Monthly Archive: December 2009

Radúz Činčera, Ján Roháč, Vladimír Svitáček (Dir.), “Kinoautomat – Človek a jeho dům / One Man and his House” (DVD Review)

Kinoautomat – One Man and His House, directed by Radúz ?in?era, Ján Rohá?, Vladimír Svitá?ek, 2008, written by Pavel Jurá?ek, 63 minutes, 1.80:1 aspect ratio, Bontonfilm

First things first: a kinoautomat is something like a movie vending-machine—you drop in your coins and out comes the movie you’ve selected. Accordingly, the Czechoslovakian film Kinoautomat: One Man and His House was one of the first interactive movies, one that allows the audience to decide for itself how the plot will evolve, to quite literally choose what movie they will watch. The film, together with its experimental exhibition technology, was presented in … Read more

Wolfgang Beilenhoff and Sabine Hänsgen (eds.), “Der Gewöhnliche Faschismus” (Film Book Review)

Der Gewöhnliche Faschismus. Ein Werkbuch zum Film von Michail Romm. Wolfgang Beilenhoff and Sabine Hänsgen (eds.), in collaboration with Maya Turovskaya. Berlin: Vorwerk 8, 2009. 335 pp.

Ironically, last year’s celebrations and world-wide media attention surrounding the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall coincided with the publication of a book which quite unexpectedly throws light on an aspect of the history of the two German states that remains unresolved to this day: the heritage of National Socialism on both sides of the Wall, and in reunited Germany. The publication is on Mikhail Romm’s film Ordinary FascismRead more

Juraj Bartoš at the Slovak National Gallery (Review)

Juraj Bartoš. Slovak National Gallery at Esterházy Palace, Bratislava. October 1-November 22, 2009

An exhibit of photographs from artist Juraj Bartoš ran at the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava through past Fall. The 66 year old Slovak artist’s work is centered around Bratislava and is of particular interest to those familiar with that city. A mere moment at Bratislava’s Poštová tram stop is enough to recognize the origins of his pictures of Obchodná in the 1980’s. If you’ve attended a wine harvest festival (vinobranie), that experience alone will give you enough of a cultural feeling to place yourself … Read more

Andrey Kuzkin, Conceptualist Son (Series “New Critical Approaches”) (Article)

It does not take more than a fleeting glance at much of contemporary art practice to realize that Conceptual art is still with us. The similarities go beyond stylistic continuity. Conceptual art’s concern with fundamental questions of artistic meaning and interpretation has endowed art with an awareness of its own conditions and its relationship with a wide range of social life. Indeed, most art today is indebted to the efforts of Conceptual artists in the 1960s for breaking the spell of Greenbergian modernism and opening up a wider range of issues than had previously been accepted.

Russia experienced its own … Read more

Transitland: Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2009 (Interview)

Transitland EUROPA is a collaborative archive of 100 videos that reflect on the transitions and transformations in the post-Socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The videos include works from the past twenty years, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present. As part of the project, a reader of more than 300 pages was published, containing essays by several experts from the region, as well as short descriptions of all the video works included in the archive. In addition, several video jukeboxes, a website, and several discursive events will allow viewers to enter the Transitland Archive.

The … Read more

Bogoslav Kalaš: the Ghost in the (Painting-) Machine (Article)

My reaction to the work of Bogoslav Kalaš when I first encountered it in the summer of 2009 at Ljubljana’s Galerija Gregor Podnar was mixed and unusual; I wanted to dislike it, but could not. The show focused on Kalaš’s nudes, dating from 1971 to the present, and, being a skeptic, I had to wonder whether the world really needed–then or now–more paintings of naked women draped over furniture. Yet the sheer strangeness of the artist’s practice was too strong a draw. The orchestrated dissonance of the images, which are as layered conceptually as they are physically, was a treat … Read more

The Reopened National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (Article)

My studies of the history of 20th century Lithuanian art were based on reproductions. The rest of my generation and some of the preceding ones had no choice in the matter either; for almost 20 years, the closure of the permanent exposition of 20th century works in Vilnius’ Town Hall made it impossible for younger generations to get acquainted with the country’s art classics directly. It was only on June 20, 2009 that the National Gallery of Art (NGA) reopened, in the building of the former Museum of Revolution in Vilnius, finally providing an opportunity to see the works that … Read more

Contemporary Histories: The 2009 International Competition for Curatorship in Ukraine (Article)

What is the creative potential of a situation where old conservative institutional practice meets new energy and ideas? Can we begin to value the living qualities of art stored in traditional museums by animating it with new points of view?

2009 saw the realization of eight curatorial projects that position contemporary art in the context of traditional Ukrainian museums. These projects were among the finalists selected by international jury in the competition “Art a priori: Contemporary Histories” sponsored by the EIDOS Arts Development Foundation. The competition was initiated in response to a visible need for Ukrainian contemporary art to address … Read more

“Women’s House”: Sanja Iveković Discusses Recent Projects (Interview)

Sanja Ivekovi? was born in Zagreb where she continues to live and work. Since the 1970s Ivekovi? has worked with performance, video, installation, and public action. Her work has been shown at many international exhibitions. The following interview was produced when the artist opened her first solo show in ?ód? (“Practice Makes the Master”: 10/17/2009–12/13/2009). The show was curated by Magdalena Zió?kowska and was accompanied by a public project.  The project was a Polish version of Ivekovi?’s ongoing project Women’s House (Sunglasses) in which she appropriates advertising for sunglasses in an effort to tackle the issue of violence against women.… Read more

Bojana Pejić on Gender and Feminism in Eastern European Art (Interview)

Bojana Peji? has organized many exhibitions of Yugoslav and international art. In 1995 she organized an international symposium, The Body in Communism, at the Literaturhaus in Berlin. She was chief curator of the exhibition After the Wall–Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe, organized by the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1999), which was also shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art ­Foundation Ludwig in Budapest(2000) and at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2000-2001). Peji? recently curated Gender Check–Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe at MUMOK (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna). Peji? lives and works in Berlin.

“There is not Read more

Hard to Pin Down: Ion Grigorescu (Interview)

Ion Grigorescu is a painter and media artist. Ever since his debut, Grigorescu has been active in the public space. He has taken part in many group exhibitions. Grigorescu has worked extensively with performance, which he documented through photos and S 8 mm films (most of them in black and white). In these documents Grigorescu deformed the film image with the help of superimposed circular lenses (Body Art with Three Mirrors, photo, 1974, Mimicry, photo and film, 1975). During Ceaucescu’s regime, Grigorescu performed a number of secret political happenings. Among these were Election Meeting (1975) and the … Read more

Barbara Kukovec (Online Gallery)

ARTMargins is pleased to present new work by Barbara Kukovec (London/Ljubljana), from her exhibit The Pungk’tum Project (Exhibition Access Space, Sheffield, December, 2009). All images in the series were taken with self-made cameras, using film or paper treated with a photographic emulsion and printed in the darkroom on different surfaces. Kukovec was born in Slovenia in 1980 and has worked as an actor, dancer, and performer in a diverse range of theater and dance productions.  She is currently still active in

Read more

Polonia and other Fables: Allan Sekula At the Renaissance Society (Exhib. Review)

Allan Sekula, Polonia and Other Fables, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, September 20–December 13, 2009

“Polonia is the imaginary Poland that exists wherever there is a Pole,” writes Allan Sekula. “[It] is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”(Allan Sekula, Polonia and Other Fables, bound text accompanying exhibition of same title, np.) The forty photographs (30 chromogenic prints and 10 archival inkjet prints) that comprised the exhibition Polonia and Other Fables explore aspects of Polish identity that lie somewhere between reality and myth, between Poland and the Polish diaspora.

Sekula photographed the Polish community in Chicago during … Read more

Les Femmes Parlent Poster. Image courtesy of Gandy Gallery (Bratislava).

Forum: Feminism and Contemporary Art in Eastern Europe (Roza El-Hassan, Orshi Drozdik, Adele Eisenstein, Jana Cvikova)

The discussion featured in this podcast took place on November 9, 2009. It was held in conjunction with the exhibition Les Femmes Parlent, organized by Gandy Gallery (Bratislava). The speakers are the Hungarian artists Roza El-Hassan, Orshi Drozdik, and the critic Adele Eisenstein. Also participating (in Slovak, but omitted because it was untranslated in the recording) was the Slovak artist Jana Cvikova. The exhibition featured the work of twelve women artists from nine countries. The exhibition was supported by the Goethe Institute/Bratislava and the Hungarian Cultural Institute (Bratislava).

Moscow Diary: What to Make of this Year’s Biennale (Article)

Three things are clear from the 3rd Moscow Biennale. Firstly, different countries have different standards. The international art community, on the one hand, content with the sense that Martin has little left to add to his place in the history books – and, indeed, that the biennial format per se may already have exhausted itself – met it with almost complete indifference.

Foreign guests were in the low dozens. Coming straight after the Istanbul and Lyon biennials, Moscow passed through the press almost without mention. But in Russia, Jean-Hubert Martin’s “Against Exclusion” met with almost universal rapture. Never before had … Read more

The 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (Exhib. Review)

The 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Garage, Center for Contemporary Culture, September 24, 2009 – October 23, 2009

Over the last four years, Moscow’s audience has become accustomed to an extended range of international art exhibitions. These shows generally present a rather disorganized – often even misleading – view of current art production outside of Russia.  The 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, with its mixed bag of works drawn from other international exhibitions, was no exception. With some 80 artists represented – among them Anish Kapoor, El Anatsui, Wim Delvoye, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu – , visitors … Read more