ana peraica on Wed, 20 Jun 2001 15:28:09 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] UN art

Hi all,

here are the notes on EastEuropean pathos turning into pathetics.


UN art
(Feeling sick of EasternEurope-ish art political correctness)

cheers for Slaven!

Ana Peraica

Central... After the Wall... Contemporary Eastern European Art... Art&War...
East meets West... Communist Manifesto...

On the East European market, a version of Babushka is made: instead of
opening one by one Russian woman, one can open figures of Russian
politicians. The surprise on the end, the unpenetrable figure is of course -
Stalin. Political souvenirs are predictable, once folklorized they are
harmless... In Sunday market of East Europe one can buy emblems of
socialism, in Vienna galleries one can supply with the Eastern European
'art-ish version' of all of that; partisan or communist past, reference to a
war etc... Flat and literal, they are what is desirable on the world market
that does not allow to be bordered with the details. Puppets of the world
politics as Milosevic and Tudjman unfortunately, with own nations were,
become a woodoo dolls, and exorcism will last all until the real question is

Artists arising at the start to the middle of nineties have been presented,
absorbed, and digested in this context. Even if completely different, an art
piece from East Europe was regarded as showing political action, usually
hopeless, direct engagement, and build up in the flat and unsensible
relation of the East / West, socialism / capitalism, war / art... Eastern
European art appeared as an after-image of the identity art, but now being
territorial in the old models of Renaissance schools.

This flat distinction has taken a variety of predictable forms, cliches of
depicting more sensible relations of the first of all art, and then second -
of the politics itself. If not politicians in real, artists are invited to
shake hands, and make a peaceful contract (with themselves). Curators of
those shows of East and West, compiling Serbs and Croats, Albanians and
Macedonians etc. wrote their introductions as for the Yalta conference.
And, again, it reminds on the contract of UN Zizek was writing on in Did
Somebody Say Totalitarism? (2001), between Serbs and Albanians on Kosovo,
asking them to
'give each other a hand and stop shooting' (as it is simple as that).

All through the last decade East European artists have been given 'an
opportunity' (on Devil's contract of which Boyadjiev speaks the best) of
presenting their work in several politicized (though not really political)
contexts. An impression has been given that art arriving from East Europe
necessary is political and engaged, or authentic with what was seen as the
political in the last decade. Unfortunately, the situation was more than
politically misunderstood - the problem of the area was it was precisely -
in being not political. Otherwise, it would not have happen, what indeed
has. Or; if this bunch of artists have spoken at time, many things
would not have happened. Is that a pithiness of art or pithiness of
politics? But, is it the matter of the free voice, art, anyhow?

Unfortunately, political facts are those names did not spoke in the
political context at the time, and an old dilemma of - should this kind of
art be understood as a political action or the art phenomenon arises. And
then of course - who gives the criteria of distinction if the Sarajevo's
life was not a better and realer performance than all of those that are
visiting the West altogether now? 'No pity for Sarajevo' (Baudrillard), pity
for the poor artists visiting the West!

How this phenomenon in art occurred? Is the art a territory of simulating
what the world politics desired as would have happened, as it did not?
Taking a look at the sponsoring list uncovers a fact on the art of nineties
itself, that for this decade was indeed political, it is obvious - UN art

East Europe is servant to tyrants, and this fashion is just another one,
they are appearing in mass, in groups, but not individually, appearing
name-less, embodying the identity of the addressee of the desirable
narrative and identity. Once manipulated by own tyrants, and now, the second
time by the cheapest (in all but market values) fashion of gallerism of
East/West-Communist Past/Chaotic Present-War/Period-after phenomenon.
Eastern European art is a bitch, gives itself easily forgetting the last
'user'. Socialist realism easily continues in the admittance to UN (or
whatever capital letters can replace YU, USSR. as for the car
registration) -art.

All is political; all is art, we know - except what is politicish and
artish, except what embodies the aesthetics of itself and presents it as
unique. All is political except the past; all might be art except of what is
regarded as the art of future. Those are oxymoron.

So, being an artist from East Europe meant to be aware of: own past seen as
the not negative (with the permission of UN and others), and consequently
own identity seen as not negative (with the permission of UN and others),
own self in the UN therapy of nations; of being accepted (liberally) as one
is, but in terms already given - in terms of Communism that have passed (and
melancholia is allowed, but not the recreation), of war that is over (and
antagonism is resolved as the mistake forgiven). Mea culpa art or not
directly political ironisation of it - a nasty child that ironises own
wishes, not speaking on it properly. Even those against UN are entering
financing of the UN. Of course, UN then is appearing as new metaphysical
instance - ready to forgive the sin.

In works of more aware artists, of the first hand East Europe art, it had
already reached the cynical point (as Slaven Tolj's latest performance of
drinking vodtka and wiskey periodically or works of Luchezar Boyadjiev point
at the banality of the art market). But after them, a new generation of the
artists and curators (that would be in the terms of art history entitled 'a
school of ?' emerged). They are willing to provide more for a lower prize...
high quality event passed, and what we see are only its commercial variants
canonised, as what have happened to the Mexican art fashion and latter
Iranian art fashion, after it only few of those will stay,
the rest will go home, and live on the trashyard of fashionable art
phenomenon, not political and not artistic enough.

Being not aware of this use in the context is what is the political outcome
of the politicish art. To show up the new trend, exhibitions should be named
'Admittance', 'Next!!', and this could be more political, in the sense of
transgression, the sense of the violence as from the point of masochism...
'What, how and for whom?' as the exhibition on Communist manifesto is
entitled, as a red light art... not red history... East European art,
cheaply for the West European galleries. Economy of identity on the
bourgeois Viennese liberal market. Political attitudes safely gallerised.
They are predictable, cliched, and safe... political curators avoid Brenner.

Cynical existence of the State (Sloterdijk) is on force, and each critique
enforces the quality of the State, UN. It shows liberalism and high
tolerance. It shows each politics as politicish, while art only an ephemeral
tract in digestion of political that is actually a cover of the pure

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago El Lissitzky noted that suprematism
will surpass communism in the world order, quite radically, but still
serving Stalin. And it did surpass, both in Belgrade Malevic, and then in
admittance of the art to the government that leaves artists as own free
fools on the streets for centuries, caricaturizing own attitudes.

>From the Prague student Ian Pallach selfburning to the art safe selfburning
in the eightees and before. From Sarajevo to the exhibition in Vienna. From
Turkia to
Vienna and then back again!

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