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)

16 March 2019, dusan

Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere 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.”

Contributors: Roddy Hunter, Miško Šuvaković, Dietmar Unterkofler, Ileana Pintilie, Cristian Nae, Andrej Mirčev, Andrea Bátorová, Berenika Szymanski-Düll, Kata Krasznahorkai, Laine Kristberga, Adam Czirak, Amy Bryzgel, Jasmina Tumbas, Beáta Hock, Angelika Richter, Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes.

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

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Izabel Galliera: Socially Engaged Art After Socialism: Art and Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (2017)

17 January 2019, dusan

“Reclaiming public life from the ideologies of both communist regimes and neoliberalism, their projects have harnessed the politically subversive potential of social relations based on trust, reciprocity and solidarity. Drawing on archival material and exclusive interviews, in this book Izabel Galliera traces the development of socially engaged art from the early 1990s to the present in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. She demonstrates that, in the early 1990s, projects were primarily created for exhibitions organized and funded by the Soros Centers for Contemporary Art. In the early 2000s, prior to Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania entering into the European Union, EU institutions likewise funded socially-conscious public art in the region. Today, socially engaged art is characterised by the proliferation of independent and often self-funded artists’ initiatives in cities such as Sofia, Bucharest and Budapest.

Focusing on the relationships between art, social capital and civil society, Galliera employs sociological and political theories to reveal that, while social capital is generally considered a mechanism of exclusion in the West, in post-socialist contexts it has been leveraged by artists and curators as a vital means of communication and action.”

Publisher I.B. Tauris, London/New York, 2017
ISBN 9781784537135, 1784537136
xx+361 pages

Review: Denisa Tomkova (ARTMargins, 2018).

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