Rewriting Histories – A brief visit of contemporary art in Eastern Europe

Lecturer: Cosmin Costinas

19:30 , 8th, August, 2006

101 room, Building G, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art,
Guangzhou University Town

The year 1989 marked a decisive turn in the history of Europe and indeed of the whole world, by the rapid turn of the regimes in the Eastern part of the continent to open market economies, governed by neoliberal ideology, and the official funerals of communism. In most of the Eastern European countries, the ideologically complex set of neo-avantgard or post-avantgard artistic positions from the sixties and the seventies, ranging from anticommunist dissidence to utopian socialism were projected to a spectrum of oblivion, by an increasingly depoliticized art context.
In the current years, after an arguable end of the utopian stage of neoliberalism in Eastern Europe, politics started to reformulate in the realm of art as a necessity of reference to the previously mentioned positions, as a need to rewrite a partial and previously biased history. This new projection in the past of the political dimension of art in Eastern Europe is probably only matched, in terms of popularity, by urban exploration, seen either as a critical approach to rapid growth or as a narcissistic celebration of consumerism in a politicized denial of politics.

Cosmin Costinas (b. Satu Mare, Romania) is an author and freelance curator based in Vienna. After his studies in art history and history at the University in Cluj-Napoca, he now is Coordinating Editor of the documenta 12 magazines, as well as a contributing editor of the magazines Idea Arts + Society (Cluj) and Version (Paris and Cluj). His curatorial projects include “Textground” (Prague,
2004),”Secularity after Complicity” (Bucharest, 2005), a project discussing the ideological basis of the postcommunist Romanian state and “After the Happy Nineties” (2005), dealing with matters such as the new forms of artistic engagement after 9/11 and the collapse of “the end of history” neoliberal utopia. He is a contributor to several magazines and exhibition catalogues across Europe, North America and South East Asia.

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