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…Time I… and …Time II… – cosmological probes, futurological prognoses / discussion forums and conceptual interventions

Author:
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Date: June 1973

Participants: Ján Zavarský (b. 1948), Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Miloš Laky (1948–1975), Július Koller (b. 1939), Stano Filko (b. 1937) with Peter Bartoš (b. 1938), Michal Kern (1938–1994), Tomáš Štrauss (1931–2013)

Location: Moravský Kras / Moravian Karst and Studio of Rudolf Sikora, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

Cosmological visions, meditations on the future of civilization, the implementation of information from the natural sciences, and inquiries into cosmic communications were of great importance for Bratislava-based conceptual artists. Using the medium of offset print, the artists also utilized visual signs, photography, diagrams, scientific ideas, codes, and numerals. In the beginning of 1970s, Rudolf Sikora became acquainted with a samizdat translation titled Limits to Growth, which was edited by Dennis L. Meadows. It was the first publication of its kind to highlight the effects of rapid population growth and limited natural resources. It was Sikora who brought together artists and theoreticians, organized closed discussion forums, and took responsibility for printing large posters of their collective that was composed as a somewhat pseudoscientific cosmological probe and future prognoses. The joint project was spurred by the upcoming congress of speleologists in Brno, and composed as a collection of conceptual interventions in the caves of Moravian Karst.

 


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Symposion 74

Author:
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Date: 28 February 1974

Participants and organizers: Peter Bartoš (b. 1938), Róbert Cyprich/Hervé Fischer, Stano Filko (b. 1937)/Miloš Laky (1948–1975)/Ján Zavarský (b. 1948), Vliam Jakubík (b. 1945), Juraj Meliš (b. 1942), Katarína Orlík, Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Dezider Tóth (b. 1947), Jana Želibská (b. 1941)

Location: Bratislava

“Symposion 74” was the outcome of meetings held between participants, and took the exhibition-as-poster format, juxtaposing both individual and collective works by “unofficial” Slovak artists. Contributing artists’ work appeared on a poster in a grid format. Often artists worked collaboratively. The contributing artists and the title of their artwork is as follows: Peter Bartoš: Zooparticipations (1974); Róbert Cyprich/Hervé Fischer: Ninnananna, Ružomberok-Paris (1973); Stano Filko/Miloš Laky/Ján Zavarský: A White Space in a White Space (1973–74); Viliam Jakubík, Many Greetings for Poster Collectors (1974); Juraj Meliš: We Think thus We Are (1974); Katarína Orlik: Love (1974); Rudolf Sikora:-5 000 000 000 ? +5 000 000 000 ?, (1974); Dezider Tóth: Realization of Reality (1974); Jana Želibská: The Taste of Paradise, Galerie Jean-Gilbert Jozon, Paris (December 1973).


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Appearance – action by the Collective Actions Group

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Date: 13 March 1976

Organizer-Participants: Andrei Monastyrski (b. 1949), Lev Rubinstein (b. 1947), Nikita Alekseev (b. 1953), and George Kiesewalter (b. 1955)

Location: Izmailovsky Field, Moscow

Appearance was the first action organized by the group of artists and poets who would later become the Moscow Conceptualist performance art group Collective Actions.[1] A group of around thirty fellow artists and friends received invitations to attend Appearance. These viewer–participants included: A. Abramov, M. Saponov, I. Golovinskaia, V. Chinaev, N. Panitkov, N. Nedbailo, R. Gerlovina, V. Gerlovin, N. Lepin, and twenty other people. As instructed, they traveled just outside of the city and gathered on the edge of a field to wait for the action to start. After a short time two figures—Lev Rubinstein and Nikita Alekseev—appeared from the forest on the opposite side of the field. Crossing the field to meet the audience, they distributed documents for viewers to sign as testimony that they were present at Appearance. In the following years, other actions were staged where viewers were invited to listen to a bell ringing in the snow (Lieblich, April 2, 1976), to pull a rope out of the forest for hours (Time of Action, October 15, 1978), or to have their pictures taken as they crossed a field (Place of Action, October 7, 1979). Inspired by the work and writings of John Cage, by Zen Buddhism, and by the philosophies of Kant and Heidegger, these actions explored the limits of viewer perception, while also serving as social meeting places for the Collective Actions group and the circle of Moscow Conceptual artists. Over time, hand-bound volumes documenting the actions were produced and called Poezdki za gorod (Trips Out of the City). The representational and aesthetic qualities of photographic and textual documentation themselves became subjects of the group’s further investigations.

[1] Rubinstein did not participate in in organizing actions following Appearance. Subsequent members of the group included Nikolai Panitkov (b. 1952), Igor Makarevich (b. 1943), Elena Elagina (b. 1949), Sergei Romashko (b. 1952), and Sabine Hänsgen (b. 1955).

Document:

Irina Pivovarova, viewer recollection from Lieblich (1976), The Lantern (1977), and Time of Action (1978), November 1980.


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Women’s Art 1978 – exhibition

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Date: April 1978

Participants: Suzy Lake (Canada), Noemi Maidan (Switzerland), Natalia LL (Poland), and Carolee Schneemann (USA)

Organizer: Natalia LL

Location: PSP Jatki Gallery, Wrocław

This was the second exhibition of what’s referred to as women’s art in Poland and the first international one where the practices of foreign participants were represented by mail-art pieces.[1] Natalia LL was the first Polish artist who contributed to international feminist-art exhibitions and publications since 1975, and her art was published among others’ work on the cover of the monographic feminist issue of Heute Kunst (issue 9, 1975) edited by Gislind Nabakovsky. LL also had the opportunity of a half-year stay in the United States, mostly in New York City, in 1977 (through a Kościuszko Foundation grant), and afterwards she gave a series of lectures on feminist art in Polish art galleries.[2] In the Wrocław show, LL exhibited her Categorical Statements from the Sphere of Post-Consumer Art (1975), Schneemann’s artist’s publication Cezanne, She was a Great Painter (1975), a photo by Suzy Lake showing a woman with her body bound by a rope—shown as an installation, with the rope in space separating the art from the audience—and Maidan’s collages on maternity covered by traditional nappies hanging on the walls.


[1] Review of the exhibition, B. Baworowska, “Sztuka kobiet,” Sztuka 4/5 (1978): 69–70.

[2] Natalia LL, “Feminist tendency,” in Natalia LL. Texts (Bielska BWA Gallery: Bielsko-Biała, 2004).


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MAJ 75 — F

Author:
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Date: 1981

Concept: Vlasta Delimar

Participants: Breda Beban, Rada Čupić, Vlasta Delimar, Sanja Iveković, Jasna Jurum, Vesna Miksić, Vesna Pokas, Bogdanka Poznanović, Duba Sambolec, Edita Schubert, Branka Stanković, Iris Vučemilović

Location: Maj 75 — F (samizdat)

Maj 75 was a self-published magazine initiated in 1978 by a group of Zagreb-based artists— the Group of Six Artists, or “the group of friends,” as they refer to themselves in the introductory pages of the magazine.1 In connection to their self-organized “exhibition-actions,” the publication was conceived as a “magazine-catalogue,” another hyphenated neologism with which they attempted to overcome conventional and institutionalized ways of presenting art. Comprised solely of pages presenting artworks, the magazine can be viewed as an alternative exhibition space, enabling the artists to communicate their work to the public without the mediation and the sanctioning authority of art institutions and curators. Between 1978 and 1984, seventeen issues were published (marked by letters of the alphabet instead of numbers), with an additional one produced in 1990, and commemoratively called Ex-Maj.

The F issue, published in 1981, was conceived by artist Vlasta Delimar as a presentation of female artists who were active within the Yugoslav “new art practice” scene. The introductory page stated that very few female artists had been featured in Maj 75, which was the main motivation for dedicating a special issue to them. The magazine was produced in the home-run print studio of Delimar and her then partner and Group of Six member, Željko Jerman, with whom she worked on technical execution of each issue. By proposing and realizing her concept for the special issue on women artists, including herself, Delimar brought forward her own creative, and no longer just technical, “behind the scenes” contribution to the magazine, together with enhancing the visibility of the work of other Yugoslav women artists.2

From the 1950s to mid-1970s, the Yugoslav art scene was dominated by male artists and male artist groups; prominent women artists, such as Sanja Iveković or Marina Abramović were the exception. By the end of the 1970s, the situation started to change and more women artists were becoming active art-scene protagonists, especially with the “return of painting” in the early 1980s. The F issue of Maj 75 is a small testament to this change, even if not all of its contributors have continued to pursue their artistic careers, and today’s audiences would be unfamiliar with some of the artists’ names. A number of the Maj 75 contributions included in the issue were explicit gender-conscious interventions that responded to the history of art as a male-dominated narrative.

Guide for the chronology (Ivana Bago: Something to think about: values and valeurs of visibility in Zagreb from 1961 to 1986)


1 The group included Boris Demur, Željko Jerman, Vlado Martek, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović, and Fedor Vučemilović. The name of the magazine Maj 75 (May 75) referred to the date when the group came together to start its collaborative work.

2 Vlasta Delimar is not credited for the concept of this issue of the magazine. However, the assumption that the issue was her idea based on the motivations stated above was confirmed in an e-mail to the author (July 14, 2014), and also in the catalogue titled Vlasta Delimar: To sam ja / This Is I, which accompanied her solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb in 2014, and was edited by Martina Munivrana.

 


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