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INTERVIEW: Christopher Eamon on Rearview Mirror exhibition

Added on by Alex Mirutziu.



A video of a Lithuanian officer reenacting the way he used to shoot missiles from a Russian base; an imprint of a dirt road; footage of a Serbian woman swaying to David Bowie's "Young Americans.”

These are some of the powerful images from the Art Gallery of Alberta’s newest exhibition, Rearview Mirror: New Art from Central and Eastern Europe, which portrays contemporary life in the region after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Featuring the work of 22 Central and Eastern European artists, it includes paintings, video installations and sculptures examining pop culture, everyday life and appropriation. Guest-curator Christopher Eamon, a New York writer and independent curator, hopes it will break old stereotypes of the region. Stereotypes that it is "banal … uniform. That it is lacking in some way." The new generation of artists, such as those featured at the AGA until April 29, he says, are “completely different than a clichéd concept of the East.”
Why should people come see this show?

I think they should see it because it's showing a different angle of the Eastern European art scene. It's hopefully going to be a revelation that dispels a lot of myths. It showcases the younger generation, who have really thrown off the historical shackles 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
What surprised you while you were putting this show together?

What I should have known is that each of these regions has totally distinct cultures; many of them speak very distinct languages. In terms of art, some have very deep avant-garde tendencies from the beginning of the century and some have none. We really have a totally diverse and divergent area and very quickly I learned that I am not making a representative show of the region […] What I am doing is, hopefully, showing how reality on the ground dispels the idea that there is such a thing as the East as we knew it.
What did you learn about these artists?

Appropriation — which has been very prevalent in Western contemporary art for decades […] Some of the artists from the East in this exhibition take that idea so far that they literally steal things, and that is fascinating. It kind of pushes the envelope.
What are some examples of things from this show that have been stolen?

There are sets of keys. There are staplers. There are all kinds of objects stolen directly from commercial galleries in the West. The art team Anetta Mona Chisa and Lucia Tkacova literally went and stole objects from commercial Western galleries. It is a comment on social disparity, actually. There is also an artist from Bulgaria, Ivan Moudov, who stole pieces of artwork from a gallery, but I am not going to name them because he might get in trouble.
Is it the region that ties the show together?

No. There are many artists from the region that are excellent. What really ties it all together is their approach to art-making. It's the pushing of the boundaries, the experimental nature, and I am calling it 'post-conceptual.' It is idea-driven. That is what is bringing them all together. 

                                  

A painting of a painting. Ukrainian artist Taras Polataiko, who is now based in Lethbridge, photographed pictures of work by Constructivist Kazimir Malevich from an art book. "They are glossy, so the light is reflecting back to the camera," Polataiko says. 

                                 

A work by Polish artist Anna Kolodziejska
                                

An video installation of Elvis's last concert before he died. A clip of obscure American musician Daniel Johnson singing about a ghost follows. "There is a lot of pathos in this," Eamon says. "It's about death and loss. One is an anti-hero and one is a hero."

REARVIEW MIRROR at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Added on by Alex Mirutziu.



REARVIEW MIRROR: New Art from Central and Eastern Europe opens January 28 – April 29, 2012 at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA). 


Coming of age during the rise of capitalism, 22 young artists challenge preconceptions of Central and Eastern Europe as a historical, social and political monolith.

This highly-anticipated exhibition features the work of 22 contemporary artists from 11 different Eastern European countries, whose work references the specific social and political histories of their respective homelands. Born mostly in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the artists comment on the political and social changes that have come to pass following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the socialist period of their parents’ generation. In doing so they dismantle stereotypical notions of Eastern Europe, and question the perception of it as being socially and culturally unified.

Instead, the artists in REARVIEW MIRROR draw upon a variety of sources, their different histories, geographies and cultures, as a means to reflect on the past but also comprehend the present. The conceptualization of political and social change is integral themes related to the works presented in the exhibition. 

This exhibition is guest-curated for the AGA by internationally-acclaimed curator, Christopher Eamon and produced in partnership with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto.


Presented by in Edmonton by Enbridge.

EXCLUSIVE MEDIA PREVIEW
Friday, January 27, 2 pm, Art Gallery of Alberta 

Itinerary: AGA REMARKS: Catherine Crowston, Acting Executive Director / Chief Curator

GUEST CURATOR: Christopher Eamon

ARTISTS: Taras Polataiko and Gintaras Didžiapetris will be in attendance and available for interviews.

Rearview Mirror: (Review Article) by Milena Tomic

Added on by Alex Mirutziu.

Identificatory scenarios abound in Rearview Mirror: New Art from Central and Eastern Europe, which is co-produced by The Power Plant Art Gallery in Toronto and the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton. As the site of a subject’s first encounter with their own image as Other, the mirror appears in both literal and figurative guise in a number of the works on display here. And yet the subjectivities invoked in Rearview Mirror resist familiar calls to identification. While the two Canadian venues will undoubtedly introduce well-established artists from the region to new audiences, visitors may not realize to what extent such work comes preloaded with ideological baggage. Historically, neo-avant-garde gestures under socialism were more resistant to being absorbed by market forces than those in the West for the simple reason that an art market did not exist there in the first place. The very different support structures available to artists meant that outwardly similar actions were potentially met with different political consequences and were thus dislocated from their more universalizing counterparts. In an analogous way, every artistic gesture was already politicized because of the context it appeared in.



Canadian-born and US-based curator Christopher Eamon brings together works by 23 younger artists in way that simultaneously utilizes and underplays the legacies of political repression and the realities of economic transition and the attendant problems of exclusion. Rearview Mirror is not about Eastern European art per se, but a vaguely triumphal “new” art whose practitioners have largely overcome the marginality that plagued their predecessors.

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Related posts:

· Alex Mirutziu - "Pop" video at ArtGallery of Alberta until April
· REARVIEW MIRROR at the ArtGallery of Alberta
· Alex Mirutziu in "The RearviewMirror" [catalogue]
· REARVIEW MIRROR: NEW ART FROM CENTRAL ANDEASTERN EUROPE // On view until    5 September, 2011
· Rearview Mirror at THE POWER PLANT - 1 July -5 September, 2011

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Eamon’s second tendency is “an attraction to popular culture as expressed in some of the globally dominant entertainment industries.” For example, Ciprian Mureşan’s Un Chien Andalou (2004) has characters from Shrekappropriate the eye-cutting scene from the Surrealist film, swapping grainy live action for slick 3D animation. Again in single-channel video, Alex Mirutziu’s Pop (2006-2007) re-imagines historical body art through the comparatively sedate act of a hand flipping through a fashion magazine. Both works create a sense of distance from the source material in ways that allow for extended contemplation not of typical Central and Eastern European concerns, but of the wider neoliberal context to which all such images belong.

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Read more:
www.artmargins.com/index.php/2-articles/643-rearview-mirror-new-art-from-central-and-eastern-europe
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Rearview Mirror at THE POWER PLANT - 1 July - 5 September, 2011

Added on by Alex Mirutziu.

Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, MANIFESTO OF THE FUTURIST WOMAN (LET’S CONCLUDE), 2008. Colour video with sound, 11:13 min. Produced by Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, 2008. Courtesy of the artists and Christine König Galerie, Vienna. Photo credits: Anetta Mona Chişa.

Works from a new generation of Central and Eastern European artists that engage post-conceptual strategies and collectively challenge accepted notions of the East as a social, political and art historical monolith.


Rearview Mirror – A large thematic exhibition that brings together the work of a new generation of artists from Central and Eastern Europe. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the practices included in this exhibition engage post-conceptual strategies and forms. Looking both to the past and to the future, the work of the 22 artists in Rearview Mirror collectively challenge accepted notions of Eastern Europe as a social, political and art historical monolith.


The exhibition is not all-inclusive or encyclopedic. Instead, it looks at the non-traditional practices of a younger generation of artists from the last decade, presenting an opportunity to view art works by relative newcomers such as Cyprian Muresan, Gintaras Dzidziapetris, and Anna Molska in the context of some of their contemporaries already known through international art circuits such as Paweł Althamer, Roman Ondák, and Wilhelm Sasnal. The exhibition is a co-presentation with the Art Gallery of Alberta. It travels to the AGA on Jan.
27-Apr. 29, 2012.


The project will be accompanied by a substantial publication with commissioned texts, copublished by The Power Plant and Art Gallery of Alberta, and the exhibition will be complimented by talks and other public programming.


Related posts:

REARVIEW MIRROR at the Art Gallery of Alberta
Alex Mirutziu in "The Rearview Mirror" [catalogue]
Alex Mirutziu - "Pop" video at Art Gallery of Alberta until April
Rearview Mirror: (Review Article) by Milena Tomic
REARVIEW MIRROR: NEW ART FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE // On view until 5 September, 2011



Artists:


Paweł Althamer (Poland),


Anetta Mona Chisa (Czech Rep., born Romania), 
Lucia Tkáčová (Slovakia), 
Dušica Dražić (Serbia), 
Gintaras Didžiapetris (Lithuania), 
Igor Eškinja (Croatia), 
Johnson & Johnson (Estonia), 
Anna Kołodziejska (Poland),
David Maljković (Croatia), 
Ján Mančuška (Czech Rep.), 
Dénes Miklósi (Romania), 
Alex Mirutziu (Romania), 
Anna Molska (Poland), 
Ivan Moudov (Bulgaria), 

Ciprian Muresan (Romania),
Deimantas Narkevičius (Lithuania), 
Roman Ondák (Slovakia),

Anna Ostoya (Poland), 
Taras Polataiko (Ukraine),
Wilhlem Sasnal (Poland)
Sislej Xhafa (Kosova),
Katarina Zdjelar (Serbia).

Curated by Christopher Eamon.