Monthly Archive: May 2006

The Artist Does Not Own His Interpretations: Hedvig Turai in Conversation with Zbigniew Libera


Hedvig Turai: Your best-known work is the Lego concentration camp set, but of course you did not start your artistic career with it, nor did you end it with that piece. Do you draw a distinction in your career “before” and “after” Lego?

Zbigniew Libera:
Naturally, Lego was such an important piece that it divides my career into two parts. Lego brought me international recognition, and in this sense it really changed something. It is also very hard for an artist to have one of his works raise expectations very high. It becomes very hard to do any work after … Read more

Towards a New Archaeology of Russian Cinema

Nikolai Izvolov, Fenomen kino: istoriia i teoriia 320 pp. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo EGSI, 2001. Second edition: 164 pp. Moscow: Materik, 2005.

Since its initial publication in 2001, Nikolai Izvolov’s The Phenomenon of Cinema: History and TheoryNikolai Izvolov, Fenomen kino: istoriia i teoriia. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo EGSI, 2001. 320. has remained a rarity among contemporary Russian publications in the field of cinema studies. While these publications range from well-researched, often revelatory collections of documents to exercises in political revisionism or metaphysical essayism, they tend to disregard the possibility of a more balanced approach to the problems of cinema. In this idiosyncratic … Read more

“The Theater of Broken Language” An Interview with Vildana and Dimitrije Stanisic-Keller

Ljiljana Coklin: How was the idea of an immigrant theater in Ottawa, Canada, born?

Vildana and Dimitrije Stanisic-Keller: Eleven years have passed since 1995, the turning point in our “Canadian life,” when we began to hope we could do theater again. The dramatic changes of 1992 affected not only the history and political life of former Yugoslavia but also the lives of ordinary people like us. The two years that we lived in a war-torn Sarajevo were the time of emotional exhaustion, hopelessness, and withdrawal from the public life. Leaving Bosnia for Canada at the end of 1994, we never … Read more

Modernism and Destruction in Architecture

My point of departure is three pairs of photographs. The first pair juxtaposes the unfinished frame of Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall in Los Angeles (photo 1) and the destroyed carcass of Minoru Yamasaki’s Twin Towers in New York (photo 2). We are conditioned to expect a building frame to consist of (or at least contain some) rectangular elements. Gehry’s frame has none. We might see it as a “normal” rectangular frame twisted and distorted by the creative will of a modernist. The modernist vocabulary, as Anthony Vidler observed, has always included “displacement and fracture, torquing and twisting, pressure and release.”(… Read more

Modernist Architecture in Serbia

Ljiljana Blagojevic, Modernism in Serbia: The Elusive Margins of Belgrade Architecture, 1919-1941. MIT Press in association with Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2003.

When young Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, who under the name of Le Corbusier became the most influential architect of the twentieth century, arrived in Belgrade in 1911 during his travels across Europe, he did not hide his disappointment with “ridiculous capital, worse even: a dishonest city, dirty, and disorganized .” On a map of his travels he was marking places he visited with an I (industry), a C (culture), or an F (folklore). And while all the … Read more

“Sweet Crude Eternity”: Andrei Molodkin at Kashya Hildebrand

Andrei Molodkin, December 8-January 21 2006, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, New York

Andrei Molodkin’s most recent exhibition reveals some highly charged works which poignantly unmask the political intrigue that is often not far from the surface of the global oil business. By throwing together so directly the forces of culture and politics, Molodkin’s sculptures draw the viewer to reflect not only on their effect upon humanity and the environment in which we live, but also on their potential for the diminution of culture as a whole.

At the heart of this exhibition is Molodkin’s exploration of the concepts of consumption and … Read more

Memoirs of a Video Activist

I left Bucharest when I was 9. My parents were political refugees. They spoke out against the Ceausescu regime on Radio Free Europe, and three years later, after many protests and hunger strikes, they were permitted to leave Romania. We received political asylum in Austria and later moved to New York. We were stateless for 6 years before becoming US citizens. I grew up poor but privileged, in the sense that I had an education at some of the best schools in America, social factories for the production of Marxist intellectuals. And then I dropped out of my PhD, left … Read more

Olga Chernysheva and the Politics of the Panorama

Olga Chernysheva often says that she is interested in the motif of the “round” and the “spherical,” but she also talks about her interest in the “shapeless.” How can one reconcile these two? Isn’t the sphere the most perfect and self-contained of forms? In fact, this is exactly how one wants to describe the huge, planet-like cookies on one of her early paintings, or the self-sufficient spheres of anonymous knit hats on her later photographs. But no. In fact, the sphere is formless. Or, to be more precise, it is beyond the problematic of form if one looks at it … Read more