A COMPLICATED RELATION, PART I (KALMAR KONSTMUSEUM): Geta Brătescu, Ion Grigorescu, Tibor Hajas, Tamás St.Auby, Mladen Stilinović, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak

3 September–13 November 2011

A Complicated Relation, part I is the first in a series of two at Kalmar Konstmuseum. The first part also includes an exhibition at Index in Stockholm, A Complicated Relation: KwieKulik, 7 September – 23 October, with works by the Polish artist duo KwieKulik. More information on the presentation at Index will follow in a separate mail.

The exhibition A Complicated Relation, part I presents art from what was formerly known as Eastern Europe. The term “Eastern Europe” assumes a divided Europe and the existence of a Western Europe. Today, twenty-two years after the fall of the Berlin wall, those countries are being part of a united Europe but our language discloses and unmasks a picture much more complicated than that. We talk about Hungary as an ex. Eastern European country, whereas the former West European countries today represents a tacit, unspoken normality. When the wall fell Western Europe as a figure of thought dissolved but the idea of the former East still continues to influence our idea of Europe. This delay in our mode of thinking has also influenced the art field – many of the artists that worked in the eastern parts of Europe during the socialist regimes still have not, even though a lot has happened in recent times, received their proper place in the canon of contemporary art.

The East European societies with a socialist regime that the participating artists were working in were all different from each other. Eastern Europe was never one reality but there existed without doubt certain common conditions, even if the possibilities of working as an artist were different in the various countries. A Complicated Relation, part I aims to highlight a number of important artists having the one thing in common that they were living and working in “Eastern Europe” during the 1970´s, focusing on the artistic practices that they developed as a reaction to a complicated relation with the society they were living and working in.

For an artist who did not want to support the official ideological agenda there remained only a strictly limited field in which to work. With the limited connections and the decision, or the necessity to work outside the official scene there followed financial difficulties and minimal opportunities for production and exhibition of work. A close circle of colleagues, family and friends were in many instances the only context that could offer collaboration, an audience, information and relevant critique. The private home could be a base for production as well as for display. Artistic practices less focused on traditional art objects and not dependent on costly production methods or official funding meant that is was possible to develop an artistic production which in itself was not limited but on the contrary explored new artistic methods, a new artistic language and new connections and contexts. A Complicated Relation, part I gathers a number of artists that, despite living in a repressive period, chose a unique and radical perspective and approach to art.

The exhibition will be followed by a publication designed by Pascal Prosek and released in October 2011.
A Complicated Relation, part I is produced in collaboration with Kalmar Konstmuseum and with support from
Polish Institute and The Romanian Cultural Institute, Stockholm.

A Complicated Relation, part II, which opens 17 September, is curated by Martin Schibli, Kalmar Konstmuseum. This part of the project will present young artists from, among other countries, Moldavia, Georgia and Belarus. A one-day conference in connection to the show will be held 19 September.