press release

Giving Meaning to Emptiness...
24.11.2017 - 22.12.2017
Opening: 24.11.2017 17:00, admission free
Elena Tsvetaeva, director of BB NCCA and Sergei Romashko, philologist, translator, a member of Collective Actions group will attend the opening of the exhibition.

Participating artists: Jiří Kovanda (Czech Republic), Andrei Monastyrsky (Russia), Ewa Partum (Poland) and Endre Tót (Hungary)
Curator: Martin Schibli

Contemporary art's history is in the process of being revised internationally, and has been for quite some time. The transformation is an advantage for conceptual art in general and especially for the art created in South America and in those countries which fell under Soviet control after 1945. Geographic areas which had earlier been natural parts of the heart of Europe, and had been important hubs in the development of culture and modernism in all of Europe, had been cut off from the rest of Europe's arts.

Many important museums—for example MOMA in New York—are now making great additions to their collections to fill the gaps that were created. It is not a question of completion of their collections, but rather an admission that there were several parallel developments within art in the post-war era. This revision of art history has thus far—with few exceptions—been neglected in Sweden and has not yet made a great impact.

The, Giving Meaning to Emptiness... presents four artists who, as art history is rewritten, have become obvious points of reference. Andrei Monastyrsky is by far one of Russia's most important contemporary artists, and is known for his work with collective performances. Artists Jiří Kovanda, from former Czechoslovakia, and Endre Tót, from Hungary, created their own spheres with their interventions in public spaces. Ewa Partum has worked in Poland with a combination of performance, conceptual art and a feminist position.

They are four artists who were of course working in different countries, but there were many parallels. The art in the countries within The Soviet Union's hemisphere developed parallel to and simultaneously differed from the art system which prevailed in the rest of Europe and in the USA. The possibilities for many of these conceptual artists to show their work were greatly limited. They held exhibitions in their homes or made interventions in public spaces. There were no private galleries to speak of and even less anything resembling a commercial art market. Many artists had to choose between being an official, state-approved artist, who could as such take commissions, offer services, have a studio, etc., or being not regarded as an artist at all, and having a public following consisting of a few dozen colleagues.

This exhibition was first initiated and presented by Martin Schibli presented at Växjö Konsthall, summer 2016.