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