Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism

By Aleš Erjavec | Go to book overview

Notes
1
Aleš Erjavec and Marina GržiniÉ, Ljubljana, Ljubljana:The Eighties in Slovene Art and Culture (Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1991), p. 9.
2
Leslie Holmes, Post-Communism: An Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), p. 63.
3
“By the late 1980s, the Chinese economic reforms had gone so far that many observers argued that China was rapidly becoming a capitalist country, ” redirecting itself under Deng Xiaoping toward “bureaucratic capitalism. ” Ibid., p. 120.
4
Zygmunt Bauman, Legislators and Interpreters (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1987), pp. 125, 117.
5
Mikhail N. Epstein, After the Future: The Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture, trans. with an introduction by Anesa Miller Pogacar (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995), p. 95.
6
Kunc's art is yet another example of similarities springing up in unexpected places. Although his art strongly resembles that of the Russian Sots Art of Komar and Melamid, Leonid Sokov, and Boris Orlov, which all appeared at about the same time, “Kunc created his Ost-Pop without any contacts with these artists and was not even able to see reproductions of their works, for at that time they didn't exist. ” Milena Slavická, “Maliř kontrolovaného bláznovství: O díle Milana Kunce, ” Vytvarné umèní (Prague), no. 3 (1992): 21.
7
Jean-FranÉois Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van Den Abbeele, Theory and History of Literature 46 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), p. 13.
8
Claude Lefort, Les formes de l'histoire: Essais d'anthropologie politique (Paris: Gallimard, 1978), p. 313.
9
Ibid., p. 315.
10
“Artistic production has boomed under communism. Never in the history of Eastern Europe have more pieces of art been exhibited. … The prosecuted artist is, on closer inspection, just not that unhappy one. ” Miklós Haraszti, The Velvet Prison: Artists under State Socialism, foreword by George Konrad, trans. Katalin and Stephen Landesmann (New York: Basic Books, 1987), p. 9.
11
Ibid., pp. 5, 8.
12
Piotr Piotrowski, “Post-modernism and Post-totalitarianism; The Poland Case of the 1970s, ” Ars (Bratislava: Slovak Academic Press, 1994), nos. 2–3 (1993): 235. Being an artist or a writer, of course, brought more than just a privileged social position, and it didn't bring that automatically. It also carried with it dangers and hardships, and I have no intention of minimizing these. What I want to point out is that in the socialist countries, as in the lessdeveloped ones, intellectuals in general and therefore also artists were held in high esteem. In most cases, their political position was facilitated in the period of late socialism, which coincided with the beginning of the decomposition of socialist regimes, because repression was then generally less severe than before.
13
What this means is clear to anybody who ever went to a theater play, in Soviet Moscow, for example, and observed the audience laughing or giggling when spotting a veiled reference to a political figure or a political event—leaving the foreigner often completely baffled due to ignorance of the current local political context. Vladimir Voinovich, Russia's best-known satirical novelist, described this phenomenon in the following way: “There was a joke in those days about a director who was asked to define an allusion. He replied: 'An allusion is when you go to the movies and you see clouds, forest, or the sky on the screen, and you think: “In any case, Brezhnev is a bastard. ”” “What Is Left to Mock? Interview, ” Newsweek, September 11, 1995, p. 60.

-50-

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Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vi
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Notes xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 50
  • The Other Gaze - Russian Unofficial Art's View of the Soviet World 55
  • Notes *
  • Art as a Political Machine - Fragments on the Late Socialist and Postsocialist Art of Mitteleuropa and the Balkans 90
  • Notes *
  • Neue Slowenische Kunst—new Slovenian Art - Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Self-Management, and the 1980s 135
  • Notes *
  • Hungarian Marginal Art in the Late Period of State Socialism 175
  • Notes *
  • The New Cuban Art 208
  • Notes *
  • Post-Utopian Avant-Garde Art in China 247
  • Notes *
  • Contributors 285
  • Index 287
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