Eastern European art

The fundamental extant difference between the “two Europes” in the very period of  European integrative processes after 1989 and the relevant theoretical and interpretative instruments for a proper recognition of artistic projects in Eastern Europe;

One of the main reasons for approaching the issue of Eastern European art and culture must be explained from the theoretical standpoint. It designates the existence of the fundamental extant difference between the “two Europes” in the very period of  European integrative processes after 1989, and pinpoints the way to encounter the core of the problem related to the issues of contemporary art and culture. This approach, as Slovenian theoretician and philosopher Marina Grzinic explains, departs from the fact that “the East has not provided the West with the relevant theoretical and interpretative instruments to recognise the uniqueness, idiosyncrasies, diversity and originality of artistic projects in Eastern Europe”, because of which “there is very little documentation of this history”. The attitude expressed here had thus been provoked by a strong belief that Eastern European art practices lacked the critical theoretical background which would offer and provide critical interpretation and self-reflection on those projects and phenomena. This problem is of crucial importance and, in order to be overcome, requires a systematic action towards “filling the void” of the cultural and theoretical domain of Eastern Europe. This urge for theory has been explicitly declared as early as in the 1980s by one of the most prominent contemporary art phenomena  in Eastern Europe – Slovenian movement Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK): “NSK needs theoreticians, thinkers, to verbalise our activities, since we would like the creative act to be accompanied by a certain argumentative discipline, whose opinions and theses also enter the game of creation. Just like a painting, we consider a philosophical work an object, which in the centre of its conceptual constellation raises the question of the conditions and possibilities of awareness in general.”
Focusing on the historical perspectives of the artistic strategies and art production in Eastern European space provides necessary basic instruments for the elimination of  this problem and marks out the emergence of new discourses surrounding these phenomena. Furthermore, apart from the traditional debates and strictly art historical interpretations, it investigates the ideological context of the development of such phenomena and their politics of display, and also – in order to propose the ways for their radical de-politicization – it strengthens the relationship between art and overall political, social and cultural climate in an area once known as Eastern Bloc (the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, ex-Yugoslavia).