Lectures: Piotr Piotrowski and Klara Kemp-Welch

Monday, 22 September 2014, at 6 pm
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

You are kindly invited to attend lectures by art historians Piotr Piotrowski and Klara Kemp-Welch, on Monday, 22 September 2014, at 6 p.m. at the seminar room of the +MSUM. The talk will be in English.

Piotr Piotrowski: The Global NETwork. Approaching Comparative Art History
At the beginning of the 1970s, Jarosław Kozłowski and Andrzej Kostołowski invented NET - a global network of artists who wanted to exchange their thoughts. This was the first conception of such an idea in the Eastern Bloc, and one of the first in the entire world. Ultimately, over the course of more than a dozen years, a few hundred people from both Eastern and Western Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia participated in this initiative. This lecture does not, however, aim to describe the project itself, but rather takes it as a point of departure for an analysis of the different contexts in which artworks circulate in an effort to arrive at a theoretical approach to comparative art history. I understand this concept not necessarily as in the way in which the circulation of ideas caused them to be influenced by each other, but rather how different geo-historical circumstances lay behind their (contextual) meaning, how they illuminated each other - something that was not always perceived by the public that visited NET exhibitions. We may thus be able to distinguish aspects of global culture as they were being developed at the time, aspects that are otherwise usually seen as homogeneous and West-centric, existing in a one-way relationship between the metropolis and its periphery.

Piotr Piotrowski is a professor ordinarius at the art history department at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, which he chaired from 1999 to 2008, and a permanent research fellow of the Graduate School for East and South-East European Studies, Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität, München/Regensburg Universität. He is also a former director of the National Museum in Warsaw (2009-10) and a visiting professor at Humboldt University (2011-12), Warsaw University (2011, 2012-13), the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, USA (2001) and Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2003). He was a fellow at - among others - the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington D.C. (1989-90), Columbia University (1994), the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (2000), Collegium Budapest (2005-06) and the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA (2009). He is the author of a dozen books, including:Meanings of Modernism (1999, 2011), In the Shadow of Yalta. Art and the Avant-garde in Eastern Europe (2005, English 2009, Croatian 2011), Art After Politics (2007), Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (2010, English 2012) and Critical Museum (2011, Serbian 2013), as well as editor, co-editor and co-author of many others. For his scholarly achievements, Piotrowski has received, among others, the Jan Dlugosz Award (2006) and the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory (2010).

Klara Kemp-Welch: Continuity and Rupture. Networking and Collaboration from the 70s to the 00s
Since at least the landmark exhibition After The Wall (Stockholm, 1999), each new year seems to produce a framed survey of what goes under the pseudonym "East European art" - notably, IRWIN?s best-selling East Art Map (2000-06), but also the exhibitions Les Promesses du Passe (Paris, 2010), Ostalgia (New York, 2011), The Desire for Freedom (Berlin, 2012), Report on the Construction of a Space Module (New York, 2014), to name just some. Each initiative has to stake out its position in relation to the concerns of a complex network of participants and institutional stakeholders. The same is true of projects in which unofficial late-socialist art has been put into discursive play with its experimental equivalents from around the world: Global Conceptualism (New York, 1999), Subversive Practices (Stuttgart, 2009), and more recently, the Museum of Parallel Narratives (Barcelona, 2011). Networking and collaboration are central to such projects. Moreover, such exhibitions and projects also present necessity as a virtue. They are increasingly designed to address our networked age, with its particular audience of participant-producer-consumer. I would like to argue that if the 1970s feature so prominently in the projects listed above, then this is because that was when a certain form of spectatorship was ostensibly born, and, above all, perhaps the moment when networking and collaboration were reborn, often on the quiet, after the disappointments of 1968. I examine the uses and abuses of narratives of the micro-historical isolation and marginalization of "East European art" while considering locating the historical germs of our present condition in the late-socialist period, comparing the cultural situation today with its late-socialist counterpart.

Klara Kemp-Welch is a lecturer in 20th century Modernism at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she teaches East European and Latin American art history. She has an MA in Russian and East European Literature and Culture from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London (2002) and a PhD in the History of Art from University College London (2008). As a post-doctoral researcher, she has been awarded fellowships from the Phillip Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory working grant. She has published catalogue essays and book chapters on experimental artists such as Ion Grigorescu and KwieKulik, and her monograph Antipolitics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence Under Post-Totalitarian Rule was published in 2013. Since 2009, she has been researching and working on a book project entitled Networking the Bloc: Rethinking International Relations in European Art.


These lectures are part of the 2014 World of Art public programme, which is being prepared by the SCCA?Ljubljana and the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory.
Partner of the event: Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova
The programme is supported by: the City of Ljubljana - Department for Culture; ERSTE Foundation

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