The following exchange, over email, between Dutch media theorist and Internet critic Geert Lovink and Aaron Moulton occurred on the occasion of the exhibition The Influencing Machine at Galeria Nicodim in Bucharest, which closed on April 20, 2019. The show, curated by Aaron Moulton, was an anthropological investigation into the macroview of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA), an unprecedented network of art centers that existed across twenty Eastern European capitals throughout the 1990s. A survey of historical and contemporary artwork that explored ideas of influence, revolution, colonialism, and cultural exorcism, the Bucharest exhibition included a large archive covering … Read more
Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, curated by the late Okwui Enwezor alongside Katy Siegel and Ulrich Wilmes, was held at Haus der Kunst, Munich, only a little over two years ago (October 2016-March 2017). The exhibition and its accompanying catalog have already achieved canonical status among scholars interested in the increasingly interconnected networks of modern art internationally after World War II. Ambitious in scope, generous in outlook, and remarkable in its capacity for critical and self-reflexive dialog, Postwar exemplified many of the qualities that made Enwezor the most significant curatorial voice of the last quarter century.… Read more
When Letters Show Their Muscles: A Conversation with Sabine Hänsgen and Tomáš Glanc about the Traveling Exhibition Poetry & Performance, the Eastern European Perspective
Subversive humor often emerges from emergency situations. Those who cannot say what they are thinking invent secret languages, play with suggestion, parody what is permitted and mutilate it into mere sounds, or put up slogans in remote areas. In states where verbal expression is subject to strict control – i.e. censorship – poets and thinkers infiltrate the official discourse by imaginatively torpedoing it. In those countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain, poetry became an experimental field for criticism, as well as a retreat from ideology and language politics.
The traveling exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective presents a … Read more
The following conversation with Tanja Ostojić—a Berlin-based performance and interdisciplinary artist, researcher, educator, and cultural activist—is part of a series devoted to (women) artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in the city. For other installments and an introduction, follow the links at the end of this interview.
Sven Spieker: Under what circumstances did you come to Berlin?
Tanja Ostojić: I moved to Germany in Spring 2002 from Belgrade, somehow by chance. At the time I was pursuing my project Looking for a Husband with EU Passport. I had married someone in Düsseldorf in West Germany. … Read more
This conversation is part of a series of interviews with women artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in Berlin. The city has attracted artists from Russia and Eastern Europe for a long time: especially during the cold war and into the 1990s, its peculiar political and economic situation gave it a uniquely impermanent, transitory ambience that attracted migrating artists. Over the last two decades, neo-liberalism has more or less successfully transformed life here as elsewhere, aestheticizing and monetizing what was once a serious proposal for a different way to live and work. What is it like … Read more
Beral Madra is a Turkish art critic and curator. She was curator of the two first editions of the Istanbul Biennial (1987 and 1989), and has curated five of the Turkish pavilions at the Venice Biennale. Her curatorial career also includes several international group shows, among them: Orient Express (Berlin, 1994), Modernities and Memories: Recent Works from the Islamic World (Venice, 1998), Registering the Distance: Istanbul/Los Angeles (Santa Monica, 2003), Next Wave: Exhibition of 17 Women Artists from Turkey” (Berlin, 2009). Madra was co-curator, along with Răzvan Ion, of the 2018 edition of the Bucharest Biennale, titled Edit Your … Read more
Utopia in Ukraine? Members of Concrete Dates Collective Reflect on In Edenia, A City of the Future and the Role of Utopia in Artistic Work
The art exhibition In Edenia, a City of the Future (June 8–July 9, 2017), co-organized by artist Yevgeniy Fiks and curator Larissa Babij, was inspired by the novella of the same title by Yiddish author and publisher Kalman Zingman. The story, written in 1918, takes place in a utopian future version of the real eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is serviced by “aerotrains” and fountains that keep the temperature at a comfortable level year round. In Zingman’s world, ethnic communities, including Jews and Ukrainians, live side-by-side in peace and harmony, and residents consider war a thing of the past. … Read more
This interview was conducted as part of the author’s research for a doctoral dissertation entitled “Challenging the Legacies of the Olympics: Cultural Afterlives of Mexico 1968 and the USSR 1980.” One of its reference sources was the exhibition The Age of Discrepancies: Art and Visual Culture in Mexico 1968-1997, co-curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, Olivier Debroise, Pilar García de Germenos, and Álvaro Vázquez Mantecón, and presented at the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte (MUCA) in Mexico City in 2008. Age of Discrepancies was one of the first shows to present a panorama of all the art movements and tendencies that … Read more
The following conversation with Ewa Partum—one of the essential first-generation conceptual artists from Poland—is the first in a series devoted to artists from the former Eastern Europe who live and work in the city. For the last two decades, post-Wall Berlin has been touted as one of global art’s most celebrated–because least expensive–production centers. Yet the city’s history as a destination for artists from Russia and East-Central Europe goes back much longer: from the 1920s, when the number of Russian writers and artists who lived and worked here arguably exceeded the number of German ones; to the Cold War, when … Read more
Angelika Markul (b. 1977, Poland) lives and works between Malakoff and Warsaw. After graduating from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris in 2003, she has researched the natural world and the cycles of life, through her video installations and sculptures. The artist has stated that she is influenced by artists as diverse as Miros?aw Ba?ka, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Huyghe, Tadeusz Kantor, Jannis Kounellis, Alina Szapocznikow, and Tatiana Trouvé. Her 2016 solo exhibition What is Lost is at the Beginning at Zamek Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (Angelika Markul, What is Lost is at … Read more
The Slovenian sociologist and performing arts theorist Katja Praznik recently published the study The Paradox of Unpaid Artistic Labor: the Autonomy of Art, the Avant-Garde, and Cultural Policy in the Transition to Post-Socialism (Ljubljana: Založba Sophia, 2016). Before coming to the United States, she was long active in the independent Slovenian cultural scene. Today she teaches cultural policy and sociology of art at SUNY Buffalo, and deals with questions of the “autonomy” of arts and the social conditions of cultural production. The following interview was conducted on the occasion of Katja Praznik’s lecture at Zagreb’s Multimedia Institute.
Jasna Jasna … Read more
Mikhail Tolmachev was born in Moscow and lives in Leipzig. His work touches on questions of institutional memory and display, documentary history, and media archeology. Recent shows have included Sources Go Dark (Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Prague 2015); Beyond Visual Range (Armed Forces Museum, Moscow 2014); IK-00 The Spaces of Confinement, Casa dei Tre Oci, Venice, 2014; SLON (V-A-C Foundation, Palazzo Zattere, Venice, 2017).
Sven Spieker: In 2016 you presented an exhibition at the State Museum of Gulag History in Moscow that deals with materials from the museum’s archive, related to the Stalinist labor camp on the island of … Read more
This interview was conducted with Moscow-based artist Olga Chernysheva on the occasion of her solo exhibition Vague Accent at The Drawing Center in New York (October 7 – December 18, 2016). It featured a series of new drawings made after a month-long residency at the Drawing Center in 2015. Combining images and texts, her drawings “show things that are already visible… things not asking to be looked at,” gleaned from everyday life in the urban landscape of New York, a city Chernysheva lived in as a foreigner. This interview discusses the drawings in the exhibition as well as their connections … Read more
“What Matters is Revolution at the Historical Moment of Radical Contemporaneity”: Interview with Marina Gržinić
Since 1982, Marina Grzinic has collaborated with art historian Aina Šmid on over 40 video art projects, including independent video documentaries, television productions, and media installations. A new show of the duo’s work, Radical Contemporaneity (curated by Aneta Stojni?), surveys Grzinic and Šmid’s video collaborations between 1982 and 2017. The exhibition is on view at the Kunstraum Lakeside in Klagenfurt, Austria, May 11 through July 14, 2017. Marina Grzinic spoke with Raino Isto via email.
Raino Isto: First, let’s talk about the exhibition, Radical Contemporaneity. Could you say a little bit about its theme, and how the show came … Read more
Katalin Cseh-Varga and Kristóf Nagy started working on the interrelation of sport and neo-avant-garde in January 2016, based on an in-depth research of Hungarian painter László Lakner’s Foot Art project (1970), which was further developed into an exhibition-action draft by art organiser László Beke designed for documenta 5 (1972). During the intense research period in June 2016 the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies arranged two conference sessions on Avant-Garde and Sport in the framework of which Katalin got acquainted with the work of Przemysław Stro?ek who at that time talked about the world cup of 1934, politics, art … Read more
This conversation was conducted by email correspondence over the period between December 15, 2016 and January 8, 2017. In the past, it was Nelli Sargsyan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Marlboro College in Vermont, who initiated and conducted the interview-conversations with Queering Yerevan Collective (QYC), a loose network of artists, writers, cultural critics and activists queering and using Yerevan as an experimental space. This time the conversation was initiated and conducted by QYC. In common (academic) practice, the initiators (interviewers) get credited as authors of the text. In this case, however, since we are also interested in creating new modes … Read more
This interview was conducted with Riga-based artist Ieva Epnere on the occasion of her solo exhibition Sea of Living Memories (September 17–November 5, 2016), a New Commission for Art in General in Brooklyn, NY, and part of an international collaboration curated by Zane Onckule of kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia, where the show opened on December 8. Epnere’s exhibition, her first solo presentation in the United States, addresses the Soviet legacy in Latvia through the lens of those who lived and served in the former Soviet military cities along the country’s long coastline.
Ksenia Nouril: What brought you to … Read more
In the spring of 2016, a group of students, activists, and artists began to discuss the formation of a collective to oppose the hegemonic structures of capitalism and neoliberal politics and economics in contemporary Albania. From these discussions, a group of street artists—individually anonymous but known collectively as Çeta—emerged. The group is made up of members of various ages and backgrounds: designers, political scientists, architects, artists, and physicists. Different members carry out the design and execution of individual works at different times, according to the needs of the group and their commitments to other forms of political action in a … Read more
The following dialogue took place on the occasion of Marrakech Biennale 6: Not New Now/Quoi de neuf là, (February 28-May 8, 2016), curated by Palestinian curator Reem Fadda. After visiting the biennial and attending a curatorial seminar organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), the journal The Exhibitionist staged a discussion with seminar participants María del Carmen Carrión, Mohamed Elshahed, Renaud Proch, Eszter Szakács and ?pek Ulusoy. The conversation below ranges from discussions of contemporary art, craft, archaeology, and postcolonial therapy to politics and aesthetics across the Arab world, and is part of an ongoing collaboration between ICI and The Exhibitionist… Read more
For the 2015 edition of the Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm (the annual international artist-run art fair), artists from Ukraine and its neighbouring countries were invited to discuss the role of art in times of war and chaos, as well as the possibilities for collaborating across borders. The art fair brought together artist-driven initiatives from around the world, including the collectives Parazit (St. Petersburg) and Open Place (Kyiv), whose members participated in the discussion below, together with Maria Kulikovskaya, an artist who is currently starting up an interdisciplinary feminist art residency in Kyiv. Building on this conversation in Stockholm, I … Read more
Vardan Azatyan is an art historian, theoretician and translator. He is Associate Professor of Art History and Theory at the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts. He also teaches at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Yerevan. Azatyan has taught at Columbia University and the Dutch Art Institute. His articles were published in Oxford Art Journal, Springerin, ARTMargins and other international publications. Together with Malcolm Miles, Azatyan edited Cultural Memory (2010). He is the author of Art History and Nationalism (Yerevan: Actual Arvest, 2012) and has translated George Berkeley and David Hume into Armenian.
Angela Harutyunyan: Your 2012 … Read more
Currently based in Zurich, Sabine Hänsgen is a researcher, curator, historian, and theoretician of Russian art. Since the 1980s she has been a member of the Moscow art group Collective Actions. In 1998, together with Georg Witte, she curated the exhibition Präprintium. Moscow Samizdat Books, which was devoted to underground publications in the former Soviet Union.(Sascha Wonders, Günter Hirt, Präprintium. Moskauer Bücher aus dem Samizdat. Mit Multimedia CD (Bremen: Edition Temmen,1998); Forschungsstelle Osteuropa (ed.), Samizdat. Alternative Kultur in Zentral- und Osteuropa: Die 60er bis 80er Jahre (Bremen: Edition Temmen, 2000); Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler (Hg.): Subversive Praktiken. Kunst … Read more
Much like Sadek’s other interventions since the proclaimed end of the Lebanese “civil war,” his allegorical sensibility throughout this interview inhabits the unnerving proximity of transitoriness and eternity. One of the fundamental questions raised by Sadek is the specific nature of an openness to a world struck by the historical violence and structural dislocations of capitalist modernity. This is because sectarianism – another of Sadek’s key themes – is both a symptom of capitalist relations and something from which the figure of the survivor emerges; sectarianism is imbued with guilt-saturated relations in the face of guiltless commodity relations that have … Read more
Preface written by Geeta Kapoor (New Delhi)
This interview, conducted as part of a book project on Marx in Malayalam, is strongly contextual. The southern state of Kerala has the distinction of being the site for the first elected Communist ministry in the world. This was in 1957. The subsequent dismissal of the Communists remains a stain on the otherwise progressive politics of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Generations of political activists in Kerala have tested the full spectrum of radical politics including elected governments and extreme left-wing positions that call for direct (revolutionary) action. Kerala intellectuals and artists are … Read more
It is with great sadness and a sense of enormous loss that we learnt of the recent death of Piotr Piotrowski. Piotrowski was a professor in the Art History Department of Adam Mickiewicz University, Pozna?, and a research fellow at the Graduate School for East and South-East European Studies at the universities of Munich and Regensburg. He is the author of several books, including: Meanings of Modernism (2009, 2011), In the Shadow of Yalta (2009), Art after Politics (2007), Critical Museum (2011), and Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (2012). Between 2009 and 2010, he was the director of the … Read more
Moritz Pankok is a German scenographer, director, curator and fine artist living in Berlin. A great-nephew of expressionist artist Otto Pankok, who documented Sinti life in late Weimar-era Germany and was labelled a degenerate artist by the Nazis, he is interested in socially engaged art projects. Pankok is the art director of Galerie Kai Dikhas, a private gallery in Berlin dedicated to Roma contemporary art. He was curator of the recent exhibition of work by the Austrian-Romani painter Ceija Stojka, which ran until October 6 at Gallery8, Budapest, the nonprofit counterpart of Kai Dikhas.(We Were Ashamed, Gallery8, Budapest, Hungary, … Read more
Interview with Katalin Cseh and Adam Czirak About the Second Public Sphere in the former Eastern Bloc
The three-day conference Performing Arts in the Second Public Sphere (org. by Katalin Cseh and Adam Czirak, Free University Berlin, May 9 -11, 2014) focused on the second public sphere as a space belonging to unofficial, event-based activities in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc between the 1960s and ’80s. The organizers’ idea was to redefine the borderline between the official and the unofficial cultural realms by examining underrepresented artistic practices located in the often invisible niches of the state-socialist cultural apparatus. The topics addressed by conference participants ranged from subversive artistic practices and the role of gender in … Read more
In 1996, Nina Czegledy co-conceived the multiplatform Aurora Project, which has brought together a range of specialists working within the arts and sciences. Under the umbrella of the Aurora Project several exhibitions and programs have been produced, including the Aurora Feast Public Art Project and Aura/Aurora. The project partners and contributors include artists interested in addressing mythological, aesthetic and cosmological readings of the Aurora Borealis, scientific researchers measuring electromagnetic frequencies and the social and psychological effects of spectacle, and computer scientists exploring how amorphous information is represented.
Janeil Engelstad: Your collaborative project Aura/Aurora interprets and explores the natural phenomena … Read more
Based in Ljubljana and Berlin, Marjetica Potr? deals with issues of social space and contemporary architectural practices, sustainability, and new solutions for communities. Her practice is strongly informed by her interdisciplinary collaborations in research-based, on-site projects, such as Théâtre Evolutif (Bordeaux, 2011), The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour (Stedelijk Goes West, Amsterdam, 2009), and Dry Toilet (Caracas, 2003). She translates these investigations into text-based drawings and large-scale architectural installations (“case studies”). Her work has been featured in exhibitions throughout Europe and the Americas, including the São Paulo (1996, 2006) and Venice biennials (1993, 2003, 2009). She has … Read more
Tamás Kaszás was born in 1976 in Dunaújváros, Hungary. He is a graduate of the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest. Inspired by theoretical research, Kaszás’ projects are based on social questions and spiritual science. He mixes poetic images with practical “inventions,” creating large installations the artist calls “visual aid constructions.” Kaszás aspires to an economic and ecological art practice, designing easy-to-make structures from inexpensive and recycled materials using techniques readily available to anyone. The artist has exhibited his work at the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2011); Open Space, Vienna; SMAK, Gent; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Storm … Read more