SMArt Talks

Post-Communist  Art  in  Post-Communist  Europe

Magdalena Radomska

5. 12. 2023
Hans Belting Library

Magdalena Radomska is Post-Marxist art historian and historian of philosophy, Assistant Professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She holds a PhD in art history, and has received scholarships at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest and at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

She was a director and lecturer of the course Writing Humanities after the Fall of Communism in 2009 at Central European University in Budapest. In 2013 her book The Politics of Movements of Hungarian Neoavantgarde (1966-80) was published. Radomska received Getty Foundation Grant (Connecting Art Histories ) for the project ‘1989 as War and Revolution’ (2022), she has been Polish director of Visegrad Grant – ‘Resonances: Regional and Transregional Cultural Transfer in the Art of the 1970’, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (from 2020), has been partner  of Visegrad Grant on ‘Contemporary art in Middle Europe’. She received research grant at MSU in Zagreb. She was also Polish director of Visegrad Grant ‘Long Sixties’, Ludwig Muzeum, Budapest (2013).

Recently Radomska has co-editedbook ‚Horizontal Art History and Beyond Revising Peripheral Critical Practices’, Jakubowska Agata, Radomska Magdalena (ed.), Routledge 2022. She is also editor of book ‚After Piotr Piotrowski : Art, Democracy and Friendship’, Jakubowska Agata, Radomska Magdalena (ed.), Poznań 2020, andWork for small change Praca za/na drobne’ ,Radomska Magdalena (ed.), Warsaw 2018. Her recent publications include: ‚What Isn’t Orthodox Horizontal Art History’, in:Umeni 2/2021; Working in the Twice-mined Semantic Minefield: The Politics of Hungarian Neo-avant-garde Movements, in: Art in Hungary 1956-1980 Doublespeak and Beyond / Turai Hedvig, Sasvari Edit, Sandor Hornyik (red.), 2018, Thames&Hudson; Drawn from Communism: Anti-Capitalist Drawing from Central-Eastern Europe, in: A Companion to Contemporary Drawing / Chorpening Kelly , Fortnum Rebecca, Arnold Dana (ed.), Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History, 2020.

Currently Radomska is engaged in a research on the Post-Communist art in Post-Communist Europe (grant received from the National Science Center) and criticism of capitalism in art (book: he Plural Subject: Art and Crisis after 2008) and – as her second PhD – she is writing a monograph on Post-Marxism. She is a member of both Polish and Hungarian AICA and editor of magazine Czas Kultury. She is board member of magazine Sztuka I Dokumentacja. Radomska is a founder and a head of Piotr Piotrowski Center for Research On East-Central European Art.

Post-Communist  Art  in  Post-Communist  Europe

The  process  of  transformation  has  led  formerly  communist  Europe  to  lose  its  collective identity in favor of stable and conflicting national identities. This lecture is an attempt to break down the isolation of individual, national art histories, abandoning also the concepts of memory, or nostalgia, which are key from the point of view of Western art history. It is going to demonstrate quite different attitude to the narrative on transition, tprovoking  a  theoretical  discussion  of  post-1989  art  in  formerly  communist  Europe,  the category  of  post-communism,  and  the  ways  in  which  the  category  of  transformation functions in art. Its effect is the development of new theoretical proposals – one in which the  initial  and  target  poles  of  transformation  (understood  as  totalitarian)  are  redefined, and their binary relationship is problematized as centered on the narratives dominant in the  1990s  in  the  various  Eastern  European  countries  (such  as  feminism,  critical  art, performative turn), pointing out an important shortcoming – the failure to place artists‘ works emerging at the time in the context of transformative processes and changes. The  result  is  an  entirely  new image  of  art  in  post-communist  Europe.  This  picture,  too,  is  diverse,  but  –  without ignoring political and economic nuances – it allows the region’s history to be told through contemporary art. Here I have constructed a narrative that will allow contemporary art in post-communist  Europe  to  be  included  in  the  global  story  on  an  equal  footing  –  taking into account the specifics of the region, without the impression that we are dealing with the province of the West. The lecture will demonstrate a wide range of works that are result of the several years of research in Belgrade,  Bratislava,  Budapest,  Bucharest,  Kiev,  Minsk, Moscow,  Prague,  Riga,  Sarajevo,  Tallinn,  Tirana,  Warsaw,  Vilnius,  and  Zagreb that undermines the well -established narratives on the art from Post-Communist Europe.

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