Past Exhibitions
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March 12 – May 16, 2010
Self-staging and self-masking in the art of Central and Eastern Europe, with a special focus on works from Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Bank Group.
Featuring: Paweł Althamer, VALIE EXPORT, Tomislav Gotovac, Ion Grigorescu, Tibor Hajas, Sanja Iveković, Edward Krasinski, Anna Niesterowicz & Łukasz Gutt, Cora Pongracz, Hans Scheirl, Kateřina Šeda, Sven Stilinović, Artur Źmijewski.
Curated by Adam Szymczyk, director of Kunsthalle Basel and member of the advisory board to Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Bank Group.

The exhibition examines wide-ranging forms and strategies of masking and unmasking the self, as seen in many works in Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Bank Group. The aim of the collection is to reflect on forms of artistic production within the altered and changing political geographies of Europe, from the 1960s to the present. The historical part looks primarily at works involving political-activist, performative and gender-oriented approaches, and their representation in the public sphere. As a complement, the show also includes several contrary positions not covered by Kontakt. The primary focus of this collection is on conceptual (neo-avant-garde) art from Central and Eastern Europe, and representations of the self in art created under communist regimes and in the subsequent post-socialist situation must be seen as political statements. Many of these states exerted control over individual artistic articulations of the self, as they broke with the state monopoly on image production and constituted a potential threat to the system. Manipulation, imitation, withdrawal, transfer, camouflage or costuming – in various combinations, such techniques of resistance and the corresponding masking serve as representations of subjectivity. Direct realism does not seem to have been an option – most of the works employ indirect language or nuanced rhetorical means of reinterpreting, constructing and staging complex subject positions, serving as a point of departure for an emancipatory theatre of the repressed.

  Tomislav Gotovac
aus: Showing Elle, 1962
s/w Fotografie, 24 x 30 cm
Courtesy Kontakt. Die Kunstsammlung der Erste Group
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