Monthly Archive: September 2009

Tanja Ostojić’s Aesthetics of Affect and PostIdentity (Series “New Critical Approaches”) (Article)

The following is the first in a series of essays that explore new critical approaches to art from East-Central Europe.

Tanja Ostoji? is a contemporary Serbian artist who is no stranger to problems of identity. In her work she questions and challenges power relations and their permutations within the realms of politics, culture, and art. Ostoji?’s work spans more than ten years and encompasses a variety of artistic engagements, from performance works in which she covered her naked body with marble dust and stood in the middle of an art gallery, to works such as I’ll Be Your Angel in … Read more

David Ter-Oganyan at Marat Guelman (Exhib. Review)

David Ter-Oganyan, Black Geometry, Marat GUELMAN GALLERY, MOSCOW, JULY 8, 2009 – July 20, 2009

Over the last fifteen years, Moscow-based conceptual artist David Ter–Oganyan has developed a unique body of work including semi-abstract, formal paintings, drawings and objects that discretely comment on political issues. Ter-Oganyan’s concern with political engagement follows the practices of his father – the artist provocateur Avdey Ter-Oganyan who was banished from the former Soviet Union in 1998 for his notorious performance of chopping up Orthodox icons.

The Moscow show was organized around a core of nine untitled white rectangular canvases (each about three feet … Read more

Jean-Hubert Martin on His Upcoming Moscow Biennale (Interview)

Formerly director of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Kunsthalle Bern, and the Paris Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Jean-Hubert Martin is perhaps still best known for his 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la terre, which featured fifty artists from the art world’s “center” and fifty from its “margins”, including many far removed from what is commonly thought of as “contemporary art”. A member of the Kandinsky Prize jury, Martin has been deeply involved in Russian art for over thirty years. He curated a major Kazimir Malevich exhibition at the Pompidou in 1978, the groundbreaking Paris-Moscou exhibition in … Read more

Jiri Menzel (Dir.), “I Served the King of England” (DVD Review)


This past February marked the U.S release of Czech director Jiri Menzel’s latest film, I Served the King of England. Although released in the Czech Republic two years ago, 2009 is the perfect year for an American release, as it marks both the anniversary of the Czech liberation from communist rule and the 70th anniversary of the Nazi occupation. The film itself is played in true Czech style, looking back on the interwar period with a mixture of irony, nostalgia, … Read more

Piotr Piotrowski, “In the Shadow of Yalta” (Book Review)


In the Shadow of Yalta. Art and Avant-Garde in Eastern Europe 1945-1989, the long-awaited English translation of Piotr Piotrowski’s 2004 book, boasts of a well-chosen title not only for its descriptive qualities, but also because it refers to the rather dark and indistinct history of a particular portion of Eastern Europe: the area falling under the Soviet regime following the Yalta Agreement in 1945. Piotrowski begins his story in 1948, the year that Stalin tightened … Read more

The Shifty Art of András Gálik and Bálint Havas (Interview)

Introduction, by Edit András
The Hungarian artist duo Little Warsaw, a collaboration between Bálint Havas and András Gálik, started locally in the late nineties. Both had been trained as painters by established conceptualist artists who had been newly appointed to the academy. However, to these young students, conceptualism was an exhausted, outdated movement that they considered esoteric, aesthetic, and dry. They understood that conceptualism was accessible only to a closed, trained circle that was isolated even within the art scene. Havas and Gálik were equally determined in their refusal to connect with the newly established art market by means … Read more

Jan Švankmajer: The Complete Short Films 1964-1992 (DVD Review)

Jan Švankmajer: The Complete Short Films 1964-1992, Released on DVD by the BFI DVD Publishing, 2007. 313 min, 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio.

At 74, Jan Švankmajer continues to stun and startle. Recently, he has been awarded the Crystal Globe at the 44th International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. He reacted to this prestigious Czech prize with a somewhat ironic attitude, explaining once more to the audience and the academy — after more than forty years of a career based on relentless anti-nationalism — that he does not consider his films as a property … Read more

Victor Tupitsyn, “The Museological Unconscious. Communal (Post)Modernism in Russia” (Book Review)

Victor Tupitsyn, The Museological Unconscious. Communal (Post)Modernism in Russia, Cambridge/Mass. (MIT Press, 2009), 339 pp.

Victor Tupitsyn’s new book, The Museological Unconscious. Communal (Post)Modernism in Russia, is a sweeping, expert treatment of Russian art from the late 1950s to the present day. Like Dr. Doolittle’s pushmi-pullyu, which Tupitsyn cites in one of his chapter headings, the author himself is a kind of hybrid being who is both inside and outside the Russian art scene he describes. Originally a critic closely involved in the unofficial Russian art scene, he left the Soviet Union shortly after the infamous Bulldozer Exhibition … Read more

“Subversive Practices: Art under Conditions of Political Repression. 1960s -1980s / South America / Europe” in Stuttgart (Exhib. Review)

Subversive Practices: Art under Conditions of Political Repression. 60s – 80s / South America / Europe, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. May 30 – August 2, 2009

This summer, the exhibition Subversive Practices: Art under Conditions of Political Repression 60s–80s / South America / Europe was presented at the Kunstverein in Stuttgart. As the organizers Iris Dressler and Hans D. Chris state, the exhibition describes “a multidimensional cartography” in which the many faceted contours of work spanning periods of time and geographical categories appear anew, often, from beyond the margins of skewed art discourses.

Subversive Practices assembled practices and theoretical positions … Read more

Krzysztof Wodiczko at the Polish Pavillion in Venice (Review Essay)

“At the sound of breaking glass, Madame Bovary turned her head and glimpsed outside, close to the panes, peasant faces gazing in.” (G. Flaubert, Madame Bovary)

Absorbed by the party at the Marquis d’Andervilliers’s, Emma Bovary views this invasion by a number of uninvited guests as a little more than a tactless intrusion. At some point in Krzysztof Wodiczko’s projection at this year’s Venice Biennale we have to deal with a similar disturbance of the narcissistic adventure of looking. This happens in a sequence of images depicting migrant workers who are washing windows, with one of them pressing his face … Read more