Third Text, 153: Actually Existing Artworlds of Socialism (2018)

29 May 2019, dusan

“The tensions between actual and ideal versions of socialism elucidated by East German theorist Rudolf Bahro in 1977 are taken as a starting point for reconsidering East European art from the radical effervescence of the 1960s to the post-utopian twilight of the late 1970s. The special issue is premised on the concept that artistic life in Eastern Europe was profoundly shaped by the structures, conventions and workings of the overarching system, with artists and critics compelled to negotiate its productive contradictions. It examines the quotidian functioning of art scenes across the region that entailed the drawing up of tacit compromises and maintenance of calculated ambiguities in relations between party authorities and artists. Ultimately it was the latent and unrealised promise of actually existing socialism as much as its demonstrative failings that marked a crucial difference in the attitude of East European artists to the utopian reverberations of the era.”

With texts by Maja Fowkes & Reuben Fowkes, Tomáš Pospiszyl, Tomasz Załuski, Zsuzsa László, Daniel Grúň, Candice M Hamelin, Hana Buddeus, Alina Șerban, Raino Isto, Sonja Simonyi, Marko Ilić, and Armin Medosch.

Edited by Reuben Fowkes
Publisher Routledge, July 2018
ISSN 0952-8822
194 pages

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Katalin Cseh-Varga, Adam Czirak (eds.): Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-based Art in Late Socialist Europe (2018)

22 April 2018, dusan

“This is the first interdisciplinary analysis of performance art in East, Central and Southeast Europe under socialist rule. By investigating the specifics of event-based art forms in these regions, each chapter explores the particular, critical roles that this work assumed under censorial circumstances.

The artistic networks of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, East Germany and Czechoslovakia are discussed with a particular focus on the discourses that shaped artistic practice at the time, drawing on the methods of Performance Studies and Media Studies as well as more familiar reference points from art history and area studies.”

Publisher Routledge, New York & London, 2018
ISBN 9781138723276, 1138723274
xii+263 pages

Interview with editors (ARTMargins, 2014)

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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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