaylock and Sarah James assembled a comprehensive body of art from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) that functioned as more than an art historical survey, raising larger questions about the relationship between artists and social and political institutions. The exhibition presented works by over thirty artists and artist groups active in the 1980s and early 90s. Rather than focus on better-known painters such as Willi Sitte, Werner Tübke, or … Read more

Enduring the Flag: A Review of Maria Kulikovska’s 254 Performance

Maria Kulikovska, 254 Performance, Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, April 27 to May 4, 2022

For her durational performance 254 at the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Ukrainian artist Maria Kulikovska laid on the steps of the museum underneath the Ukrainian flag. From one Wednesday until the next between April 27 to May 4, 2022, and commencing daily at noon, 3pm, and 5pm, she performed an hour of passive action—an active disengagement that reaffirmed the relationship between fight and flight. The performance was a re-enactment of a protest that Kulikovska originally staged in 2014 at Manifesta 10, a contemporary art biennial that took place … Read more

In an all-white room, a diagonal bench has four white drawings on top of it. Beneath the bench is a video monitor with a video showing a person in white falling upwards into a ceiling of sand.

Dream Compass: “There You Are,” or the Bulgarian Pavilion in the Context of the 59th Venice Biennial

“Images are (…) a silent language. They are a station on the way from silence to language. They stand on the frontier where silence and language face each other closer than anywhere else, but the tension between them is resolved by beauty. Images and pictures remind man of life before the coming of language. They move him with a yearning for that life (…) It is the soul that preserves the silent images of things”.(Max Picard, Images and Silence, in The World of Silence (Minnesota: Harvill, 1948), p. 80.)

The Bulgarian Pavilion at the 59th edition … Read more

Vich-na-Vich: A Conversation – Ukraine, Extreme Care Time

This podcast dialogue took place on July 17, 2022, nearly five months since Russia first invaded Ukraine. Cultural producer Janeil Engelstad and curator Lilia Kudelia spoke with curator and researcher Kateryna Filyuk and art historian and cultural programmer Ilya Zabolotnyi about how the war has impacted Ukrainian art and culture, issues of cultural preservation and self-agency, as well as the building of support networks and new art infrastructures. Filyuk is a curator at Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives in Kyiv, whose mission has shifted to address the war-related needs of arts organizations, artists, and cultural workers (https://izolyatsia.org/en/). Zabolotnyi Read more

Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany

Sara Blaylock, Parallel Public: Experimental Art in Late East Germany (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2022), 328 PP.

Artists infiltrated state culture by meting out its excesses. They tested the hard-line intolerance of cultural innovation advertised by cultural bureaucracy. They hedged their bets on the threats of state security forces, and won. They identified with and sought approval from each other, even as they benefited from the advantages of the state culture whose approval they foreswore, but whose financial incentives they enjoyed. In their dedication to creative autonomy, experimental artists exposed a core vulnerability in state power – namely, its reliance Read more

László Beke (1944–2022): A Collective Obituary

László Beke, the Hungarian curator and art historian who from the late 1960s became one of the key catalysts of art networks and cross-border collaborations within and beyond Eastern Europe‚ died on January 31 of this year. He published articles, compiled publications, lectured, curated projects and exhibitions on various aspects of progressive art, including Conceptualism, photography, semiotics, Fluxus, Dada, and the post-contemporary (referring to the situation after the era of contemporary art), and, most importantly, pursued his utopian commitment to East European art. Between 1969 and 1986 he was a research fellow at the Research Institute for Art History of … Read more

In the foreground, a palm tree made of roughly cut wood lies on snowy ground while n the background there are large text and photo panels installed on old buildings. One group of three panels shows a woman with a toy, with a caption in three languages

Entangled Roots in the Mutating Nature of the New East: Kristaps Ancāns in Conversation with Corina Apostol and Jasmina Tumbas

Romanian-American-Baltic curator Corina L. Apostol and Latvian-British artist Kristaps Ancāns have recently begun a series of collaborations that focus on expanding discourses in contemporary art to include transnational perspectives centered on the New East. In December 2021, Apostol served as the curator for Ancāns’s large-scale site-specific installation what can’t we just create (2021-2022) at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia. Prompted by the current invasion of Ukraine, Apostol and Ancāns revisit this installation in conversation with art historian Jasmina Tumbas, to discuss how they—as cultural workers from the region—negotiate the reconfiguration of questions of identity, nationalism, and sexuality … Read more

A cover image of the book, featuring the title and a decorative bakground

A Multi-faceted and Global Perspective on Periodicals—in Every Sense

Meghan Forbes, ed., International Perspectives on Publishing Platforms: Image, Object, Text. New York and Oxford: Routledge, 2019, 268 pp.

Periodicals have traditionally been a favorite format of artists when it comes to experimenting on the blank page. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that magazines create communities even if their members are almost invisible to one another, dispersed as they may be over regional, national, and even continental geographies. Moreover, because of their time-limited nature, which is—a priori—ephemeral or, at least, specific to a certain time span, magazines tend to offer greater freedom for … Read more

Cover of the book

Galeria Wschodnia: Dokumenty 1984-2017 / Documents 1984-2017

Daniel Muzyczuk and Tomasz Załuski (eds.), Galeria Wschodnia. Dokumenty 1984-2017 / Documents 1984-2017 (Łódź: Galeria Wschodnia, Fundacja In Search Of, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, 2019), 916 pp. 

Looking at politics through the lens of alternative galleries is by now an established method within Polish art history. It has allowed for the emergence of vital comparative perspectives, both in the regional context (as demonstrated by Piotr Piotrowski’s oft-cited article “How to Write a History of Central-East European Art?”) and on a national level (e.g. Marcin Lachowski’s Awangarda wobec instytucji, or Luiza Nader’s Konceptualizm w PRL).(Piotr Piotrowski, “How to Read more

Conversation with Boris Kostadinov

Sven Spieker: Please outline your view of the curator in the 21st century. What are this curator’s major commitments and constraints? Also does the “curator-from-Eastern Europe” concept retain any specificity for you, or not?

Boris Kostadinov: The war that’s raging in Ukraine right now is showing us beyond any doubt that we live in a fluid world, a world in which definitions—not only of what is meant by art, historical time, as well as culture, political and economic geography—are bound to be thoroughly rethought and redefined. The 21st century is no longer what it was until yesterday—basking in … Read more

book cover

Subjective Histories: Self-historicization as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe

Daniel Grúň (ed.), Subjective Histories: Self-historicization as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe, Bratislava, Veda, 2020, 320 pp.

The image on the cover of the book Subjective histories: Self-historicization as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe shows an empty escalator. Its constant up and down movement might visualize the quest that all the texts in this book seem to share: to highlight the parallels between different artistic activities before 1989 and their meaning from a present point of view. The cover photograph (by Peter Sit) is from a performance by Slovak artist Matej Gavula, together with APART Collective, called Sunday, … Read more

A Memorial That Neither Victims nor Perpetrators Want but Is Needed: An Interview with Ilona Németh

In March 2022, the General Assembly of Budapest announced the winning team of the juried competition for the public memorial, Memory of Rape in Wartimes: Women as Victims of Sexual Violence, a unique memorial project that aims to address the difficult history of violence against women during wartime. The winning proposal, Memory of Rape in  Wartimes, by Slovakian-Hungarian artist Ilona Németh, architect Gabi Mészáros, and poet Anikó N. Tóth, is to be realized in 2023. Hedvig Turai recently spoke with Ilona Németh about their project.

Hedvig Turai: To set up a memorial to wartime victims of rape is … Read more

The Grave is Better Than Not Knowing

The Grave is Better Than Not Knowing, Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, Prishtina, November 18, 2021 – January 31, 2022

“The grave is better than not knowing”: this is how Kumrije Jahmurataj expressed her sorrow while anxiously awaiting news of her missing husband, Smajli, who to this day remains unaccounted for after the 1998-99 Kosovo War. Jahmurataj was interviewed as part of research conducted by The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLC Kosovo), a non-profit organization that was first established during the social upheaval of 1997, before the war began. In the post-war context, HLC Kosovo has played a key role in

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ARTMargins Online Eastern European Art Periodicals Map

The AMO interactive Eastern European Art Periodicals Map (2022) is the result of four years of research by Camilla Salvaneschi (IUAV, Venice); Susan Snodgrass (AMO); and Sven Spieker (AMO), and it has benefited from the generous help of several others.(Ian Gabe Wilson, who conducted invaluable initial research, and Russell Coon (pielabmedia.com), who designed the map.) Its goal is to demonstrate intellectual affinities between currently active art-focused periodicals published in the region, revealing in the process the material conditions of art writing and art publishing in Eastern Europe today.

The Eastern European Art Periodicals Map recalls Irwin’s  East Art Read more

The artist, a black woman with very short hair, sitting at a table against a dark background. She has a box open in front of her and appears to be reading something inside the box.

“To Me, Everything is a Space for Encounter”: Michael Laundry in Conversation with Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński

Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński is an interdisciplinary artist mainly using archival and museal material for artistic research in photography and video. Late last year, Kazeem-Kamiński received the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz. A solo show of her work was also recently on view at Kunsthalle Wien. While in Vienna, Michael Laundry spoke with Kazeem-Kamiński about how her work creates space to think about Black feminism, representation, and post-colonial theory. In this interview, Laundry and Kazeem-Kamiński discuss the her use of slide shows, artist books, photography, and video in the dissection of the white gaze on Black … Read more

THE EARTH IS FLAT AGAIN

The Earth is Flat Again / Ziemia znów jest płaska, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, September 24, 2021 – February 27, 2022

The impetus to rethink the role of the museum characterizes the overarching exhibition program of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland, which historically emerged in the 1920s from the international modern art collection of the Polish avant-garde “a.r.” group and its members, such as artists Władysław Strzemiński and Katarzyna Kobro. The ideas of the “a.r.” group as well as other radical proposals from the beginning of the 20th century to redefine the concept of the museum are currently … Read more

A black and white photo showing the curators and artist of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennial

The Story of the Ukrainian Pavilion in Venice and Exhibition-Making as a Matter of Cultural Survival: An Interview with Maria Lanko

With the upcoming 59th International Art Exhibition in Venice on April 23, Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German, and Borys Filonenko—the curators of artist Pavlo Makov’s project Fountain of Exhaustion. Acqua Alta for the Ukrainian Pavilion—have found themselves in a difficult situation that has made it impossible for them to continue working on the exhibition. On March 8, 2022, the organizers of the pavilion announced that “despite the ongoing war, the team managed to evacuate the fragments of [Makov’s] artwork from Kyiv” and will be able to present it at the upcoming Venice Biennale.(“Ukrainian pavilion will make it to La Biennale Read more

Flag of Ukraine

Resources for Artists and Scholars Forced to Flee Ukraine

In support of artists, scholars, and all people forced to flee Ukraine because of the Russian invasion of the country, the editorial collective of ARTMargins Online is compiling a growing list of resources (primarily art- and research-related), including residencies, fellowships,  internships, and emergency funds. We will continue to update this list as we become aware of new opportunities and resources. Please let us know of additional resources by contacting us through this online form.

For Scholars

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Dark blue book cover with a black and white photograph of artist duo KwieKulik, a standing woman holding papers over the head of a seated man

Monitored Activities: Eastern European Performance Art through the Prisms of Photography, Film, and Politics

Corinna Kühn, Medialisierte Körper: Performances und Aktionen der Neoavantgarden Ostmitteleuropas in den 1970er Jahren (Vienna: Böhlau, 2020), 324 pp.

Corinna Kühn’s Medialisierte Körper: Performances und Aktionen der Neoavantgarden Ostmitteleuropas in den 1970er Jahren deals with selected performances and actions from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland during the 1970s. Her focus lies on the dimension of documentation through photography and video. She is interested in how artists communicated with imaginary or future spectators through the deliberate use of images or even the manipulation of techniques of filming or photographing. The book approaches the topic through detailed analyses of works by Endre

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Realtime Monument: Interview with Mladen Miljanović

Banja Luka-based artist Mladen Miljanović has had a long-standing interest in monuments and practices of remembering, from his The Garden of Delights (2013), an installation that emulates tombstone engravings created for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, to his Draft for a 20 Minute Monument (2019), in which nine disabled men and war veterans sit for 20 minutes on a discarded pile of stones. This conversation, part of our Special Issue on Contemporary Approaches to Monuments in Central and Eastern Europe, was occasioned by his upcoming exhibition Realtime Monument at Budapest acb Gallery (March … Read more

Call for Papers: ESPRit Conference, Budapest

Periodicals Beyond Hierarchies: Challenging Geopolitical and Social “Centers” and “Peripheries” Through the Press

The European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit) convenes its 2022 (10th) international conference for the first time in East-Central Europe, in Budapest, Hungary, to focus on the following theme: Periodicals Beyond Hierarchies: Challenging Geopolitical and Social “Centers” and “Peripheries” Through the Press.

The conference will reflect on the way in which periodicals as essential forums of the public sphere challenge, transform, or interpret the notion of “centers” and “peripheries” in a context of permanently shifting and historically unstable situations. Papers may investigate these questions, in … Read more

A view of a Lenin monument against a bleak field with bare trees to either side. The statue shows Lenin walking forward, his coat blown open by the wind.

Invocation Trilogy – A Conversation on Monumentality, Language, and the Past with Miška Mandić and Kuba Dorabialski

Kuba Dorabialski’s film series Invocation Trilogy stitches together an unlikely constellation of encounters and mythologies centered around the Eastern European Socialist project. Narrated in a fictional Slavic language invented by Dorabialski, the trilogy plays with truth, fabrication, and legibility as it unpacks histories and memories of Eastern Europe from the insider/outsider migrant perspective. In this interview, artist and filmmaker Miška Mandić speaks with Dorabialski about this work and his practice.

Miška Mandić: The Invocation Trilogy is a series of three video works made between 2017 and 2021, each with a bigger scope than the last. Rather than a sense … Read more

A Slow Burning Fire: The Rise of the New Art Practice in Yugoslavia

Marko Ilić, A Slow Burning Fire: The Rise of the New Art Practice in Yugoslavia (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021), 384 PP.

To what extent does the term “institutional critique” adequately describe the work of the New Art Practice, Yugoslavia’s famous generation of conceptual artists? Scholars have taken a range of approaches to this question, from those who reject the term as associated with Western art histories, to those who see the New Art Practice’s dematerialized, socially critical artworks as a form of institutional critique responsive to local conditions. (For example, in her 2007 contribution to the journal Transversal on Read more

From Rags to Monuments: Ana Lupaş’s Humid Installation

How can we, in the middle of a heated debate around public monuments as highly visible and dominant bearers of history around the world, perceive the more layered and subtle aspects of commemorative practice? Reflection on anti-, counter- and performative monuments has not abated, but been absorbed in the current worldwide struggle to remove, replace, and otherwise neutralize monuments spatializing unjust power. That is all to the good, as long as we don’t forget that monuments, and artists, can do things that bear witness against impossible odds—and without erecting anything permanent. In this essay I look at several iterations of … Read more

Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe

Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe (New York and Oxford: Routledge, 2021), 252 PP.

Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe is a broad survey of images, created mainly in Britain, showing maps, people, landscapes, and cartoons of Eastern Europe. The author presents a long-durée analysis that extends from the Renaissance to present times and goes through diverse mediums of representation that have rarely been analyzed together: maps, engravings, photographs, cartoons, and book covers. Murawska-Muthesius makes a convincing statement for the significance of visual culture and specifically for the power of images not only to represent, but also to actively create … Read more

A Counter-Monument to Female Victims of Wartime Rape: An Interview with Edit András

A new memorial project in Budapest, Memory of Rape in Wartimes: Women as Victims of Sexual Violence, will commemorate female victims of wartime rape, while establishing a culture of dialogue around rape and violence in Hungarian society and the region. Initiated by the General Assembly of Budapest in January 2020 and to be completed in 2023, the project goes against the grain of the practices of the current Hungarian government’s illiberal system of erecting nationalist monuments and statues without public input, through an open, democratic process that includes artists, historians, scholars, an international jury, and representatives from public institutions. … Read more

Call for Papers: Beyond Friendships. Regional Cultural Transfer in the Art of the ‘70s

In May 2022, Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, and the Central European Research Institute for Art History (KEMKI) is organizing a conference designed to investigate the concept of cultural transfer and its relevance for the transnational art histories of Central-East Europe.

Following the pathway of horizontal art history set by Piotr Piotrowski, our conference will suggest a definition of Central-East European art based on actual contacts, dialogues, and reciprocal affects between the art practitioners of the region. In 20th-century Eastern Europe, cultural relationships were the result of historical events, waves of emigration, and the migration or relocation of minority communities, … Read more