Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vernissage in Bucharest

22 Dec 2008, 12:00

Muzeul Naţional de Artă Contemporană,
Galeria Etaj 3/4, Teatrul Naţional Bucureşti,
Bd. N Bălcescu nr. 2

22 Dec 2008 – 18 Jan 2009
Thursday-Sunday 10am -6pm
Admission free

“The Romanian dream in its very raw shape”

For Vlad Nancă the House of the People in Bucharest, Ceauşescu’s former palace, is a building that represents the trauma of an entire population. So he, a child of the 1989 Central Eastern European revolutions, proposed to add some cupolas and crosses to it in order to turn it into the cathedral of national redemption a lot of people apparently crave for in contemporary Romania.

Vlad would have liked to see the feeling grow that the palace, which was build on the blood and tears of so many of his compatriots, is symbolically given back to the people. Albeit decisions were taken in a different way, Vlad never tires to think about and voice new cultural expression in public space. Find out about his art, which he creates in recurrent personal trips to the past.

Part 1
and Part 2 of the interview by Barbara Lubich.

how project artists discuss the exhibition in Bucharest.

the report of the project visit to Bucharest in December 2007.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

OVERcoming DICTatorships in Cracow

24 November at 12:00

Gallery U Frycza
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University College (KSW),
ul. Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego 1, Building B
PL-30-705 Cracow

24 Nov - 14 Dec 2008
Weekdays 8am -9 pm, weekends 8am-8pm
Admission free.
Information on previous exhibitions.

After having presented a selection of its literary and artist approaches to the heritage of totalitarian dictatorships already in November 2007 Overcoming Dictatorships now returns with its exhibition to Cracow. This is not the only representation of the project's artists in Poland: Sándor Pinczehelyi (Pécs) took part in Mediations Biennale 2008, the first international bi-annual contemporary art exhibition in Poznań.

It seems a happy coincidence that the patron of our Polish partner university - Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski (1503-1572), a Polish gentryman and theologian of reformatory and ecumenical orientations - also took part in the Council of Trent, where our project was hosted in May 2008 (see the report). Founded in 2000, KSW offers its students an interdisciplinary approach of economics, languages and culture based on diverse international cooperation in order to prepare them for the modern challenges posed by the processes of globalisation.

Contact Agata Krawiec for more information.

Monday, November 17, 2008

“I was attracted by the pictures you would never find in the press"

It not only seems to be a landmark of Berlin, Germany and even Europe, but also a signifier of human lives: the Brandenburg Gate. Photographer Harald Hauswald has been attracted by it from an early stage on, and has now also centred his contribution to the OVERcoming DICTatorships exhibition on it. “At school we had compulsory civics, what the people called “Red Light Radiotherapy”. Once I asked our teacher about a famous photo, taken during the time when the wall was being built. I wanted to know why the Combat Groups of the Working Class at Brandenburg Gate turned their backs on the West. I could not understand why they were aiming their guns towards the East. Officially they were supposed to protect us against the class enemy. But if this had been true, they would have been facing the other way. How come they were presenting their backsides to the class enemy?”

For him Photography was a way to virtually escape from the feeling of confinement which terrified him in the German Democratic Republic. He used it as an opportunity to fully develop his personality and skills in spite of and against the off-the-shelf lifestyle imposed by real socialist authorities. That is why in 1989 he saw himself much better prepared for the tough sides of capitalist dog-eat-dog society than a considerable number of East Germans who had actually enjoyed and accepted the regime’s general policy of directing people through life and who only resented its specific impotence to live up to its pretensions. From the late 1970s onwards Hauswald had opened his eyes and lenses to the back side of the East German capital’s social reality of “people rooting in rubbish bins, and punks and hooligans” which was consciously underexposed in the official media.

Harald Hauswald, who currently has two exhibtions on the myth of Eastern Europe and football hooligans on display in Berlin, was interviewed by Barbara Lubich on his personal way through real socialism and beyond. Learn about an exciting drift of a young tramp yearning for Led Zeppelin, catapulted by love from the provinces to the capital and opposing the system just by his desire to live. Click here to see the video.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Exhibition programme in Birmingham

Lunchtime Lecture Series

Tuesday 28 October, Aston Webb Rotunda, 1-2pm

Hannah Arendt: Politics and ‘Dark Times’
Dr Steve Buckler- Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham

The lecture will examine the work of the German political theorist Hannah Arendt who made an influential contribution to the study of totalitarianism and who developed a distinctive conception of politics that was intended as a response to the vulnerability to oppression that we experience in ‘dark times’.

Click here to get information on the Series.

Film Screenings

Wednesday 29.10.08, The Rainbow, 160 High Street,
Digbeth, 7 pm

La Vita è bella, (Life is Beautiful) Italy 1999

Winner of three academy awards Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Dramatic Score. A moving and poignant tale of one father's sacrifice to save not just his young son's life but his innocence. This is the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice who comes to the Tuscan town of Arezzo in 1939. He falls in love with Dora, a beautiful young schoolteacher and a fairytale romance ensues. Several years later the occasional bigotries Guido once ignored have become Racial Laws. Throughout it all, he determines to shield his son from the brutal reality governing their lives.

This determination becomes a matter of life and death when Guido and his son are sent to a concentration camp three months before the war’s end. Of her own accord Dora deports herself on the same train. Now, in this unimaginable world, Guido must use his bold imagination and every ounce of his indefatigable spirit to save those he loves.

See the full programme here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

“The arts of freedom, of diversity and pluralism prove to be stronger”

Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition, 1983-92 and UK Commissioner of the EU, 1995-2004, honoured the exhibition of Overcoming Dictatorships by giving a brilliant speech during the opening at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham on 9 Oct 2008.

Lord Kinnock and exhibition convener Dr. Dr. Jutta Vinzent during the reception

In the face of absolutely ruthless oppression, Lord Kinnock told his audience, “people have to resort to other means of trying to resist the dictatorship of the intellect, the occupation of the mind, the colonization of the conscience; and that is why arts are vital components, vital means and vital vehicles of freedom.”
Compared to the arts poetry or prose are rather risky endeavours. “Because you write it down what you think and it’s going to be retained. Words mean what words say. If the censor catches you in the trap or somebody betrays, then the results can be and have been devastating.” In his view the still many dictatorships of the world today painfully prove it.

Lord Kinnock pointed out that music has the protest most of the time through metaphor and through allegory. That may impede its accessibility. As soon as people start to sing freedom songs, the best thing that will happen to them is to be locked up, he warned. It is more likely that their fingers are going to be smashed in public, as it happened to Chilean guitarist Victor Hara before he was shot by the henchmen of Pinochet. It is in this way that we have to understand a genius composer like Dmitri Shostakovich who, while expressing his hopes and protests in remarkable symphonies, “changed his tune into a nice martial march that even a bloody idiot like Stalin could enjoy.”

The great thing about art is that throughout the centuries there have been innumerable artists who have used their creativity to attack absolutism and tyranny. “When challenged by the censor they can say: ‘Oh, you overinterpret that. I didn’t mean that at all! Oh no, that’s not an expressive blackness, that’s a shadow.’ And that means that quite a lot of them managed to stay out of jail. That’s why visual arts are such a glorious declaration of a liberty of conscience and thought. They don’t just speak for the artist, but they allow others to congregate around them.”

Lord Kinnock’s visit to Birmingham was reported by the Birmingham Post. For detailed information read also the project report. The exhibition will continue to be on display at The Rotunda Gallery of Aston Webb Building at the University of Birmingham (Mon – Fri, 10 am-5pm; closed weekends, admission free) until 9 November 2008.

Exhibition catalogue published

Jutta Vinzent, OVERcoming DICTatorships. Contemporary East and West European Visual Inquiries, Bielefeld: Kerber Verlag, 2008.

How do artists who experienced the challenging changes relate to the year 1989 and the then forced or enabled ideological migration caused by collective political-economic upheavals respond visually to their own specific ‘locations’?

Applying concepts which have been developed for and amply applied to physical migration, the works in question will be explored as signifiers of ideological dislocations and relocations experienced in terms of both the past (through processes of mourning and remembering and attempts at overcoming) and the present (critical approach to the ideology of the Western art market, the new political government and Europe), thus neglecting a mainly object-oriented formalist and aesthetic analysis as well as psychoanalytical methodologies and putting issues related to Postcolonialism
to the fore. It also only touches on gender issues, because this valuable topic deserves treatment in its own right.

The variety of the individual artist’s responses on the one hand and the relatively small number of art works explored on the other hand defy any attempt to subsume their individualities into a ‘grande narrative’ or as the start of a new ‘democratic’ history of longue durée, as if they simply could be incorporated into old, existing Western categories as markers of the latter’s superiority and longevity. On the contrary, the works discussed revolt against new communal enclaves and rather represent attempts of individuals to overcome given collective identity formations and to question both the political past, the EU and Western democracies.

Dr. Dr. Jutta Vinzent , exhibition convener of Overcoming Dictatorships, is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at the University of Birmingham.

Purchase the exhibition catalogue now in selected bookstores, online and during the touring exhibition.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Inside OVERcoming DICTatorships

Film Documentary by Barbara Lubich

One of the unique features of Overcoming Dictatorships is its combination of literary, visual and scientific explorations, which opens up various levels of reflection. Throughout the last two years authors read their pieces, artists presented sculptures and paintings, and academics explored the historical context. During workshops they came together in order to share experiences and find appropriate ways to present them to a European public.

We now offer you yet another level of reflection. The film documentary by Barbara Lubich is not only a mirror of project events, but rather a treasure chest filled with magic insights into discussions and intimate personal stories. You can see Hungarian artist Sándor Pinczehelyi confront his works from the 1970s, which he had increasingly rejected over the years because – as he himself put it – “they have been quoted so many times.” Zsófia Balla describes the dire personal consequences of political decisions and explains how poetry helped her to cope with her experiences in Ceauşescu’s Romania. And Venetian painter Silvestro Lodi reappropriates the tailoring patterns of his granddad in order to form his own artistic style.

Learn more about what happens when artists are invited to individually present, discuss and integrate their work into the creative process. What may happen if the formation of an exhibition is not impaired by curating along political, economic or aesthetic lines, but influenced by debates of artists?

See OVERcoming DICTatorships – the last chapter.

The complete film documentary will be on display in participating galleries. Trailers will be presented online while the exhibition proceeds from station to station. For more information contact director Barbara Lubich and project coordinator Gert Röhrborn.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Round-table discussion

8 October, 6.30 p.m., Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (admission free)

A round-table discussion with artists participating in the Overcoming Dictatorships exhibition will be held at the internationally renowned Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK on 8 October, 6.30 p.m. (admission free). Chaired by the Ikon curator Nigel Prince, it will focus on up-and-coming contemporary art groups in post-Communist countries and draw parallels with the situation immediately after 1989, when the former underground art replaced the official.

Participating artists in the round-table discussion:

German photographer Harald Hauswald (,

Venice-based painter Silvestro Lodi (,

Romanian artist Vlad Nanca (, and

the Hungarian artist Sándor Pinczehelyi.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Exhibition: Overcoming Dictatorships
9 Oct. – 9 Nov. 2008
The Rotunda Gallery, Aston Webb Building,
The University of Birmingham
Mon – Fri, 10 am-5pm; closed weekends
Admission Free

Round table discussion
with participating artists of Overcoming Dictatorships
chaired by Nigel Prince
8 Oct. 2008, 6.30pm
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindley Place,
Birmingham, B1 2HS
0121 248 0708
No booking required

Roles of the Visual in Overcoming Dictatorships
Conference on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition Overcoming Dictatorships
9 Oct. 2008, 9am - 4pm
Department of History of Art, The University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
Programme and Booking Information

Friday, September 12, 2008

Overcoming Dictatorships Touring Exhibition

The Rotunda Gallery,
Aston Webb Building,
University of Birmingham,
9 Oct.-9 Nov. 2008
(weekdays, 10-5; admission free)

The exhibition explores art produced in response to the collapse of political authoritarian systems, particularly those of the Soviet bloc in 1989. It aims to create a dialogue on post-dictatorial experiences among participants from countries designated as ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ Europe. The 17 works deal with processes of mourning, remembering and overcoming the past. They critique old collective identity formations (i.e. the Soviet bloc, National Socialism and Fascism), questioning western political and socio-economic uniformities (including the EU) and critically engage with ‘new’ dictatorships such as consumerism, globalisation and mass media. Overcoming Dictatorships aims to challenge compartmentalised thinking and thus attempts to overcome authoritarian systems.

Starting in Birmingham, where the exhibition will be opened by Professor Dr. Dr. Gerhard Besier (Chair in European Studies, Technische Universität, Dresden and main investigator of the project which this exhibition is part of), Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock (Leader of the Opposition, 1983-92 and UK Commissioner of the EU, 1995-2004) and Professor Michael Sterling (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham), this exhibition will travel to galleries in several European countries.

Artists participating in the exhibition:
Zbynĕk Benýšek - Zbigniew Czop - Mirela Dauceanu - Ulf Göpfert - Harald Hauswald - Silvestro Lodi - Vlad Nancă - Sándor Pinczehelyi - Michele Zaggia - Aleksander Zyśko.

Galleries presenting the exhibition:
Gallery U Frycza at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University College, Cracow
(24 Nov.-14 Dec. 2008); “The Gallery 3/4 of The National Museum of Contemporary Art at the “Ion Luca Caragiale” National Theatre, Bucharest”, Bucharest (22 Dec 2008.-18 Jan. 2009); Open Society Archives Gallery, Budapest (24 Jan.-8 Feb. 2009); Gallery Torre Mirana, Trent (14 Feb.-8 Mar. 2009); Gallery Castle Dečin, Dečin (13 Mar.-31 Mar. 2009); Town Hall City of Dresden, Dresden (06 Apr.-26 Apr. 2009)

The exhibition is part of the EU-funded project (scheme: Culture 2000) on ‘Overcoming Dictatorships – the Encounter of Poets, Artists and Writers’ (main investigator/lead partner: Prof. Dr. Dr. Gerhard Besier, Chair in European Studies, Technische Universität, Dresden).

For further information about the exhibition see here.

Roles of the Visual in Overcoming Dictatorships

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, 9 Oct. 2008, 9-4

The conference (organised to mark the opening of the exhibition Overcoming Dictatorships, Aston Webb Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 9 Oct.-9 Nov. 2008) will explore the intersections of the visual arts in mediating the political, socio-economic and cultural changes in post-dictatorial societies and the impact of such changes on cultural production. It brings together a select group of speakers whose research explores aspects of overcoming totalitarian and authoritarian systems in different disciplines but with a focus on the visual arts (and an emphasis on the period since 1989).

Dr. Sue Malvern (University of Reading) will examine works by women artists in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia and their legacies of feminism and dissidence in post-Communist Europe, while Maja Fowkes (UCL) and Dr. Reuben Fowkes (Manchester Metropolitan University and initiators of SocialEast Forum) will explore the reluctance to deal with live political questions through the case of Hungarian artist Csaba Nemes, asking whether it reflects more the legacy of local (art) histories or the newly-adopted rules of a politically acquiescent international art system. Dr. Rose Whyman (University of Birmingham) will consider trends in counter-culture art since the 1990s in Russia and Prof. Brandon Taylor (University of Southampton) will discuss the artistic culture of the British monarchy in recent decades to locate the ‘Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie’. The concluding panel discussion will be chaired by Prof. Cillian Ryan (University of Birmingham).

The conference will be preceded by a round-table discussion with artists participating in the Overcoming Dictatorships exhibition (8 October 2008, 18.30, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham). Chaired by the off-site curator of the Ikon Gallery Helen Legg, it will focus on up and coming contemporary art groups in post-Communist countries and draw parallels with the situation immediately after 1989, when the former underground art replaced the official

For further information about the conference

see the programme and booking form
contact Press and Marketing

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Harald Hauswald and the other face of the GDR

Life in the German Democratic Republic had two faces. One modeled and promoted by the government, and a second one, which many claim to be the real one. Information on the mood of the population and the general living conditions was classified top secret. If someone wanted to show what he deemed to call the real face of the country, s/he would suffer from libel and slander, discrimination and persecution.

One of those people was Harald Hauswald, who remained true to his artistic principles of depicting the country and its citizens in its actual condition. On his photographs people tend to look lonely and exhausted, cities appear grey and deserted. State authorities labeled him a provocateur and a public enemy because he did not refrain from publishing his pictures in West German journals like Stern, taz or GEO. In its operations State Security Service nicknamed him “Radfahrer” (Biker).

Taking Hauswald’s case as an example Marc Thümmler in his film “Radfahrer” tries to show us how the authorities tried to suppress dissenting voices and alternative perspectives. The film is also a retrospective demonstration of how deeply rooted Hauswald’s photography was in the reality of life in the GDR. Viewers are confronted with a sequence of photographs which is contrasted with Stasi files read from the off by Klaus Wiesinger. It is not only the obvious content which makes this film worth watching; some might recognize its remarkable quality to be understood as a parable on how different our perception and judgment of reality can be, according to which senses we rely on.


10 May to 14 May at Tilsiter Lichtspiele (18:00)

1 August, 22 August at Free University Berlin (14:00)

13 September at Samariterkirche Berlin-Friedrichshain.

See a recent interpretation of Hauswald's oeuvre as part of "Ideological locations and dis-locations" (by Jutta Vinzent).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Present tensions. European writers on overcoming dictatorships

A literary anthology of the same title (eds. Kristina Kaiserová/Gert Röhrborn, Budapest:CEU Press 2008) will be presented at the Municipal Library in Trent, Italy on 9 May 2008, 17:30.

The volume is an intersection of literary works on the question of how dictatorships are overcome. The range of generations, European countries of origin and artistic directions that are represented serves both an advantage and a challenge reflected by this anthology. A considerable variety of motivations drove the participating poets and writers: such as putting into words a contemporary biography of persecution, the descendant’s feeling of personal historical responsibility, or the artistic curiosity of the “outsider”. The anthology is dedicated to the imaginative power of literature, and to Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe in particular. The formerly multicultural setting of these countries suffered the most from European dictatorships and their insufficiently processed legacies. The cultural transfer exhibited here will help reduce prejudices and promote new forms of understanding with Western Europe: it aims to further a diversified but common European culture.

The presentation will included readings by project writers Lutz Rathenow (Berlin), Gabriel Chifu (Bucharest) and Alessandro Tamburini (Trent). It is followed by an international conference on "Intellectuals and Dictatorship: A Comparative Perspective 1922-1990", organised by Prof. Gustavo Corni of Dipartimento di Scienze Umane e Sociali, Università di Trento on 10 May 2008, 09:00-18:00. For further information see the press coverage and the programme.

Organised with financial support of the European Commission and Università di Trento.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lost in Transformation

„What is wrong with Ukraine then, a country which is seen as synonymous with a permanent crisis of state, chaos and a mutual blockage of political forces today?,“ Robert Baag has asked recently on German broadcasting station Deutschlandfunk.

Based on various field study trips in the country Wolfgang Templin, former guest of the project Overcoming Dictatorships, tried to give a conclusive answer to this eminent question during a public presentation of his book Farbenspiele – die Ukraine nach der Revolution in Orange (2nd amended edition, Osnabrück: fibre, 2008) at Herbert-Wehner-Bildungswerk in Dresden on 6 May 2008, 18:00. In his introduction political scientist Jakob Lempp (Dresden Technical University) informed the audience about the shortcomings of scientific monitoring of the country’s development. Lempp warned against the potential social and institutional pillarization of the political divisions that characterize the still ongoing transformation process. Jammed between the rocketing Baltic States and authoritarian rule in Belarus – and faced with blurry perspectives of EU accession at best – experts refrain from elaborated forecasts on the issue. Therefore Templin’s accounts are extremely welcome to add flesh to bones of analyses.

Templin started out from the neighbourhood perspective, too. The past and present of Poland and Russia is deeply intertwined with the country’s fate. Whereas Poland has apparently overcome its grief over the loss of Galicia and its centre Lemberg and developed into a devoted European ambassador for Ukraine, the relations to Russia still suffer from the latter’s imperial ambitions. Templin chose the well-known protagonists Viktor Yushchenko (President), Yulia Timoshenko (Prime Minister) and Viktor Yanukovych (ex-Premier) to present the diversity of biographies, economic interests and cultural amalgamations which were the results of the wild and early years of transformation.

Templin referred to the influence which numerous Ukrainian dissidents detained in the Soviet Gulag system had on later intellectuals and reformers. In his view a majority of creative artists see themselves as independent supporters of democratic reforms, although Yanukovych also embellished his election campaign with elements of pop culture. The general attitudes in the population are more important, but they are split between more conservative or progressive opinions as well. Yet Templin concluded rather optimistically: he believes the Majdan events of 2004/05 have shown that the people are no longer willing to accept ruthless exploitation by oligarchs and compliant government. The resignation with politics which may often be found among the younger generations might lead to the empowerment of civil society and thereby to the control of corrupt elites. Faced with the author’s dissident biography one could be tempted to hope that Templin has got it right a second time.

We are grateful to Herbert-Wehner-Bildungswerk for hosting and financially supporting the event.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Generation 68. Ein Roadmovie

2008 is a year full of potential for cultural entrepreneurs active in the field of collective remembrance. Seen from a European perspective it is the emblematic years of 1848, 1948 and 1968 which immediately present ample material for recollections both personal and official. German public TV channel 3Sat recently contributed to the discourse by broadcasting the film Generation 68. Ein Roadmovie, directed by Frank Diederichs (6 April 2008, 20:15). Diederichs portrays the life of writers and journalists, actors and directors, all people who had been politically and culturally active already back then or who were to be left with a lasting impression by the events of that ominous year. One of these is a participant of Overcoming Dictatorships, Lutz Rathenow.

Rathenow tells his personal experiences behind the specific German political background and the generally stirred-up atmosphere of the late 1960s. His recallings of a family holiday in Hungary can be taken as a literary description of the social and personal repercussions of contemporary German-German relations. Rathenow says:

In 1968, at the end of July and beginning of August I spent my vacation together with my parents and my sister at the Balaton Lake. For people from the GDR the atmosphere in Hungary felt much more western and generally relaxed: broadcasting stations had superior programmes, you could witness policemen consuming alcohol and Coca Cola was on offer. For people with western currencies it was even rather a fair deal. It was therefore a happy coincidence when my parents made the acquaintance of a couple from West Germany. On the beach they paid for beverages and we received small gifts. My parents accepted these well-meant complaisances gratefully. Me personally I didn’t think at all of being grateful, although I also benefited from the situation. These people from West Germany were not really arrogant; I did want to conceive them as arrogant.

As contingent as the course of life of an individual may be it is most likely that these experiences influenced Rathenow's personal development which subsequently advanced his literary and dissident activities. Check out more information by Jutta Vinzent on Rathenows artistic collaboration with photographer and project participant Harald Hauswald.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Prize for the Wreath of Laurels of the Hungarian Republic for Mrs Balla Zsófia

We are very pleased to inform that the honorable participant of our project and well known Hungarian poet, translator and journalist, Mrs Balla Zsófia (Budapest) has received the prize for the Wreath of Laurels of the Hungarian Republic (co-laureate Anna Kiss).

The prize, which was established in 1996 and is second in importance to the ultimate Kossuth and Széchenyi prizes, is awarded by the government to two outstanding achievements in literature per year. This year, related to the Hungarian National Memorial Day of the 1848 Revolution and War of Independence, the award ceremony took place in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest on 15 March 2008 and was held by Mr. Istvan Hiller, Minister of Culture of Hungary.

Mrs Balla, who among others received the Attila József Prize in 1996, had a recent appearance in “Overcoming Dictatorships” during a reading in
Budapest on 12 October 2007. Selected essays and poems appear in the anthology Present tensions. European writers on overcoming dictatorships (Budapest: CEU Press 2008), which will be presented during a workshop in Trent on 9 May 2008.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The casus of Silvestro Lodi

29.03-10.04 2008

The new exhibition of Silvestro Lodi starts with the inauguration
event in Bassano del Grappa on 29 March, 6 pm.
The paintings presented were prepared in the techniques of
watercolour and mixed media on hand-made paper.
The title of the exhibition -“Casus”- comes from Latin
and plays with its ambiguity, meaning:
“that what has happened”; “that what has fallen”;
or simply “the chance”.

incontri scrimin galleria bassano del grappa
via vendramini 46a - 0424.227799 - 10/12.30 - 16/19.30 - lunedì chiuso

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Overcoming - Remembering - Mourning

2008, 29/1 Jutta Vinzent, University of Birmingham,
curator of the exhibition of Overcoming Dictatorships

'Overcoming - Remembering - Mourning. Contemporary art from six post-dictatorial European countries', Research Seminar of the Department of German, University of Birmingham

Jutta Vinzent chairing a discussion of project artists
in the Bucharest House of Writers on 8 Dec 2007.
(photo: José M. Faraldo, Dresden)

"While many scholars have applied theories of dis-locations to physical migration (including myself in Identity and Image. Refugee Artists from Nazi Germany in Britain, 1933-1945, Kromsdorf/Weimar: VDG Verlag, 400 pp), I will explore the question as to how artists who experienced mental migration caused by a collective political-economic upheaval respond visually to their own specific dislocations and how they address subjects of identity and nation.


Interest in the contemporary art produced in those countries involved, particularly the former Soviet satellite states, in the west is increasing. In 2005 the Modern Museum at Oxford organised an exhibition under the title Arrivals – Art from the New Europe. It has grown out of a two-year collaboration between Modern Art Oxford and Turner Contemporary introducing the work of artists from the expanded European Union. The publication covers the ten Arrivals countries: Poland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary and Malta and includes images of the artists’ works, installation shots from the exhibitions, behind the scenes photographs and specially commissioned essays by gallery directors, curators, critics and art historians from across the EU.

The exhibition attempts to overcome its title ‘Arrivals’ (as if these countries have not been there before) and a treatment of art works which is in parts similar to what has become known in Art History as Primitivism (the new, the exotic) in the prefaces and introductions by having valuable essays from art historians, writing from the perspective of each country.

While the selection of the countries for this exhibition is based on the relationship to Europe, those for the exhibition After the Wall, shown at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 1999 and at the Ludwig-Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest in 2000, primarily focused on previously communist countries. It was dedicated to art and culture in post-communist Europe.

Both exhibition catalogues are organised by countries to recognise each individual history. Different from our project, however, After the Wall interpreted art in a broader sense, including music, film and photography from 20 countries, among them all those formerly Soviet satellite states involved in this project.

The major difference to both of these shows, however, is that the works for our exhibition has grown out of workshops organised as part of the EU-funded project on ‘Overcoming Dictatorship’. These workshops offer the possibility for the artists to get in contact with each other, to exchange experiences which they have undergone in their countries. In addition, we have opened a blog as an electronic communication platform between the seven workshops.

Because of the kind of set-up, the artists had a major say about the inclusion of works. Therefore, it is not only in some sense a communal work, but also methodologically informed by oral history. The meetings which are filmed constitute primary material for this project and also for this paper..." (More)

Further presentations by Jutta Vinzent:

2008, 4/4 Jutta Vinzent, 'Ideological locations and dis-locations. Visual responses from post-communist countries', 34th annual conference organised by the AAH (Association of Art Historians, Britain; topic: Location: The Museum, The Academy and the Studio), Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, 2-4 April 2008

2008, 15/5 Jutta Vinzent, 'New Europe - Identities in transition. Contemporary art from six post-dictatorial European countries', Research Seminar of the Department of History of Art, University of Birmingham

History Will Repeat Itself

We are pleased to announce that the exhibition History Will Repeat Itself will be on view at Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw from February 15, 2008. Before this the exhibition has been presented at Hartware MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

History Will Repeat Itself

Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary Art

Artists: Guy Ben-Ner, Walter Benjamin, Irina Botea, C-Level, Daniela Comani, Jeremy Deller, Rod Dickinson, Nikolai Evreinov, Omer Fast, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Heike Gallmeier, Felix Gmelin, Pierre Huyghe, Evil Knievel, Zbigniew Libera, Korpys/Löffler, Robert Longo, Tom McCarthy, Frédéric Moser/Philippe Schwinger, Collier Schorr, Tabea Sternberg, Kerry Tribe, T. R. Uthco & Ant Farm, Artur Zmijewski.

Dates: February 15 until April 13, 2008

Centre for Contemporary Art
Ujazdowski Castle
al. Ujazdowskie 6
00-461 Warsaw

Further information:

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

"Overcoming Dictatorships" enters

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Our project has recently entered LabforCulture database in order to broaden its network activities. It’s never been easier to know about everything that’s happening across Europe in arts and culture. LabforCulture develops innovative approaches, tools and technologies to strengthen, stimulate and facilitate cultural collaboration across geographic, cultural and imaginative borders.

The database works with and for artists, arts and culture organisations and networks, cultural professionals and audiences in the 50 countries of Europe, as well as providing a platform for cultural cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world.

Its mission is both to ensure that all those working on cultural collaboration have access to up-to-the-minute information and to encourage the cultural sector to become more experimental with online technologies (taken & adapted from LabforCulture description).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is there anybody?

Dears friends artists, I'm interesting to know what you think about the possibility to publicize the exhibition on the art reviews in every country where it will move.
My opinion is that is fundamental to connect our project and our work with a society and to inform the art system of existence of "Overcoming Dictatorships".
Outside of the project nobody knows something about what we are doing .
I know that the organizings, Gert and Jutta, will inform the partners of each country about the need to look for relationships with locals art publishers to have space in her magazines o reviews, but is important that each of us contribute pressing the respective University to spend some money for the advertising.

Thank for your attention, I trust you.
Silvestro Lodi

Saturday, January 19, 2008

About the Birmingham Exhibition

I'd like to know if the final dates of exhibition are established by the curators and if the problems connected with the advertising of event (all events) have been overcome.

I suggest to the friends curators, poets, writers, don't forget the primary significance of communication to the art system: art journalists, museums directors, editing of europeans art magazines, all art reviews of the countries where the exhibition will be done.

I hope the organizings consider the possibility to buy advertising form into the art magazine for the occasion of every opening. This is the only possibility that we have for assure us a visibility outside of project who is till now completely closed to the society.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Exhibition catalogue to download

This is the catalogue of an exhibition that I curated and took place at Galeria Noua in Bucharest for 4 days in November 2007.

Because the show only lasted for three days and many people didn't have the chance to see it, now there is a pdf catalogue.

Catalogue design: Dragos Platon

Download here.

Back to the future / Cu spatele la viitor

7.11 – 10.11 2007, Galeria Noua

Anca Benera
Daniel Gontz
Cezar Lazarescu
Vlad Nanca
Mircea Nicolae
Dragos Platon
Tudor Prisacariu
Sonokolor (Ciprian Dicu si Sergiu Doroftei)

The exhibition brings together young artists whose works investigate the Romanian social and cultural context from a historical perspective. The title of the exhibition, same as the 1980’s SF film (and its literal and somewhat ironic translation in Romanian), is synthesizing the spirit of the show – an exploration of the present, keeping in mind the recent history of Romania and thus proposing a cautious approach to future.

Curator: Vlad Nanca

The exhibition was supported by the Swiss Cultural Program in Romania