Monthly Archive: December 2003


Dust was supposed to be one of “the” films: the most expected one, disputed between the festivals, starting with huge difficulties and even more incredible events during the shoot, provoking controversy, on purpose perhaps, and with actual political background for the film story.

At the time of Milcho Manchevski’s debut feature film, Before the Rain, which won the Golden lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1994, the crisis in the Balkans had reached its culmination point when Sarajevo under siege: peace in these remote areas of Europe being more than uncertain.

Macedonia, homeland of Milcho Manchevski, was one … Read more

The “Last Resort” of an Eastern European “Refugee by Mistake”: On Diasporic Cinema

In dealing with the ever-escalating drama of migration and estrangement of ethnic minorities and refugees seeking asylum in the countries of the West, Jacques Derrida’s writings of the late 1990s have provided a forceful critical guidance into the ethics and politics of hospitality, constituting, as they do, both a philosophical response as well as a political intervention.(The article is an expanded version of a paper given at the CongressCATH 2002 (AHRB Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory, and History, University of Leeds) Translating Class, Altering Hospitality, 21-23 June, Leeds Town Hall. Addressing the dual structures of social estrangement in Read more

Art and Crime. Sorokin Behind Bars

Kunst & Verbrechen: Art without Crime. Hebbel Theater am Ufer, Berlin, 10.31-11.02.2003

The book “Blue Lard” by Vladimir Sorokin was taken to court in 2002 on the first of November by the Putin-linked youth movement “The United Ones” on pornography charges. The Propagate-man of pornographic literature was going to the detention cell of the police-department in Berlin.

On the weekend of October 31st a new theatre-project opened in Berlin. The Project, became an investigative zone in which the laws of art, the business side of the art world, and the law itself were all under examination.

Kunst Read more

Database on Russian Art, 1860-1940

The project “Russian Art 1860-1940 in Western Museums: Information Database on the Internet” is a new development of the major Cultural Heritage Database Project with the web address The entire project is implemented under the patronage and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

The Project is funded by a number of foundations operating globally, such as the Solomon R.Guggenheim Foundation, the Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York, and Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne & Zug; and by the Russian government, the Russian Cultural Initiative Foundation, and the Rosizo State Museum and Exhibition Center.

The Initiator … Read more

Roma Sculptors’ International Project

The first Roma art exhibition in Romania was opened during August 5th-19th 2003 at the Simeza Gallery in Bucharest (downtown, Magheru Boulevard, no 20). The featured artists were two professional sculptors: Marian Petre and Mircea Lacatus.

They were both born and educated in Romania. Petre is currently still living in Romania, but Lacatus left the country in 1990 after his graduation. Lacatus is currently living in Austria, the place where his artistic destiny has been fulfilled.

The exhibition, entitled Roma art, is the first stage of a larger project, initiated by Artisrroma Cultural Association, a Romanian non-governmental organization, founded by … Read more

Navigating History

Site Specific Art Projects in St. Petersburg, July 2003

2003 saw the Russian City of St Petersburg celebrating its 300th anniversary. The traditional Birthday mix of nostalgia and future plans and possibilities is manifest in the festivities with particular emphasis on cultural exchange.

This has brought with it increased international interest much focused on the city’s architectural heritage and future physical and cultural expansion.

A brief internet search brings up various conferences highlighting these themes: The International Architecture Forum’s “St. Petersburg: window on the future” and “Preserving the World’s Great Cities,” the Faberge workshop on architectural preservation, “New uses for … Read more

“Girl Getting Into a Hole”

Agata Bogacka, I’m bleeding!, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, June 2003

A Girl Getting Into a Hole is the title of one of the paintings by Agata Bogacka. During her first individual exhibition I’m bleeding! , organized this year in the Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, the painting was hanging on a side wall at the very back of the exhibition room.

Yet, this inconspicuous work can be seen as creating a kind of frame for the exposition and, more generally, Agata’s oeuvre.

This is so because her paintings seem to be statements made by a “naughty girl” who constantly slips away showing … Read more

BAL-KAN – The Irritation of Lingua: A Few Notes on the Exhibition “Blood and Honey – the Future’s in the Balkans”

“Blood and Honey – the Future’s in the Balkans” , Vienna, June 2003 

The conceptual focus of the exhibition from the well-known curator Harald Szeemann refers to the term Balkan. We can extend “Balkans” by looking at its etymology as well as morphology. Dividing the term itself, we see a discourse, a play of opposites. The Turkish syllables BAL (Honey) and KAN (Blood) open spaces of reflection. In the Golden Age honey was flowing like water out of oaks: the godfather Kronos drank this nectar and fell asleep when his son Zeus enchained him and banished him to the blessed … Read more




Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, National Gallery, Prague Veletržní Palác, Praha 7 – Holešovice, Dukelských hrdinu 47, 26 June – 24 August

It is always tempting, with such overblown events as international art biennials, (and the Prague event claims to be the biggest contemporary art event in Europe this year) to look for an image that somehow “sums things up.”

For the organisers of Prague’s “first” Biennale (iIn fact there have been other self-styled biennales in Prague. * In particular The Biennale of Young Artists “ZVON,” run by the Prague City Gallery.)* this emblematic figure is a … Read more

The Painter’s Eye and Brain

Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, The Painter’s Eye and Hand, 6 May – 18 June, 2003, Zderzak Gallery, Cracow.

For many years Grzegorz Sztwiertnia has been playing with various definitions of the artist’s persona and its relation to artistic production.

During the 1990s, the thirty-five year old artist was recognised, hiding himself behind a screen of his erudition and mockery, only by a limited number of viewers.

Such an attitude allows him to examine the sick body of culture and focus on the missing elements of our incomplete cultural mosaic.

Sztwiertnia has mastered both the brush and the pen; in addition to … Read more

ACBGallery, Budapest (“Series Young Galleries in Eastern Europe”)

This is the first in a series of essays in which we will introduce new gallery ventures in East-Central Europe. For the longest time the idea that the commercial success of art galleries in East-Central Europe is inversely proportional to the quality of the work they show seemed to be written in stone. In this series we want to give gallerists a chance to comment, introduce their spaces, and update us on the situation faced by anyone who wants to show and, horribile dictu, sell contemporary art in the former Eastern Bloc today.

The acb contemporary art gallery is the Read more

Art in Boxes

Ileana Pintilie, Actionism in Romania During the Communist Era. Bucharest, 2001 

At the beginning of the 1960’s Paul Neagu placed his art objects in black boxes, making them invisible for the spectator. With this allegory on the situation of Romanian art Neagu succeeded in expressing what could not be seen: art outside of censorship. Like everywhere ‘in the east’, Romanian art remained in the back rooms, where it either discreetly fit itself into its environment, so as to remain unnoticed, or secretly simulated actions of everyday life. The art of concealed action became a form of articulation in … Read more