László Beke, the Hungarian curator and art historian who from the late 1960s became one of the key catalysts of art networks and cross-border collaborations within and beyond Eastern Europe‚ died on January 31 of this year. He published articles, compiled publications, lectured, curated projects and exhibitions on various aspects of progressive art, including Conceptualism, photography, semiotics, Fluxus, Dada, and the post-contemporary (referring to the situation after the era of contemporary art), and, most importantly, pursued his utopian commitment to East European art. Between 1969 and 1986 he was a research fellow at the Research Institute for Art History of … Read more
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Entangled Roots in the Mutating Nature of the New East: Kristaps Ancāns in Conversation with Corina Apostol and Jasmina Tumbas
Romanian-American-Baltic curator Corina L. Apostol and Latvian-British artist Kristaps Ancāns have recently begun a series of collaborations that focus on expanding discourses in contemporary art to include transnational perspectives centered on the New East. In December 2021, Apostol served as the curator for Ancāns’s large-scale site-specific installation what can’t we just create (2021-2022) at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia. Prompted by the current invasion of Ukraine, Apostol and Ancāns revisit this installation in conversation with art historian Jasmina Tumbas, to discuss how they—as cultural workers from the region—negotiate the reconfiguration of questions of identity, nationalism, and sexuality … Read more
Meghan Forbes, ed., International Perspectives on Publishing Platforms: Image, Object, Text. New York and Oxford: Routledge, 2019, 268 pp.
Periodicals have traditionally been a favorite format of artists when it comes to experimenting on the blank page. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that magazines create communities even if their members are almost invisible to one another, dispersed as they may be over regional, national, and even continental geographies. Moreover, because of their time-limited nature, which is—a priori—ephemeral or, at least, specific to a certain time span, magazines tend to offer greater freedom for … Read more
Daniel Muzyczuk and Tomasz Załuski (eds.), Galeria Wschodnia. Dokumenty 1984-2017 / Documents 1984-2017 (Łódź: Galeria Wschodnia, Fundacja In Search Of, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, 2019), 916 pp.
Looking at politics through the lens of alternative galleries is by now an established method within Polish art history. It has allowed for the emergence of vital comparative perspectives, both in the regional context (as demonstrated by Piotr Piotrowski’s oft-cited article “How to Write a History of Central-East European Art?”) and on a national level (e.g. Marcin Lachowski’s Awangarda wobec instytucji, or Luiza Nader’s Konceptualizm w PRL).(Piotr Piotrowski, “How to … Read more
Sven Spieker: Please outline your view of the curator in the 21st century. What are this curator’s major commitments and constraints? Also does the “curator-from-Eastern Europe” concept retain any specificity for you, or not?
Boris Kostadinov: The war that’s raging in Ukraine right now is showing us beyond any doubt that we live in a fluid world, a world in which definitions—not only of what is meant by art, historical time, as well as culture, political and economic geography—are bound to be thoroughly rethought and redefined. The 21st century is no longer what it was until yesterday—basking in … Read more
Daniel Grúň (ed.), Subjective Histories: Self-historicization as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe, Bratislava, Veda, 2020, 320 pp.
The image on the cover of the book Subjective histories: Self-historicization as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe shows an empty escalator. Its constant up and down movement might visualize the quest that all the texts in this book seem to share: to highlight the parallels between different artistic activities before 1989 and their meaning from a present point of view. The cover photograph (by Peter Sit) is from a performance by Slovak artist Matej Gavula, together with APART Collective, called Sunday, … Read more
In March 2022, the General Assembly of Budapest announced the winning team of the juried competition for the public memorial, Memory of Rape in Wartimes: Women as Victims of Sexual Violence, a unique memorial project that aims to address the difficult history of violence against women during wartime. The winning proposal, Memory of Rape in Wartimes, by Slovakian-Hungarian artist Ilona Németh, architect Gabi Mészáros, and poet Anikó N. Tóth, is to be realized in 2023. Hedvig Turai recently spoke with Ilona Németh about their project.
Hedvig Turai: To set up a memorial to wartime victims of rape is … Read more
“The grave is better than not knowing”: this is how Kumrije Jahmurataj expressed her sorrow while anxiously awaiting news of her missing husband, Smajli, who to this day remains unaccounted for after the 1998-99 Kosovo War. Jahmurataj was interviewed as part of research conducted by The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLC Kosovo), a non-profit organization that was first established during the social upheaval of 1997, before the war began. In the post-war context, HLC Kosovo has played a key role in
The AMO interactive Eastern European Art Periodicals Map (2022) is the result of four years of research by Camilla Salvaneschi (IUAV, Venice); Susan Snodgrass (AMO); and Sven Spieker (AMO), and it has benefited from the generous help of several others.(Ian Gabe Wilson, who conducted invaluable initial research, and Russell Coon (pielabmedia.com), who designed the map.) Its goal is to demonstrate intellectual affinities between currently active art-focused periodicals published in the region, revealing in the process the material conditions of art writing and art publishing in Eastern Europe today.
“To Me, Everything is a Space for Encounter”: Michael Laundry in Conversation with Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński
Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński is an interdisciplinary artist mainly using archival and museal material for artistic research in photography and video. Late last year, Kazeem-Kamiński received the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz. A solo show of her work was also recently on view at Kunsthalle Wien. While in Vienna, Michael Laundry spoke with Kazeem-Kamiński about how her work creates space to think about Black feminism, representation, and post-colonial theory. In this interview, Laundry and Kazeem-Kamiński discuss the her use of slide shows, artist books, photography, and video in the dissection of the white gaze on Black … Read more
The Earth is Flat Again / Ziemia znów jest płaska, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, September 24, 2021 – February 27, 2022
The impetus to rethink the role of the museum characterizes the overarching exhibition program of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland, which historically emerged in the 1920s from the international modern art collection of the Polish avant-garde “a.r.” group and its members, such as artists Władysław Strzemiński and Katarzyna Kobro. The ideas of the “a.r.” group as well as other radical proposals from the beginning of the 20th century to redefine the concept of the museum are currently … Read more
The Story of the Ukrainian Pavilion in Venice and Exhibition-Making as a Matter of Cultural Survival: An Interview with Maria Lanko
With the upcoming 59th International Art Exhibition in Venice on April 23, Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German, and Borys Filonenko—the curators of artist Pavlo Makov’s project Fountain of Exhaustion. Acqua Alta for the Ukrainian Pavilion—have found themselves in a difficult situation that has made it impossible for them to continue working on the exhibition. On March 8, 2022, the organizers of the pavilion announced that “despite the ongoing war, the team managed to evacuate the fragments of [Makov’s] artwork from Kyiv” and will be able to present it at the upcoming Venice Biennale.(“Ukrainian pavilion will make it to La Biennale … Read more
In support of artists, scholars, and all people forced to flee Ukraine because of the Russian invasion of the country, the editorial collective of ARTMargins Online is compiling a growing list of resources (primarily art- and research-related), including residencies, fellowships, internships, and emergency funds. We will continue to update this list as we become aware of new opportunities and resources. Please let us know of additional resources by contacting us through this online form.
- The Austrian Academy of Sciences announced support for Ukrainian scientists to come to Austria: https://www.oeaw.ac.at/…/PDF/Solidaritaetsadresse_EN.pdf.
- German funding programmes for scholars at risk
Monitored Activities: Eastern European Performance Art through the Prisms of Photography, Film, and Politics
Corinna Kühn, Medialisierte Körper: Performances und Aktionen der Neoavantgarden Ostmitteleuropas in den 1970er Jahren (Vienna: Böhlau, 2020), 324 pp.
Corinna Kühn’s Medialisierte Körper: Performances und Aktionen der Neoavantgarden Ostmitteleuropas in den 1970er Jahren deals with selected performances and actions from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland during the 1970s. Her focus lies on the dimension of documentation through photography and video. She is interested in how artists communicated with imaginary or future spectators through the deliberate use of images or even the manipulation of techniques of filming or photographing. The book approaches the topic through detailed analyses of works by Endre
Banja Luka-based artist Mladen Miljanović has had a long-standing interest in monuments and practices of remembering, from his The Garden of Delights (2013), an installation that emulates tombstone engravings created for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, to his Draft for a 20 Minute Monument (2019), in which nine disabled men and war veterans sit for 20 minutes on a discarded pile of stones. This conversation, part of our Special Issue on Contemporary Approaches to Monuments in Central and Eastern Europe, was occasioned by his upcoming exhibition Realtime Monument at Budapest acb Gallery (March … Read more
Periodicals Beyond Hierarchies: Challenging Geopolitical and Social “Centers” and “Peripheries” Through the Press
The European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit) convenes its 2022 (10th) international conference for the first time in East-Central Europe, in Budapest, Hungary, to focus on the following theme: Periodicals Beyond Hierarchies: Challenging Geopolitical and Social “Centers” and “Peripheries” Through the Press.
The conference will reflect on the way in which periodicals as essential forums of the public sphere challenge, transform, or interpret the notion of “centers” and “peripheries” in a context of permanently shifting and historically unstable situations. Papers may investigate these questions, in … Read more
Invocation Trilogy – A Conversation on Monumentality, Language, and the Past with Miška Mandić and Kuba Dorabialski
Kuba Dorabialski’s film series Invocation Trilogy stitches together an unlikely constellation of encounters and mythologies centered around the Eastern European Socialist project. Narrated in a fictional Slavic language invented by Dorabialski, the trilogy plays with truth, fabrication, and legibility as it unpacks histories and memories of Eastern Europe from the insider/outsider migrant perspective. In this interview, artist and filmmaker Miška Mandić speaks with Dorabialski about this work and his practice.
Miška Mandić: The Invocation Trilogy is a series of three video works made between 2017 and 2021, each with a bigger scope than the last. Rather than a sense … Read more
Marko Ilić, A Slow Burning Fire: The Rise of the New Art Practice in Yugoslavia (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021), 384 PP.
To what extent does the term “institutional critique” adequately describe the work of the New Art Practice, Yugoslavia’s famous generation of conceptual artists? Scholars have taken a range of approaches to this question, from those who reject the term as associated with Western art histories, to those who see the New Art Practice’s dematerialized, socially critical artworks as a form of institutional critique responsive to local conditions. (For example, in her 2007 contribution to the journal Transversal on … Read more
How can we, in the middle of a heated debate around public monuments as highly visible and dominant bearers of history around the world, perceive the more layered and subtle aspects of commemorative practice? Reflection on anti-, counter- and performative monuments has not abated, but been absorbed in the current worldwide struggle to remove, replace, and otherwise neutralize monuments spatializing unjust power. That is all to the good, as long as we don’t forget that monuments, and artists, can do things that bear witness against impossible odds—and without erecting anything permanent. In this essay I look at several iterations of … Read more
Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe (New York and Oxford: Routledge, 2021), 252 PP.
Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe is a broad survey of images, created mainly in Britain, showing maps, people, landscapes, and cartoons of Eastern Europe. The author presents a long-durée analysis that extends from the Renaissance to present times and goes through diverse mediums of representation that have rarely been analyzed together: maps, engravings, photographs, cartoons, and book covers. Murawska-Muthesius makes a convincing statement for the significance of visual culture and specifically for the power of images not only to represent, but also to actively create … Read more
A new memorial project in Budapest, Memory of Rape in Wartimes: Women as Victims of Sexual Violence, will commemorate female victims of wartime rape, while establishing a culture of dialogue around rape and violence in Hungarian society and the region. Initiated by the General Assembly of Budapest in January 2020 and to be completed in 2023, the project goes against the grain of the practices of the current Hungarian government’s illiberal system of erecting nationalist monuments and statues without public input, through an open, democratic process that includes artists, historians, scholars, an international jury, and representatives from public institutions. … Read more
Following the pathway of horizontal art history set by Piotr Piotrowski, our conference will suggest a definition of Central-East European art based on actual contacts, dialogues, and reciprocal affects between the art practitioners of the region. In 20th-century Eastern Europe, cultural relationships were the result of historical events, waves of emigration, and the migration or relocation of minority communities, … Read more
This podcast is part of the One on One series, which presents timely encounters between ARTMargins Online editors and contemporary artists, focused on one work. It was recorded on the occasion of the recent online release of Missa Echologica, a video piece. Zsuzsa László interviews the Hungarian artist and poet Anna Zilahi who created this work in collaboration with Laura Szári and the Varsányi Szirének feminist choir (Blanka Bolonyai, Dóra Ferenczy, Bettina Horváth, Dóra Király, Rita Szántó, Laura Szári, Diána Takács, Eszter Tóth, Virág Török, Anna Zilahi). Gergely Ofner was in charge of photography. The work was introduced … Read more
This interview focuses on the film Otranto (2019–2020), created by the artist collective Latent Community (Ionian Bisai and Sotiris Tsiganos). Otranto explores a relatively unknown tragedy: the story of the refugee ship Katër i Radës. The ship departed from the Albanian port city of Vlora, carrying 120 people fleeing the violence that had engulfed the country following the massive collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. On March 28, 1997, the Italian navy warship Sibilla—acting in accordance with an Italian blockade of Albania to prevent refugees from entering the country—intercepted, rammed, and sunk the Katër i Radës in the strait of … Read more
Ilija Šoškić, born in 1935 in present-day Kosovo (then part of Yugoslavia), and raised in present-day Montenegro, became the most known representative of the Montenegrin neo-avant-garde, although the artist would never call himself that. Rejecting any nationalist aspirations of the post-Yugoslav states, he sees himself instead as a nomad or a pilgrim(I refer to the title of Šoškić’s performance Pilgrimage (Hero’s Walk), from a 1975 performance realized at the Hohenzollern Castle, in Tubingen, Germany.)—somebody constantly on the road. Nevertheless, he has returned on several occasions to Montenegro and currently is based in neighboring Croatia.
Šoškić’s actions, installations, and … Read more
ŠTO TE NEMA (Where have you been?) by Bosnian-born artist Aida Šehović is an annual nomadic monument to the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide that has traveled internationally to 15 different cities from 2006 to 2020. This participatory public monument, consisting of more than 8,372 fildžani (small porcelain coffee cups) that have been collected and donated by Bosnian families from all over the world, addresses issues of trauma, healing, and remembrance. The first in a series of articles that make up our Special Issue Contemporary Approaches to Monuments in Central and Eastern Europe, this interview is occasioned by Šehović’s
Introduction to Special Issue
What new practices of commemoration, and what new kinds of memory, do contemporary monuments make possible? What can contemporary art do to help us remember, and what does it mean to make a monument in today’s conditions? This Special Issue highlights a broad range of contemporary practices devoted to alternative forms of commemoration and the problems posed by monumentality within present-day Central and Eastern Europe and its diaspora. Such practices include documentary projects, performances, and interventions that occupy the post-socialist public sphere, as well as works that explore the fraught legacies of socialist-era monuments and subsequent … Read more
On the Concept of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ukraine: Svitlana Biedarieva in Conversation with Olya Balashova and Yuliia Hnat
For many years, Ukraine has experienced a growing need for a Museum of Contemporary Art that would function as the first state-run collection focused on acquiring and exhibiting the work of contemporary Ukrainian artists. The attempts to create such an institution began in the early 2000s, but thus far have been unsuccessful due to political and sociocultural factors. In 2020, a nonprofit association was created to work in an applied way on the development of theconcept of the museum, with the involvement of key experts in contemporary art and culture. In this interview, art historian and artist Svitlana Biedarieva speaks … Read more
BOJANA VIDEKANIĆ, NONALIGNED MODERNISM: SOCIALIST POSTCOLONIAL AESTHETICS IN YUGOSLAVIA 1945-1985 (TORONTO: MCGILL-QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2020), 302 PP.
Bojana Videkanić’s book Nonaligned Modernism: Socialist Postcolonial Aesthetics in Yugoslavia, 1945-1985 represents an important contribution to understanding the entanglements of artistic, cultural, economic and political histories in Yugoslavia. It articulates a body of knowledge on nonaligned cultural politics in the idiosyncratic context of socialist Yugoslavia. Although the country started its post-WWII history as a member of the Soviet pact, it radically changed its political and cultural position when Josip Broz Tito uttered the well-known ‘no’ to Stalin in 1948, thus ending of close … Read more
Time/Place of the Conference: February 24-26, 2022, Technical University, Dresden (TU Dresden). The international and interdisciplinary conference “The Global GDR – A Transcultural History of Art (1949-1990)” is dedicated to a chapter in the history of art in Eastern Europe that has received little attention up until now, the manifold connections, in the field of art, between the GDR and socialist countries outside of the Eastern Bloc, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These relations manifested themselves in artists’ trips and in reciprocal study visits; in exhibitions of East German art abroad as well as of non-European art in the … Read more