Time: 25 November 2015, 7.30pm
Venue: Translocal Institute, Dembinszky utca 10 II 33, Budapest 1071
Participants in the discussion:
Sándor Hornyik, PhD, art historian and curator, Hungarian Institute of Art History
Katalin Székely, independent art historian and curator, PhD fellow at ELTE Budapest
The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism by Maja Fowkes
(New York / Budapest: Central European University Press, 2015)
About the Green Bloc:
Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism, this book uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. The turbulent legacy of 1968, which saw the confluence of political upheaval, spread of counterculture, rise of ecological consciousness, and emergence of global conceptual art, provides the setting for Maja Fowkes’s innovative reassessment of the environmental practice of the Central European neo-avant-garde. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology. Embedding artistic production in social, political, and environmental histories of the region, this book reveals the Central European artists’ sophisticated relationship to nature, at the precise moment when ecological crisis was first apprehended on a planetary scale.
Dr. Maja Fowkes is Co-Director of the Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art Budapest. She has a PhD from University College London and is author of several books, including River Ecologies: Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities on the Danube (2015) and Loophole to Happiness (2011).