Interesting Exhibitions in Central Europe We’re Looking Forward to in 2018

Editors
Performance by Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite (YOUNG GIRL READING GROUP) at Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius for the Baltic Triennial’s “Prelude”, curated by Vincent Honoré. Photo: Andrej Vasiljeko. Courtesy of the artists, Baltic Triennial 13 and CAC Vilnius
Interesting Exhibitions in Central Europe We’re Looking Forward to in 2018
Performance by Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite (YOUNG GIRL READING GROUP) at Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius for the Baltic Triennial’s “Prelude”, curated by Vincent Honoré. Photo: Andrej Vasiljeko. Courtesy of the artists, Baltic Triennial 13 and CAC Vilnius

Czech Republic

Brno
Moravian Gallery
Paneland. Czechoslovakia’s Great Housing Experiment
November 24, 2017 – March 18, 2018
1968:computer.art
April 20 – August 5
28th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2018
May 10 – August 26

Current exhibition in Moravian gallery reflects on the period of so-called normalization in Czechoslovakia. The term describes the process which after the forcible suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968 was to completely eliminate the influence of the political and intellectual elites who stood behind the revitalization endeavours in Czechoslovakia. As curators say, normalization tends to be connected with political purges, another wave of emigration, censorship, oppression and restrictions of all kinds. Another connotation which the term normalization invokes is the effort by the party leadership to ensure saturation of communist consumer society with the massive construction of prefab housing estates, car manufacture and the production of TV entertainment programmes. On the other hand, this period can also be perceived as a big social experiment which brought a huge portion of the population into changed living and social conditions to which it was necessary to respond – both on the part of the people themselves and party functionaries and experts. This process of coming to terms with and searching for a living content of the enforced form in the field of architecture and the applied and fine arts is the subject of the Paneland.

1968:computer.art, opening in April, will focus on a specific event in Czechoslovakian art history. In1968, Jiří Valoch organised the Computer Graphics exhibition at the Brno House of Arts. He preceded by half a year the opening of the Cybernetic Serendipity show curated by Jasia Reichardt in ICA, London. It presented as the very first international exhibition dedicated to the relationship between art and technology. The exhibition of computer art that will mark the anniversary of Valoch’s curatorial project from 1968, will concentrate on a historical reflection on the phenomenon of computer art and its origins in the 1960s and 1970s. It will present the work of the artists taking part in Valoch’s project from 1968, but will also examine the application of computerised processes in creating paintings, architectural structures and include the first proclamations and critical reflection of the influence of automated processes in the sphere of conceptual art and visual culture in general.

In May, The 28th Brno Biennial of Graphic Design will open a platform to represent the complete scope of the contemporary graphic design. It will introduce contemporary graphic design in the full multiplicity of its facets, engaging both experts and the general public.

Ostrava
PLATO
Jiří Kovanda
October 20, 2017 – February 28, 2018

The past fifty years have shown that any space can become a gallery. Why not make a gallery from the revolving door of the Rectorate building of VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava in the Ostrava-Poruba campus then? Plato Gallery decided to invite, on a regular basis, some well-known Czech artists to cooperate. The first one is Jiří Kovanda, one of the most important figures in contemporary Czech art. In the 1970s he was among the circle of Prague conceptualists and performance artists Jan Mlčoch, Jiří Štembera and Karel Müller. Later, around 1985, he got in contact also with Jiří David and the artists and organizers of the unofficial Confrontations shows. At the late 1980s and in the 1990s Kovanda was represented in international and national exhibitions of the prominent curators’ duo Jana and Jiří Ševčík, who have probably the most significant share in his world success. Since 1995 he has been a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, in the studio of Vladimír Skrepl.

Prague
National Gallery in Prague
Katharina Grosse, ‚Wunderbild’
February 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Maria Lassnig 1919-2014
February 16 – June 17

Prague City Gallery
Vladimír Ambroz, ‚Actions’
January 30 – April 29
‚The Reunion of Poetry and Philosophy’
February 7 – May 13

FUTURA
Karíma Al-Mukhtarová, ‚The Rooms’
December 5, 2017 – February 18, 2018
Adrian Kiss, ‚Through the Gate of Absence’
December 5, 2017 – February 18, 2018
Anders Grønlien, ‚Don’t go chasing waterfalls’
December 5, 2017 – February 18, 2018

MeetFactory
‚Amplified by the Stillness’
November 24, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Gili Avissar
January 25 – February 18

German artist, Katharina Grosse will present a site-specific work in the National Gallery in Prague this February. Grosse elaborates a large-scale, site specific painterly installation which redefines painting as a performative and architectural medium and responds to the Gallery’s industrial space of the late 20s functionalist style. Her Wunderbild will be an architectural painting, epic in scale, immersive installation reminding of both a medieval mural and a womb-like cave of a pre-ancient drawing, a post-theatrical chamber of a hyper-technisized, intoxicating environment. Grosse is also conceiving an intervention on the threshold between the architecture and the natural environment, outside of the Gallery. In both cases, the artist creates an autonomous space, defined by color and form, a post-romantic landscape of a subjectivity and nature in ruins.

At the same time the National Gallery will present Austrian painter Maria Lassnig’s retrospective. Featuring over 50 large-format paintings, drawings and watercolor series, as well as sculptures and films that reveal Lassnig’s long standing exploration of the body and self-representation, the exhibition will showcase work from her whole career; from the abstract works made during the 1940s in Vienna, through painterly experiments of the periods spent in Paris and New York, including cutting-edge cinematic work, down to the mature body of work after her return to Austria in1980, featuring rarely exhibited sculptures, and concluding with the paintings, drawings and watercolors made in the final years of her life that focus on self-portraiture and investigate the idea behind much of Lassnig’s art, namely the notion of “body awareness”, concentrated on the introspective experiences and depiction of the invisible aspects of the inner sensations.

Vladimír Ambroz, Anonymity – Plastic People, 1976. Photo: Václav Šedý

The exhibition Vladimír Ambroz: Actions in Prague City Gallery will focus on artist’s virtually unknown activities in the field of performance art, interventions in the public space and actions related to staged photography that lasted only a few years. In the late 1970s he was part of the Brno art scene, which operated outside the official institutions of the time. Ambroz’s work from this period erases difference between life and art, is open to conceptual tendencies and explores general civilizational themes while responding to the atmosphere of ascendant. The show will be installed by the artist himsel. Since almost no authentic photo enlargements of Ambroz’s activities have been preserved, they will be mostly presented through modern prints from original negatives. In addition to them, the exhibition will include a torso of the period exhibition, film documentation of performances and Ambroz’s work ‚Video Habitation’ of 1981 realized thirty-five years later.

The Reunion of Poetry and Philosophy, which will open in Prague City Gallery in February, will present two Chinese artists, Zhang Xiaogang and Wang Guangyi. They emerged in the 1980s when independent Chinese art was formed in unofficial circles in several epicenters based on fragmentary information from scarcely available materials on Western art. Lü Peng, who is the author of a synthetic work on contemporary Chinese art and a theorist dealing with several generations of Chinese artists, conceived of this exhibition as a juxtaposition of two lines that characterize the local development of visual thought. One of them draws from poetic and literary sources, and the other mainly from philosophical and socio-critical theses. In the work of both exhibiting artists, these lines will be represented by their current art, inspired to the large extent by the spiritual atmosphere of Prague.

At FUTURA you can now visit three solo exhibitions lasting till January 28. Adrian Kiss’ sculptural installation prepared specifically for the gallery develops on author’s interest in emotive formal vocabulary. Kiss builds structures based on formal elements abstracted from modern product design, that associates technology as dynamic, powerful, masculine, with elements that could be stereotypically perceived as rural, fragile or feminine. The Rooms by Karíma Al-Mukhtarová consists of installations playing with different cultural codes, characteristic for the artist. One can also see in her works some influence of Jiří Kovanda’s, who was Al-Mukhtarová’s teacher back in the day. Anders Grønlien’s exhibition focuses on the „language of nature” and it’s history. The early romantic image of nature as the world of spirit and symbols that a human revives for himself is hidden in every misty color spot. Many years ago, art was supposed to blend with nature in one, but instead, nature was exploited by western painting, just as nature had been transformed into resources in favor of a logic based on industrialisation and market. The early modern attempts to search for a new comprehensible allegory in the sense of the intuitably understood natural signs of the image have, in the recent art, been shown to be confident in the general comprehensibility of mass-spread commercial codes and corporate meaning formulas. Artists such as Anders Grønlien flee from this position to the vision of universally communicative sense of nature.

At MeetFactory the exhibition Amplified by the Stillness introduces in the Czech Republic a Berlin-based group of artists Das Numen, showing also original works by the group’s individual members. The exhibition is complemented by artworks of artist duo A/A (Andreas Greiner and Armin Keplinger). Das Numen group was founded by four artists: Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann and Felix Kiessling, still during their common studies at the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments) under the leadership of Olafur Eliasson. The group got together based on the artists’ shared interest in intense studies of spatial issues and biological systems. Next week MeetFactory will present a solo show of Gili Avissar. Grotesque masks followed by various disguises, and all kinds of patterns will create a rich and flashy installation. As curator Piotr Sikora says: „There is something pleasing yet obscene about it. It’s somewhat dirty, although not in a sexual sense.”

 

Estonia

Tallinn
Eesti Kunstimuuseum
Andres Tolts, Landscape with Still Life
November 24, 2017 – April 1, 2018

Tallinn Art Hall
Tõnis Saadoja, Studio
January 12 – February 11
Marge Monko, Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones
January 12 – February 11
The State is not a Work of Art
16 lutego – 29 kwietnia
13th Baltic Triennial
June 2018

In the first part of the year at Eesti Kunstimuuseum  you can see Andres Tolts’ retrospective. Tolts was one of the greatest radicals and conservatives of Estonian art. He was an artist and a designer who was interested in everyday reality as well as in the ability of art to organize that reality. Tolts treated everyday materials with aristocratic elegance, and searched for visual paradoxes in the surrounding environment. Tolts studied industrial art at the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR in 1968–1973. This was a time when a large portion of the fresh energy that entered the Estonian art scene came from design and architecture students. They were actively interested in the surrounding environment and wanted to know how an artist could influence and shape that environment. Leonhard Lapin, Ando Keskküla and Andres Tolts constituted the SOUP’69 group, which initiated a conceptual revolution in Estonian art in the late 1960s: instead of the mastery of a technique, they considered ideas to be of primary significance in creating art, and ideas could be expressed by using various means. From 1973 to 1980, Tolts edited and designed the magazine Kunst ja Kodu (Art and Home), which developed into a significant platform for new ideas in art and culture in the Soviet Union. The magazine covered topics related to art, design, and interior and environmental modelling, and built bridges across different eras and disciplines. In the 1980s, Tolts was one of the pioneers of postmodernism in Estonia, and he became an ardent follower of the principles of postmodernism.

Cristina Lucas, Vexilology, Italians (detail), 2017. 211 Photographs, each 18×24 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid

The Studio by Tõnis Saadoja at Tallinn Art Hall is an exposition comprised of four units and an attempt to lighten new paths in the artist’s developmental process. Saadoja, who seldom leaves his works unfinished, presents the viewer with (just as completed) laboratory experiments, a concentrated selection of his searches, which he describes as follows: “These are experiments, there is nothing irrevocable about them.” The Studio´s story started long before the exhibition itself and a review of his earlier works is helpful in understanding this exhibition. Marge Monko’s solo show titled Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones displays new video, photography and installation works that study the keywords used to construct femininity in commercial culture: beauty, desirability and fertility. Stones Against Diamonds, Diamonds Against Stones is a natural continuation to Monko’s work over the past couple of years and her interest in commercial design. Designs for shop windows and interiors often borrow elements from fine art as well as classical and modern architecture. Monko is interested in how companies have used these elements to create consumer desire and communicate exclusiveness. The State is Not a Work of Art, an international group exhibition curated by Katerina Gregos, will open in February as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Estonian independence. It aims to probe the complexities and problematics of the idea of a nation and national identity, examine the current volatile situation in light of the resurgence of nationalism and populism in Europe, and offer a more nuanced view of the issue, beyond the usual polarized rhetoric.

Hungary

Budapest
Hungarian National Gallery
Within Frames. The Art of the Sixties in Hungary (1958-1968)
November 17, 2017 – February 18, 2018

Ludwig Museum
Economize! On the Relationship of Art and Economy
October 13, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Ani Molnár Gallery
Issues of Uncertainty
December 15, 2017 – January 27, 2018

Within Frames exhibition at Hungarian National Gallery presents a comprehensive picture of Hungarian art between 1958 and 1968. Most of the showcased paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, books, posters and works of applied art are not included in permanent exhibitions and many of them had been concealed from the public for the five or six decades since they entered public collections. The show encompasses a period bracketed by two major historic events: the defeat of the 1956 Revolution in Hungary and the Prague Spring of 1968. Underlying this period was the notorious system of classifying cultural works (books, films, etc.), known as the ‘Three Ts’, standing for the Hungarian words (Tiltott, Tűrt, Támogatott) for “Forbidden”, “Tolerated” and “Supported”. The exhibition shows a period in which the previous decade’s socialist realist conventions marked by a false heroism and propagandistic depictions were still around but neo-avant-garde strivings aimed at provocatively addressing the true nature of reality were also awakening.

Economize! On the Relationship of Art and Economy in the Ludwig Museum focuses on the art market and financing of art. It’s goal is to provide a deep insight into issues such as the not so obvious role of profit-oriented and non-profit galleries in the art market. The other big topic is financing of art from a central budget and alternative solutions for maintaining art and art institutions.

The Ani Molnár Gallery inaugurated its new Budapest location with the opening of a group show entitled Issues of Uncertainty. It showcases different conceptual approaches to the issue of generally understood uncertainty and features works by such artists as Roman Uranjek, one of the founders of IRWIN group, Vadim Fishkin, and Dénes Farkas.

Carlos Aires, Your Money Stinks Like Mine Does, 2013, original banknotes, golden pins, wooden frame with gold leaf and antireflective museum glass, 35x70x6 cm, 3/5 + 2 artist’s copy
Photo courtesy of the artist

Latvia

Riga
Kim? Contemporary Art Centre
Orient. The “New East” Artists from the CEE region
April 13 – May 27
Dafna Maimon, Family business
April 13 – May 27

Latvian National Museum of Art
YOU’VE GOT 1243 UNREAD MESSAGES. Last Generation Before the Internet. Their Lives
December 8, 2017 – February 4, 2018
Synergy. Contemporary Trends in Metal Art and Design
December 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018
Vija Celmins. Eleven Works and a Film
January 30 – March 25

Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Portable Landscapes
April 27 – June 16

At Kim? a large group exhibition curated by Michal Novotny who runs FUTURA centre for contemporary art in Prague and is collaboration between Kim?, “BOZAR” Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, and Bunkier Sztuki gallery in Krakow will open this April. It will focus on the Cold War era and latter relations between the countries on the both sides of the Iron Courtain. At the same time Kim? will also present Dafna Maimon’s solo show that was presented for the first time in Berlin and will also travel to Helsinki, in each location reworked to have a dialogue with the local setting. It will focus on the artist’s family story and placing it in the broader framework. In 1985, Dafna Maimon’s father opened the first falafel and kebab restaurant in Finland; Orient Express. At the same time, the fast-food restaurant was for many immigrants a work place that provided them with the documents necessary to obtain a residence permit and a start of a new life in Finland. Some years ago, Maimon found a rather strange high-budget video ad from 1986, which her father had produced, and which used his own exoticness in a high paced narrative to market kebabs in Finland. Starting from this autobiographical material and video-relic, Maimon is conducting a micro historical research, in which the workings of memory, family roles and the effects of destructive patriarchal structures are analyzed and weaved into a world of parafiction, spanning over performance video and installation.

A cross-disciplinary exhibition YOU’VE GOT 1243 UNREAD MESSAGES. The Last Generation Before the Internet in the Latvian National Museum of Art deals with the recent past when the search for oneself and others took place in an analogue instead of a digital environment. It is the story of self-exploration and social networks in the last decades before the arrival of the Internet, told through a cross-disciplinary display of artworks next to a selection of quotidian forms of creativity: diaries and items from private archives, correspondence by mail or through underground channels of alternative communication. The interactions between the private and the public, between institutionalized art experiments and micro-historic testimonies of creative resistance by lay practitioners are highly topical in the age of digital reality and represent the focus of the exhibition. Synergy. Contemporary Trends in Metal Art and Design traces the current trends in the field, the artists’ working directions and creative endeavours for experimental and classical forms in jewellery art, objects and design, aiming to highlight peculiarities and specifics in synergy with the material, which can reveal itself in form, structure, rhythm, colour, light, visual, spatial and psychological perception of the object as well as the synthesis of various senses. It was motivated by the fact that there has been a lack of exhibitions that would popularise contemporary trends in metal art and provide a broader overview of the work of a group of artists engaged in this sphere. Starting January 30, the museum will showcase Vija Celmins’ retrospective. The artist uses an all-over approach covering the entire surface of the work with the image while the ‘full picture’ extends beyond the work of art, it has to be grasped with ‘the third eye’ or ‘the sixth sense’. The surface of the ocean, the starry sky, a spiderweb, the world map, the postage stamps with images of Saturn shown in the works in the collection of the LNMA can be seen as very boring images where nothing happens, but the essence lies in searching for differences, noticing nuances, the sharpening of the viewer’s attention, awareness.

Aia Bertrand with spear, Montfermeil, early 20th century. Courtesy: Duncan Collection

Portable Landscapes examines the stories of exiled and emigré Latvian artists, locating them within the broader context of 20th-century art history, and wider processes of migration and globalization. Focusing its attention on the major centres of the Latvian Diaspora – Paris, New York, (former) West Berlin and Gotland – the project is an attempt to relate individual stories of migration to a common network, as well as to create an understanding of our current situation that’s informed by these historical occurrences. From 2017 to 2019, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art works with a wide range of international institutions, researchers, curators and artists to create four satellite exhibitions in Paris, New York, Stockholm and Berlin and an exhibition that combines all the individual stories at the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga. Each show focuses on a personality or a group of people whose life and work reveal a specific period in the history of Latvia.

Lithuania

Vilnius
Vartai Gallery
Jurga Barilaite
January 16 – February 2
Jānis Avotiņš, Celebration
February 13 – March 23
Keren Cytter, Vytautas Virzbickas
April 11 – May 18
Louise Bourgeois, Maria Lassnig, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva
May 31 – July 28

National Gallery of Art
Deimantas Narkevičius, Stains and Scratches
December 28, 2017 – February 25, 2018
Oskar Hansen, Open Form
December 28, 2017 – February 25, 2018

Vartai Gallery will present a handful of solo shows and an interesting group exhibition in the first half of the year. Jurga Barilaite, whose show opened couple of days ago, studies the connection between body and ideology, contemplates about body transformations in limitary period, political and artistic pictures and their political context. It is a search for the identity models and archetypes, a research and self – modeling using eclectic psychedelic rituals. Artist’s and her generations’ youth and identity molding is closely connected with politics, political and cultural revolution which was experienced in the end of 90s’. In the Soviet times the announcement of the Lithuanian Republic independency symbolically coincided with artists’ adulthood age of 18, her formation and maturation with post – communist present. Solo exhibition Celebration by Latvian artist Jānis Avotiņš will include his dark, ghostly, photorealistic images sourced from forgotten antique photographs and Soviet-era media. The artist reduces them to hazy, isolated forms with an ephemeral quality. Avotins achieves his signature grainy, foggy effect by covering the lint-specked canvas with a thin imprimatura wash of dark oil paint. He leaves some areas of the canvas unshaded so the subjects appear luminous, or even solarized, mimicking the effects of the photographic printing processes used in his source material. In collaboration with embassy of Israel in Vilnius and Nagel Draxler gallery in Germany two solo exhibitions will be presented in Vartai in April: interdisciplinary exposition by well-known artist from Israel Keren Cytter and installations by young Lithuanian artist Vytautas Virzbickas. Cytter creates films, video installations, and drawings that represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling. Characterized by a non-linear, cyclical logic Cytter’s films consist of multiple layers of images; conversation; monologue, and narration systematically composed to undermine linguistic conventions and traditional interpretation schemata. Virzbickas’s works function as a conceptual reflection upon mechanisms that make up our contemporary social world-model which intertwines all of the following: power of information, modern culture, military geopolitics, consumption society as well as individual loneliness. He attempts to grasp the structures of these mechanisms, to synthesize and abstract them up to the specific symbols or meanings. Spring’s highlight at the gallery will be a group show of three famous female artists: Louise Bourgeois, Maria Lassnig, and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. Understanding the aesthetic, historical and cultural value of the Bourgeois, Lassnig and Vieira da Silva artworks, the initiators of this project aim to show this exhibition in different cities, namely Lisbon, Vienna, Vilnius, Paris and/or New York. Although all three artists are mostly known for their sculptures, paintings or installations, the Austrian curator Amer Abbas also suggests taking a closer look at their drawings. The reason behind the idea is that for all of them drawing served as a medium to express their innermost ideas and feelings. Its convenience allows it to function as a diary, which reflects artistic ambition, vision as well as personal, intimate experiences.

Video installations of new films by one of them most famous Lithuanian contemporary artists Deimantas Narkevičius are presented in the National Gallery of Art. They include a new film Stains and Scratches, evoking the staging the Vilnius student world of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber at the beginning of the 1970s, a significant albeit not very well-known event in Soviet-era alternative culture; and the 2016 film 07.20.2015, documenting the dismantling of the Soviet sculptures from the Green Bridge in Vilnius. These and the older films in the show critically address the friction between the personal and collective memory and the present, and the politicization of relations with monuments that perpetuate collective memories. The title of the exhibition draws attention to both the visible material traces of time imprinted in and transmitted by old celluloid and other works of art, and to the stains and scratches in our self-awareness. The other exhibition at The National Gallery, Okar Hansen’s Open Form, showcases various aspects of the title theory, the basis of the architectural, artistic and pedagogical practice of Oskar Hansen, a Polish architect of Norwegian descent, who spent his youth in Vilnius. It presents various areas and scales of artistic and architectural activity where Open Form has been applied: from exhibition design, and temporary pavilions, monuments and housing estates designed together with his wife, the architect Zofia Hansen, to the Linear Continuous System, a project to establish decentralised cities running throughout Poland and the European continent.

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

13th Baltic Triennial, Give Up the Ghost
CAC Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn
Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga
May – September 2018

RIBOCA1 – Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art
June 2 – October 28

Survival Kit 10, Riga
September 6–27

For the first time, the Baltic Triennial will take place in the three Baltic countries. Opening at the CAC in Vilnius, Lithuania in May 2018, June 2018 at Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia, and September 2018 at Kim? Riga, Latvia. The three distinct exhibitions act as different chapters to form the Triennial. One of the most important starting points for the conception of the Triennial is its poetry section, a crucial part of the project. The Baltic Triennial 13, curated by Vincent Honoré, considers poetry as a bastard language, escaping normative linguistic categories and refusing appropriation from the standard exchange system by instituting itself as a transient form, at once dramatically individualist and profoundly collective.

The first edition of the new Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) will launch at June. It’s meant to set up a new global platform for international and Baltic artists, to promote contemporary art and provide educational and community support within the region, as well as to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world. It’s title, Everything Was Forever, Until it Was No More, is borrowed from Alexei Yurchak’s book of the same name. Yurchak discusses the collapse of the Soviet Union and one particular characteristic that defined it: the sense that although the Soviet system was felt to be permanent and immutable, its demise was at the same time perceived as completely natural. The shock of being thrust into a new order came only later. The title of his book suggests the slippery nature of change, the fact that what might seem eternal can suddenly come to an end. He calls this a case of ‘fast-forwarded history’. The title of Yurchak’s book resonates in the entire post-Soviet sphere, the Baltic states included; but it can also be seen as a potent metaphor for our own era.

In 2018 the largest annual contemporary art event in the Baltics SURVIVAL KIT will celebrate its 10th anniversary which is planned as a large scale program of exhibitions, performances and discorsive events in two parts – September 2018 and May 2019. The theme of the festival is Outland questioning the traditional division of the geopolitical and cultural space in center and perrifery. Outland is not always geographically marginal, it can be any territory which has a difficult political or economical situation that makes it harder to reach both in direct and figurative sense. Through the notion of Outland the festival will focus on the global migration questions that have actualized many questions of racism, growing far-right nationalism, intolerance towards the different.

 

Poland

Warsaw
Museum of Modern Art
Edi Hila, Painter of Transformation
March 2 – May 6

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
Koji Kamoji
June – August

Foksal Gallery Foundation
Paulina Ołowska, Amoresques: An Intellectual Cocktail of Female Erotica
January 26 – March 30

Edi Hila, Boulevard 4, 2015, oil, canvas, 120 x 120 cm. Photo: Piotr Bednarski © Edi Hila

In March Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw will present the first retrospective of the Albanian painter Edi Hila. His art is deeply rooted in classical culture, although during his studies in the 1960s Hila experimented with deformation. In 1972 he painted Planting Trees, a pleasant picture rendered slightly unreal through the use of colours. It turned out to be enough to send him to a re-education camp because it departed from the social realist doctrine. In the 1990s, seeking his own path back to painting, Hila carefully observed life evolving after the fall of the Hoxha regime and tried to depict the realities of social transformation, which is the main focus of the upcoming exhibition.

Japanese artist Koji Kamoji lives in Poland since 60s but there was still no proper retrospective of his work there. The first one will be prepared by Zachęta – National Gallery of Art this June. It will showcase Kamoji’s paintings, drawings, installation and sculptures. It will encompass the whole array of motifs used by the artists, characterized by minimalist, almost ascetic approach to form as well as haiku-like sense of poetry.

First new solo show of Paulina Ołowska in Poland since couple of years will open at Foksal Gallery Foundation next week. Amoresques: An Intellectual Cocktail of Female Erotica will showcase Ołowska’s work along with vintage erotic drawings by Maja Berezowska selected by the artist. The show will be also accompanied by couple of screenings–including erotic films by Maria Beatty and Sylvere Lotringer–and lectures, held among others by Alison M. GIngeras.

Russia

Moscow
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Bidding for Glasnost: Sotheby’s 1988 Auction in Moscow
January 23 – February 28
If our soup can could speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties
March 7 – May 13
The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s
March 17 – May 9
Viacheslav Koleichuk, Atom 1967/2018
March 17 – August 26
Andro Wekua, Dolphin in the Fountain
March 17 – May 21

Bidding for Glasnost: Sotheby’s 1988 Auction in Moscow in Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, opening this month, will focus on the most controversial art event of the Soviet era. Initiated by auctioneer Simon de Pury, more than 100 lots of avant-garde and “unofficial” contemporary works were offered to international collectors flown in especially for the event, watched over by incredulous local artists and intelligentsia, who were not permitted to bid under the legislation of the time. It will feature video footage of the full sale led by Simon de Pury; new interviews with the organizers and ten of the participating artists; a virtual reality installation; press reviews and archival documents, and a number of original lots from the 1988 sale. If our soup can could speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties, opening in March, celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the scandalous publication, in 1968, of The Crisis of Ugliness by Soviet philosopher and art critic Mikhail Lifshitz. It was was an anthology of polemical texts against Cubism and Pop Art. The exhibition is a result of a three-year Garage Field Research project, trying to re-explore the vexed relations between progressive art and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries taking Lifshitz’s book and other related writings as a starting point. The travelling exhibition The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s will be shown in Moscow the same month. It will be the first major exhibition in Russia to survey a moment when the trajectories of the Central and Eastern European art scenes and their Latin American counterparts converged in the shared enthusiasm for Kinetic and Op Art. It will be also accompanied by the presentation of one of the key works in the history of Russian kinetic art– Atom by Viacheslav Koleichuk, originally commissioned by the Institute of Nuclear Energy and constructed in 1967. In March Garage will also present the first solo show by Andro Wekua in Russia. Dolphin in the Fountain. It will showcase video, paintings and sculptures.

Romania

Bucharest
MNAC – Muzeul National de Arta Contemporana
Ion Bitzan, The Prioners of the Avant-Garde
November 23, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Wanda Mihuleac, Contextualizations
November 23, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Gheorghe Rasovszky, abNORMAL
November 23, 2017 – April 1, 2018

The National Museum of Contemporary Art has now three major exhibitions on view till April. The Prioners of the Avant-Garde is a Ion Bitzan’s retrospective trying to shed light on a period full of nuances and shadows, when artistic innovation and political art co-existed in a complicated relation. Bitzan developed a body of work that can be ascribed to international conceptualism and minimalism. His career was highlighted by participations to the most important international Biennales of the time, and his works are in the collection of prestigious institution. In contrast to other colleagues who later either emigrated, or adopted formulas insulating them from politics, Ion Bitzan devised a different strategy. Parallel to his research into the history of international experimental art, and a subsequent production of almost 700 works, Bitzan also produced works commissioned by and dedicated to the Communist Party and its leader. The other retrospective is devoted to Wanda Mihuleac, one of the most inventive and dynamic figures of the Romanian artistic scene of the 70s and the 80s. It showcases monumental ensembles, series of ecological projects, conceptual interventions and also of her collaborations with Romanian writers, experimental music composers and choreographers. The last show is dedicated to Gheorghe Rasovszky and presents a selection of works from 1970 to 2017. Rasovszky’s vast artistic output consists of drawing, collage, mixed media works, painting, photography, video works and installation. Known mostly as a member of the 80s Generation, Rasovszky is nevertheless hard to frame inside a style or an artistic movement.

Wanda Mihuleac, Untitled, 1980, b/w photography, 30 x 20 cm, Photo: Eugeniu Lupu, courtesy of the artist.

Slovakia

Bratislava
Kunsthalle Bratislava
Tomáš Rafa, New Nationalisms in the Heart of Europe 2009 – 2017
February 15 – April 15
Ilona Németh, ‚Eastern Sugar’
April 12 – July 15

tranzit.sk
Invisible Museum
November 29, 2017 – January 27, 2018

The first new exhibition to be opened this year at Kunsthalle Bratislava is a solo show of the Slovak artist Tomáš Rafa. New Nationalisms in the Heart of Europe 2009 – 2017, as title suggest, is a vast project that Rafa is developing for almost ten years now, focusing on documenting and analyzing a rise of nationalism in the Central European countries in the last decade. At April Kunsthalle will present a solo exhibition of Ilona Németh. Eastern Sugar departs from the Central European sugar industry, following its history from a prosperous economic activity to a site of decay and human frustration.

Slovakian tranzit now holds a show entitled Invisible Museum. This exhibition is part of the project Collecting, curating and presenting Roma culture implemented in cooperation with the Goethe Institut Bratislava and the Spolka Collective. It takes a form of installation of the same name assembled by Oto Hudec, which is an open vision for an alternative museum that would museum that would offer more than the traditional ethnographic view and would instead focus on contemporary Roma culture, their current social and political situation as well as their history. The deliberations, dialogues and plans of the Invisible Museum represent an open vision of a fluid institution that collects works and archive documents, carries out field research, links the academic world and the world of Roma in the regions and disseminates its results through community activities.

Ukraine

Kiev
PinchukArtCentre
PinchukArtCentre Prize 2018 exhibition
February – May 2018

Shcherbenko Art Centre
Mykola Kryvenko, Some Miracles
January 30 – March 3

Exhibition of 20 artists shortlisted for the PinchukArtCentre Prize 2018 will be the major show in PinchukArtCentre this winter and spring. The winners of the Prize will be announced at the award ceremony in March 2018, among them this year are: Sasha Kurmaz, Ekaterina Yermolaeva, Iuliia Kryvych, and Roman Mikhaylov.

The first exhibition opening in 2018 at Shcherbenko Art Centre will be Some Miracles by Ukrainian artist Mykola Kryvenko. The exposition will include paintings created between 2009 and 2016 along with wooden and bronze sculptures. This combination will be supplemented with graphics from late 1980s. Kryvenko is an artist born in 1950 and regarded mainly as a minimalist, although featured works form the 80s are made of nature.

Imprint

See also