S. S.: In your reviews and critical essays, the mechanisms of art collection and their respective institutions, such as the museum and the archive, play a central role. In this conversation, I would like to focus on these concepts, but also on the related issues of memory and forgetting. I want to begin with the activity of collecting and its relationship with the museum. How do you see this relationship? Does the collection shape the museum, or is it on the contrary the museum that determines the collection?

Valery and Natasha Cherkashin have been working with the imperial cultures of the USSR, Germany, the United States and Great Britain for more than 15 years. In 1992, the Cherkashins developed a conceptual art museum, the "Metropolitan Museum of Cherkashin."

Tamás Waliczky is among the few artists who have been working with and thinking about the computer for many years, long before it became fashionable, and this depth of involvement can be clearly seen in his works.

Tükrözõdések is an ambitious and complex experimental film by Istvan Darday and Gyorgyi Szalai. A dense pictorial compilation of the oblique memories and imageries from a dying scientist's (Teo Fabricius) life.

Should we be surprised that as the new computer-based media expand throughout the world, intellectual horizons and aesthetic possibilities seem to be narrowing? If one scans Internet-based discussion groups and journals from London to Budapest, New York to Berlin, and Los Angeles to Tokyo, certain themes are obsessively intoned, like mantras: copyright; on-line identity; cyborgs; interactivity; the future of the Internet.

No matter how much it wanted to escape into the sanctuary of beauty, art had to serve in the war between communism and capitalism. Both in the former Soviet Union and in the West, the rhetoric of art criticism was laced with ideological animosity.

During the years following Stalin's death, freedom in the Soviet Union first of all meant personal and political freedom. Artistic freedom from the norms of Socialist Realism, however, was more than a side issue, as many artists were to find out in 1974, when during the notorious "Bulldozer exhibition" a work crew demolished the pictures displayed outside a Moscow subway station.

Dmitry Prigov is one Moscow Conceptualist artist who has succeeded in creating an artistic universe of his own, or rather, an artistic all-encompassing mythology. His output alone is monstrous: He has already completed 20,000 poems and is planning to reach 24,000 by the end of the year.

The paintings shown in this issue of ARTISTVIEW were to be seen in the solo exhibition "Etre la au bord du Monde: Voyageurs et Orientalistes, 1988 -1999" at the Musee d'Art moderne et contemporain in Geneva/Switzerland in 1999. The were subsequently shown in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

This open-air gallery at the site of the former home of German artist Kaethe Kollwitz regularly shows new works by various artists. It is a dynamic medium commemorating Kaethe Kollwitz's deep social and human concern that made her one of Germany's foremost expressionist artists.
Ilya Kabakov: Concerning the residents of communal apartments, the personages and documents in the installation "The Corridor of Two Banalities"... The documents in the installation are absolutely authentic.
The first International "Festival of Naked Poetry" took place in August last year at the London Institute of Contemporary Art. What is behind this project with its (seemingly) metaphorical title? Is poetry nakedness? Or, can nakedness be poetical?

Jacques Lacan defines art itself with regard to the Thing: in his Seminar on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis, he claims that art as such is always organized around the central Void of the impossible-real Thing - a statement which, perhaps, should be read as a variation on Rilke's old thesis that "Beauty is the last veil that covers the Horrible".

There should be a warning on the cover of Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid's Painting by Numbers: The Scientific Guide to Art: "This is not a book." From the opening page, offering "America's Most Wanted" painting ("dishwasher-size," as preferred by 67% of the representative sample), the reader becomes a participant in a radical happening, 1990s-style, with polls, endowments, global travel, and practical jokes.

In my mixed media books I focus on issues related to my experience as a Pole living in the U.S. I came here 13 years ago with no intention to stay, but I am still here. Since my connection with Poland is very strong, I feel I am in between the two cultures.

This is not an ordinary Kabakov exhibition. Since his emigration from Russia in 1988, Ilya Kabakov has been known mainly for his "total" installations, in which he creates little parallel universes that possess their own artistic logic, or rather, stage the context in which the objects on display make sense.
In Hungary, there are more and more visual artists dealing with the new media, even though there are not many institutions where they could either educate themselves or present their media art work.
Róza El-Hassan is one of the great hopes among the younger generation of Hungarian artists. Since 1990 she has continuously participated in international exhibitions.

The Russian visual sensibilities (if there is such a thing) are formed by two contrasting influences. On the one hand, there is a natural attraction to decorative surfaces, to richness of colors and shapes.

The title of this extensive documentation of 45 years of GDR-photography by Karl Gernot Kuehn (Caught) already refers to the two principal intentions of this book: to present a detailed analysis of how political pressure and constraint shaped photography (and photographers) in the former GDR, how they "caught" the artists in the act, but also to document what it was that these artists themselves "caught" with their camera, once again with special emphasis on the relationship between photography and its ideological context.
The art of soviet socialist realism like that of Fascist Germany, has been inextricably linked to to ideological (totalitarian), rather than aesthetic, considerations by scholars and critics.
It is possible to consider technology as a complex combination of technical means and logical representations. When it forms part of technology (in the broad sense of that word, encompassing mnemotechnics as well as space ships), logic (or rather ideo-logy) remains unconscious, even though generally speaking it is, of course, part of consciousness.
Heike Wegner: Missing an adequate language of my own, I started to collect statements by others about Afrika, so that I might be able to write about him. If you were asked what is important to you about Afrika, what would you say?
In the early eighties, with the endless period of stagnation under Brezhnev drawing to an end, conceptual artist Ilya Kabakov wants to come clean with his past.
Evgeny Shklovsky: How did you come to create "InteLnet" and The Book of Books?

Mikhail Epshtein: The source of both ideas is the same, a feeling that the traditional consecutive, syntagmatic format no longer works for texts.

Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art - Experiences of Discourse: 1965-1975, Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw. May 31 - September 5, 1999


Conceptual Reflection in Polish Art. Experiences of Discourse, 1965-1975
, exhibiting at Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw from May 31 until 5 September, 1999, is the most comprehensive review of the achievements of Polish conceptual art until now.

Laibach is a musical group that first began performing in the mining town of Trbovlje in central Slovenia in 1980. With Tito's death that year, the future of Yugoslavia became uncertain, and throughout the 1980s youth subcultures engaged in agitation in the sphere of civil society producing challenges to the existing Socialist government.
The goal of the Freud-Lissitzky Project is to reconstruct the mythical computer game whose history spans the 20th century. As we uncover more elements of the game, they will be added to the site.
Despite the growing literature on early Soviet photography, most studies remain limited to the photographic activity of a few avant-garde artists. This exclusive focus is problematic, as much of the history of Soviet photograph has been treated in terms of conflict between avant-gardists and other practitioners, about whom very little is known.
Cinema is indubitably one of the indices by which modernity has come to be measured Apart from being a technical marvel whose very existence is intrinsically associated with the twentieth century, the act of making and watching movies paved the way for a further phenomenon of the modern age: leveling social and cultural boundaries between the "high" and the "low."
On December 4, 1998 Avdei Ter-Oganian performed in Moscow's Manezh exhibition hall an action he called the "Desecration of Holy Objects". Simply speaking, he took an axe and proceeded to chop up photographs of several Russian orthodox icons.

As has been convincingly shown by the exhibition "Body and the East," since the 1960s, in East Central Europe the art of the male body has had quite a number of adherents. There are many relevant examples: Tibor Hajas, Via Lewandovsky, Petr Tembera, and others.

In order to arrive at the present moment, to bring you "live from Russia," which I intend to do in the second part of my essay, I will introduce the archeology of Russian historical and geopolitical "identity."
Quite a few people were astonished when a few months ago the portrait of the young "revolutionary" poet Dmitrii Pimenov appeared on Russian televsion.
"Perspective is old evidence that we use fragmentally. By rethinking its structure, we can reach a dialogue covering everything that is essential to contemporary art. Questions arise, such as: what is the picture? What are the systems in space and their anti-systems like, where are the limits of artistic discourse?"

At the end of the millennium, it has become fashionable to speak about the "end of history" and the "end of art," to say nothing about the end of the world.

In 1993, a Danish critic reviewing Dubravka Ugresic's novel Fording the Stream of Consciousness, a clever satire of a literary conference, accused her of engaging in a crass form of literary escapism when she should have been writing about the"bloody war" raging at home in her native Yugoslavia. Since the novel was first published in 1988, this criticism was entirely misplaced.

Die Sanft-Mutigen. Moscow metaphysical painters of the 60's - 90's: Mikhail Shvartsman, Vladimir Vaisberg, Eduard Steinberg, Ilya Tabenkin, Dmitry Krasnopevcev. 11/17/99 - 12/16/99, Russisches Haus der Wisenschaft und Kultur, Friedrichstrasse 176, 10117 Berlin.

Neues Moskau (New Moscow). Art from Moscow and St. Petersburg: Andrei Chlobystin, Vladislav Mamyshev, Timur Novikov, Inspection "Medical Hermeneutics"/Pavel Pepperstein, Yevgeniy Yufit. 11/12/99-1/9/00, ifa gallery, NeustŠdtische Kirchstrasse 15, 10117 Berlin. Open daily (except mondays, 12/23-12/27 and 12/31-1/1) 2-7pm. 4/7/00-5/27/00 ifa gallery Stuttgart, Charlottenplatz 17, 70137 Stuttgart 6/20/00-8/5/00 ifa gallery Bonn, Welckerstrasse 11, 53113 Bonn http://www.ifa.de

For Russian 20th Century Art, Berlin has proven to be quite a good environment. Recently, several exhibitions have been shown of work that, for the most part, lacks the funding or exhibition space - or the goodwill - to be shown in its homeland.

If asked to name one Czech film, an American film buff will mostly likely mention Jiri Menzel's Oscar winning "Closely Watched Trains" (1966). But Menzel has directed 15 feature films, several of which are just as wonderful, if not better.

As is the case anywhere in the world, in Hungary, the institutions of art are based on three foundations: the artist, the work of art, and the audience. The relations that operate between these three imply different types of institutions. In order to document the situation of contemporary art in Hungary properly, a few words have to be said about the 1980s.

Focusing on Czech women artists working in installation, photography, performance, and sculpture, I want to explore the subversion of phallocentric paradigms in East-Central European culture and society from a feminist perspective.

Katarína Rusnáková was appointed Director of Collections at the Prague National Gallery at Veletržní Palác on August 1, 1999. She previously worked at the Povážská galéria in Žilina, Slovakia.

Trabant-icon of Hungarian underground rock
Jeno Menyhart, one of the most articulate personalities of the Hungarian underground rock scene, once remarked somewhat cryptically that "it is yesterday's train that's late". He said it in a resigned voice, shortly before his emigration to the United States in 1994, as we were sitting in the new, American-style "Chicago" café, located on the largest boulevard in central Budapest, right across from the New York coffee house.

 

 

Monika Duda. Unmade. Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland. 10 March-30 April 2000.
   
Monika Duda's Unmade, a series of several dozen photographic self-portraits made over a period of six months (from January 1999 until June 1999) perform a thorough inspection of the surface of the artist’s own face.

Politically, socially, and economically speaking, the collapse of communism has brought about a lot of changes to the countries of East-Central Europe.

In the Russian Art scene, the 1990s seemed like a never-ending decline where no activity lasted longer than two seasons, either because of a lack of money or simply due to overwhelming incompetence. Whatever did survive, usually funded by the state or by Western sponsors, soon unraveled intellectually. Being more concerned with sheer survival, the country at large did not show any interest in modernist values.

Javor Gardev, one of Bulgaria’s most innovative directors, lives and works in Sofia. He is a member and co-founder of the Triumviratus Art Group, a collective whose activities focus on the theater, performance, literature, video art, and the radio. Now that theater in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc has the freedom to speak its mind, it seems to have lost all interest in doing so. Born in the 1970s, the youngest generation of theater directors, with Gardev among them, does not seem interested in social concerns, preferring more existential dilemmas and the art/life divide instead. from its current state of stagnation.

DOCUMENTARY. DOCUMENT. EVIDENCE, EXAMPLE, PROOF, LESSON, FROM DOCERE, TO TEACH. Documentary film production has wavered between the contradictory illuminations of its etymological shadow.

Joanne Richardson:Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) was formed in the early 1980s in Slovenia from the discrete groups Laibach, whose musical performances exhibited a fanatical overidentification with totalitarian rituals, the visual arts group Irwin, whose montage paintings juxtaposed fascist and communist symbols with avant-garde iconography, the theater group, Scipion Nasice Sisters, which proclaimed an exorcism of religion and ideology into the mirror image of art, and the design group, New Collectivism, best known for a scandal that ensued in 1987 when their remake of a Nazi poster was awarded a prize in a national competition–thereby showing the proximity between socialist realism and Nazi Kunst that was indistinguishable to the jury. Following the scandal, the yearly ritual of celebrating Tito’s birthday was abolished. After the collapse of socialism, the group’s most popularized projects of the 1990s have been the NSK "State in Time," the creation of various embassies, and the

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Jo Anna Isaak is a writer and curator living in New York City. Her recent exhibitions include: Laughter Ten Years After (1996-98) and Looking Forward Looking Black now touring in the U. S. Currently she is working on Aquaria, an exhibition about water, scheduled to open in Linz, Austria in January 2002. Her publications include: Feminism and Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Laughter (Routledge, 1996) and Nancy Spero (Phaidon, 1996). She teaches Art History at Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva, New York.