ARTMargins Online

Gerard Kwiatkowski: Embodying Historical Complexities in Postwar Polish “Recovered Territories”

The following text initiates “Artist Files,” a new series devoted to forgotten, understudied, or otherwise marginalized artists from the former Eastern Europe. The artists whose work we want to introduce have eluded recognition not only abroad–a fate that’s common enough for artists from the region–but also in their own countries, and for a broad variety of reasons. This essay devoted to Gerard Kwiatkowski focuses on the work of this important Polish-German artist, whose role as a curator and founder of EL Gallery often overshadowed his artistic practice.

Polish artist Gerard Jürgen Blum-Kwiatkowski is mostly known as the founder of the … Read more

Artists from the Former Eastern Europe in Berlin: Ewa Partum

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

Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings (Book Review)

Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings. Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš Nebijušu Sajūtu Restaurēšanas Darbnīca. Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš. Ieva Astahovska, Mara Žeikare, eds. Riga (Latvia: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2016), 480 pp.

For quite some time, all that was available to the researcher of contemporary art related to the Latvian experimental music group Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feelings/Nebijušu Sajūtu Restaurēšanas Darbnīca (NSRD), were a few lines here and there, scattered across catalogues, essays and random texts. Mysterious references to Binocular Dances and Walks to Bolderāja captivated those who wanted to know more. For these … Read more

Was Australian art ever provincial? A RESPONSE TO TERRY SMITH’S “THE PROVINCIALISM PROBLEM: THEN AND NOW” (ARTmargins 6, no. 1, February 2017, pp. 6-32)

The historical discourse is never ‘born’. It keeps starting anew. And art history also keeps starting anew. This always seems to happen when its purpose is deemed dead–while experiencing a rebirth at the same time.
–Georges Didi-Huberman(Georges Didi-Huberman, L’image survivante: Histoire de l’artet temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, originally published in French in 2002. It was translated into English in 2016 as The Surviving Image; Phantoms of Time and Time of Phantoms: Aby Warburg’s History of Art. Our quote is from the German Das Nachleben der Bilder: Kunstgeschicte und Phantomzeit nach Aby Warburg (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2010), Read more

Art and/as Radical Labor: We Wanted a Revolution at the Brooklyn Museum

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85 at the Brooklyn Museum, April 21 – September 17, 2017.

For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of Read more

In the Throes of Art and Law: Review of Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature

Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin, March 10 – May 7, 2017

The exhibition Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature at neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in Berlin is the most recent in a spate of exhibitions and symposia to address law through art in the last five years. In 2013, the Persona Ficta exhibition at Bard Center for Curatorial Studies presented “formal spaces of law as vehicles for poetic political action,”(Persona Ficta, Bard CCS, 2013 http://www.bard.edu/ccs/persona-ficta/ (Retrieved July 30, 2017).) and Imagine the Law at FKSE Stúdió Galéria in Budapest (2013) … Read more

The End of Nature: Interview with Angelika Markul

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 Paradox of Artistic Labor: An Interview with Katja Praznik

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

The Agency of Lack: Mikhail Tolmachev on His Installation at the Moscow Gulag Museum

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

Sitting together. Parallel Chronologies of Coincidences in Eastern Europe

transit.sk, Bratislava, Slovakia – December 13, 2016 to February 25, 2017

A black and white photograph portrays a group of people in a natural environment like a meadow; they are eating and conversing while sitting in a circle. We can deduce from their garments and the hair in movement that the weather is fresh and windy. After a few seconds, we distinguish a small, dark-colored animal that is being pet by one of the participants. The animal is a lamb, a particular Ethiopian species borrowed from the zoo for this occasion; it is also the main character of this informal … Read more

A Conversation with Olga Chernysheva

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

The Idea of the Global Museum

The global museum has been debated over a decade within the framework of critical museology and in the context of contemporary global art. The recent conference The Idea of the Global Museum (December 2-3, 2016), organized by the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Modern Art in Berlin as a part of its project Global Resonances and coordinated by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, offered a retrospective look at a variety of museum practices that critically embrace the notion of the global.

The discourse on the global museum has been part of a broader postcolonial investigation into the possibility of a global … Read more

Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future

Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, October 22, 2016—January 29, 2017

On January 29, 2017, the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe celebrated the successful conclusion of Art in Europe 1945-1968: Facing the Future, a major exhibition dedicated to European art after the Second World War. Showcasing some 500 artworks by more than 200 artists, the exhibition was the collaborative effort of the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR), the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM), and the Moscow State Museum Exhibition Center (ROSIZO), and Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. After stints in Brussels and Karlsruhe, the … Read more

Allegories of Painting: Review of Meleko Mokgosi’s Democratic Intuition: Lerato

Democratic Intuition: Lerato at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City, September 8 – October 22, 2016

Democratic Intuition: Lerato is part of an ongoing series of exhibits by the Botswana-born, NYC-based painter Meleko Mokgosi.(Another installment of the project, Comrades II, ran concurrently at the Shainman Gallery’s second site. I make brief reference tothis other exhibit, but focus my analysis on Lerato.) The first iteration, Exordium, was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston in 2015, and was followed by Comrades at the Stevenson Art Gallery, Cape Town, in 2016. In his new show at … Read more

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present

MOHOLY-NAGY: FUTURE PRESENT, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, OCTOBER 2, 2016-JANUARY 3, 2017

“Art has two faces, the biological and the social, one toward the individual and the other toward the group. By expressing fundamental validities and common problems, art can produce a feeling of coherence. This is its social function which leads to a cultural synthesis as well as to a continuation of human civilization.”
-László Moholy-Nagy (László Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion (Chicago: Paul Theobald, 1947), p. 28.)

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, the long overdue traveling retrospective of Hungarian-born artist and educator László Moholy-Nagy, is a timely testament … Read more

Why Sports and Art Go Well Together: A Conversation with Przemysław Strożek (Warsaw)

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

ԲԱՑԱ(ՀԱՅ)ՏՈՒՄ In Flight: Singing Tricksters, Imposters, Masqueraders

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

Lost in Plain Sight: Dadaglobe Reconstructed

Dadaglobe Reconstructed, Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 12-September 18, 2016

Recently in art and exhibition culture, there has been a fashion for reenactment and reconstruction. Most pervasively – but also, in a sense, most naturally – this has occurred in performance art, notoriously when Marina Abramović shifted the stakes of scored performance from interpretive reiteration to faithful reenactment in Seven Easy Pieces (2005), a serial resurrection of seven historically important, but underdocumented performances.(See Carrie Lambert-Beatty, “Against Performance Art,” Artforum, May 2010, https://www.artforum.com/inprint/issue=201005&id=25443&show=activation, accessed November 10, 2016.) Equally, as Claire Bishop has pointed out, the Read more

A Conversation with Ieva Epnere

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

Local Artists at the 56th Belgrade October Salon

56TH BELGRADE OCTOBER SALON, SEPTEMBER 23-NOVEMBER 6, 2016

The 56th October Salon occupied two major venues in Belgrade: a long-abandoned building on Resavska Street, which was previously the headquarters of ex-Yugoslavia’s Military Academy, and, in the very heart of the city, the Belgrade Cultural Center on Knez Mihailova Street. Entitled The Pleasure of Love: Transient Emotion in Contemporary Art, the 2016 exhibition showcased works by 67 artists from 26 countries, each of which sought to explore the human condition through the prism of love. In focusing on love, curator David Elliot characterized the Salon as taking a forthright stand against … Read more

56th Belgrade October Salon

56th Belgrade October Salon, September 23-November 6, 2016

The October Salon is the flagship event on the Belgrade contemporary art calendar, maybe the entire cultural calendar in the city. It was founded by the City of Belgrade in 1960 as an exhibition of contemporary fine arts, and by 1967 it also included applied arts. It was not until 2001 that an artistic director was engaged to create the concept of the Salon, as prior to that the Salon’s advisory board was responsible for conceiving the exhibition. Until 2005 the Salon was a representation of the Serbian art scene, after which … Read more

Art Periodicals and Contemporary Art Worlds, Part 2: Critical Publicity in a Global Context

Editors note: The following essay by Gwen Allen is Part 2 of a two-part essay devoted to critical art periodicals past and present. Part 1 appears in ARTMargins Print (#5.3, 2016), our Special Issue Art Periodicals Today, Historically Considered that extends across both ARTMargins platforms. Future articles will unfold in the coming weeks and include: “Have a Look: A Short History of Art Periodicals in Yugoslavia” by Darko Šimi?i? and “Art Periodicals in Eastern Europe: A Critical Survey.”

In “Art Periodicals and Contemporary Art Worlds, Part 1: An Historical Exploration” (published issue #5.3, 2016 of ARTMargins Print), I examine … Read more

The Politics of Street Art in Albania: An Interview with Çeta

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

Not New Now: Discussing the 6th Marrakech Biennale

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 ExhibitionistRead more

Aesthetics of Repair in Contemporary Georgia, Tartu Art Museum, Estonia, March 24 – May 29, 2016

Aesthetics of Repair in Contemporary Georgia, Tartu Art Museum, Estonia, March 24 – May 29, 2016

What unites the small post-socialist countries of Estonia and Georgia in the year 2016? Why organize an exhibition of contemporary Georgian art in Estonia a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union? In the Baltics there are not that many exhibition spaces that would invest in East European contemporary art today, as the shared socialist past now seems somewhat distant, irrelevant and undesired in relation to the identity politics of these rapidly changing countries. However, when one looks at the … Read more

Femina Subtetrix: A Feminist Look at the APACA Textile Factory

Femina Subtetrix at Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, September 10 – October 3, 2015

Sonja Hornung, a Berlin-based artist, and Larisa Crunteanu, an artist from Warsaw and Bucharest and former curator at Atelier 35 in Bucharest, produced a culturally layered exhibition at Ivan Gallery, curated by Xandra Popescu, entitled Femina Subtetrix. Hornung and Crunteanu both come from a feminist background. Hornung is a sculptor who investigates the relationship between material, memory and public space; Crunteanu works in performance and video art with a strong interest in the social image of the body and performativity. In this collaborative exhibition, both share a material-driven … Read more

Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland since 1980 (Book Review)

Amy Bryzgel, Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland since 1980 (London and New York: I.B. Tauris. 2013), xiii + 303 pp.

Amy Bryzgel’s Performing the East addresses the specificities of “Eastern” performance art in relation to the socio-political transformations accompanying the protracted “transition” to post-socialism. Given its ambitious geopolitical range (the USSR, a Baltic republic, and a Central European Soviet satellite) the selection of case studies is surprisingly coherent. Bryzgel’s protagonists all explore the precarity of identity – national, cultural, sexual – in the post-socialist public sphere. Their work is at once playful and hard-hitting. Bryzgel’s … Read more

When Canons Roar: Artists Reflect on the Conflict in Ukraine

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

Staging visuality – Seaside Architecture of Socialist Romania: Around an Exhibition and Beyond

ENCHANTING VIEWS: ROMANIAN BLACK SEA TOURISM PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE 1960s AND 1970s. Exhibition curated by Kaliopi Dimou, Sorin Istudor and Alina Serban; October 10 – November 23, 2014; the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Sala Dalles, Bucharest (Romania)

In the wake of a series of conference papers and articles dealing with seaside architecture in the former Communist bloc, two larger projects covered the subject more consistently. The first (and more extended), Holidays after the Fall: Urban and Architectural Transformation Processes of South-Eastern European Leisure Peripheries, was initiated by Michael Zinganel (Faculty of Architecture, University of Graz) in … Read more