Maja Fowkes: The Green Bloc: Neo-Avant-Garde Art and Ecology Under Socialism (2015)

4 December 2017, dusan

“Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism, The Green Bloc uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, Maja Fowkes’s innovative research brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology. Embedding artistic production in social, political, and environmental histories of the region, this book reveals the artists’ sophisticated relationship to nature, at the precise moment when ecological crisis was first apprehended on a planetary scale. ”

Publisher Central European University Press, New York and Budapest, 2015
ISBN 9789633860687, 9633860687
viii+299 pages
via Memory of the World

Reviews: Katalin Cseh-Varga (Springerin, 2015, DE), Juliane Debeusscher (Critique d’art, 2018).

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Revista Arta (14-15): Performance in Eastern Europe (2015) [Romanian/English]

3 January 2017, dusan

Special dossier of the magazine.

“Under such names as happening, processual or performative art, situationist or contextual art, actionism or corporal / body art, performance art has remained since the 1960s maybe the most direct, incisive, and cutting-edge form of artistic expression of the last decades. Positioned at the cross-point between the visual, the discursive, and the theatrical, involving the artist with his/her entire physical, psychological, and spiritual being, in front of the public or together with it, performance art has not yet run out of resources in the context of the last years, when other forms of visual intervention have become more fashionable. Since the 1960s, performance art has represented a form of protest of the artists against the aesthetic establishment, accelerated muzeification, and the consumerism of the art market. The dossier coordinated by Ileana Pintilie demonstrates all these assertions, but also underlines the emancipating dimension performance art has had in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe – the fascination and fear which totalitarian regimes developed in front of this provocative form of social and artistic non-conformism.”

Edited by Ileana Pintilie
Publisher Romanian Artists’ Union (Uniunea Artiștilor Plastici din România), Bucharest, 2015
98 pages

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David Crowley, Daniel Muzyczuk: Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957–1984 (2012) [English/Polish]

3 December 2013, dusan

In the aftermath of Stalinism, composers and artists in Eastern Europe were given new opportunities to experiment. New recording studios equipped with magnetic tape recorders and later, synthesizers were established, first in Warsaw in 1957 and then throughout Eastern Europe. New and often challenging forms of music were produced in these laboratories of sound.

The connections between the visual arts and experimental music were closer in the 1960s than perhaps any time before or since. Sound and image combined in artists’ films, ‘happenings’ and sounding installations. Experimental forms of notation were also created to stimulate uninhibited musical expression.

The early happenings and actions of the 1960s were associated with intellectual freedom and reform. The exhilaration of experimentation declined during the decade and in the 1970s new critical forms of art emerged which associated sound with surveillance and censorship.

This book accompanying an 2012 exhibition at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź explores both the optimism and the anxiety that was to be found in the experimental zone of art and music.

The exhibition later moved to the Calvert 22 Gallery in London.

Artists (with links to their respective pages on Monoskop wiki): Collective Actions, Walerian Borowczyk, Andrzej Dłużniewski, Szábolcs Esztényi, László Vidovszky, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Grzegorz Kowalski, Zygmunt Krauze, Henryk Morel and Cezary Szubartowski, Eugeniusz Rudnik, Bulat Galeyev, Milan Grygar, Milan Knížák, Oskar Hansen, Zofia Hansen, Zoltán Jeney, Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid, Katalin Ladik, Jan Lenica, Dóra Maurer, Vladan Radovanović, Józef Robakowski, Bogusław Schaeffer.

Dźwięki elektrycznego ciała: Eksperymenty w sztuce i muzyce w Europie Wschodniej 1957–1984
Publisher Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, 2012
ISBN 9788387937980
222 pages

David Crowley’s presentation at MoMA (video, 50 min)
Sounding the Body Electric: A Conversation (Michał Libera, Art Margins)
Accompanying audio 2-CD

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