Art beyond Borders: Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945-1989)

Art beyond Borders: Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945-1989)

Art beyond Borders: Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945-1989)

Art beyond Borders: Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945-1989)

Synopsis

With 36 contributions by scholars from 14 countries, the present volume gathers an unusually high number of texts as a result of a collaborative process over several years. Most of them are case studies of a single artist, an image, an exhibition, or an encounter. Tile project was conceived as a kaleidoscopic research undertaking with the purpose of accounting for the heterogeneity of the historical material and to reflect the diversity of the academic community writing on art history across present-day Europe. The volume highlights the fluctuation of exchanges in the visual arts during the Cold War period, thanks to in depth contextualized analysis, paying particular at-tem ion to the discrepancy between the production and the reception of art. It offers a reflection on the historical sources available, the issue of languages, and the various geographical levels. It innovates a geographical narrative of shifting realities and expanding borders and abandons any kind of archetypal map. Academic publications on both the capitalist and communist: side have shown the relevance or distinct universalizing ideologies. As a consequences, a large part of the art involved in exchanges that actually occurred has become mutually invisible. The authors scrutinized all tendencies of the art scent, without isolating the avant-garde from socialist realists, but tracking their coexistence at the heart of communist movements.

Excerpt

In 2007, the National Museum in Warsaw exhibited the part of its collection from the years 1945–55. Next to creations by Tadeusz Kantor à la Picasso or abstract paintings by Jerzy Nowosielski, the exhibition showed foreign paintings that the museum had bought at the time, notably Italian and French socialist realism, but interestingly no Soviet art. a painting by Renato Guttuso from Rome and one by Andrzej Wróblewski from Kraków were displayed side by side. Also on display were a still life by André Fougeron, which the National Museum purchased after its exhibition in Warsaw in 1952, and another still life by Zygmunt Radnicki. Te exhibition revealed that socialist realism from Western countries, such as Italy and France, may have been more influential than socialist realism from the ussr. Te question of defining Europe emerged as a consequence—it was no longer a question concerning the geography of the single countries within Europe, but

1 Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito, Galeria sztuki xx wieku. Odsłony Kolekcji 1945–1955 (Warsaw: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, 2007).

2 Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, “How the West Corroborated Socialist Realism in the East: Fougeron, Taslitzky and Picasso in Warsaw,” Biuletyn Historii Sztuki 2:65 (2003): 303–29.

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