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.
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