Orient. “The New East” in Central Eastern European Art
The exhibition Orient in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art is a meditation on the Central and Eastern European identity. It considers the failure of its own identity to be the unifying aspect of this unclear region. The contradictory longing for pride and patriotism and at the same time, the feeling of being ashamed of where we come from that leads to the suppression and negation of this belongingness.
The exhibition is part of the Trauma & Revival. The Post-War Era in the Art of Eastern and Western Europe international project supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe framework programme.
Darja Bajagić, Wojciech Bąkowski, Matei Bejenaru, Piotr Bosacki, Pavel Brăila, Veronika Bromová, Jan Brož, Jiří Černický, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Matyáš Chochola, Romana Drdová, Habima Fuchs, Anežka Hošková, Jasanský & Polák, Atis Jākobsons, Zsófia Keresztes, Aurora Király, Adrian Kiss, Adam Kokesch, Jiří Kovanda, Václav Litvan, Piotr Łakomy, Pavla Malinová, David Maljković, Jimena Mendoza, Gizela Mickiewicz, Marge Monko, Vlad Nancă, Ioana Nemeş, Alice Nikitinová, Richard Nikl, Pakui Hardware, Julius Reichel, Dragana Sapanjoš, Jiří Skála, Adéla Součková, Petr Štembera, Аvdej Ter-Oganyan, Mark Ther, Viktor Timofeev, Jerzy Truszkowski, Emöke Vargová, Martin Vongrej, Jana Želibská
This exhibition has chosen a projection of the obviously problematic title to constitute the ironical, self-deprecating identity of the “East European (br)Other.” It claims this contradictory “Oedipal relation” by both refusing and craving it as key constituents of the in-between-ness of Eastern (Bloc, Central, post-communist, New, etc.) Europe.
It sees the need for patriotism in a positive way. The kind of patriotism that allows for reflection on the stereotypes, which we all need and with which we live; the kind of patriotism that is both ironical and at the same time, entirely serious. A sense of belonging to a place, rather than a nation. A new mythology, which is creating a sense of space in an economy where space is the most expensive asset.
Built on expectations, desires, stories, experiences, and stereotypes, it stages a drama that takes viewers through five scenes, or five genres, following the dialectics of the region’s development since the end of the 1980s. A muddle of the most ironical and the most earnest intentions for creating a new museum of (in)famous national histories. A therapeutic re-enactment of our surprises, victories, traumas, and humiliations. A dark satirical comedy of The Fateful Adventures in the non-existent region after The End of History. An appropriation of our own insults as a mode of emancipation but also as a mode of self-reflection.
This exhibition is not a map, nor is it a survey, but rather a subjective journey observed from a point in space and time and constructed with artists that have been chosen not because of their nationality or language but based on a relationship. It aims not for equality but rather for inclusion.
curator: Michal Novotný
co-curator: Anna Bargiel
coordinator: Renata Zawartka
curatorial cooperation and coordination: Gabriela Brdej
design: Agata Biskup
venue: Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, ground floor and 1st floor
The Orient is co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from Fund for the Promotion of Culture.
project partners: Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow (Moscow, Russia), ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe, Germany), Kim? Contemporary Art Centre (Riga, Latvia), Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella, Italy), Gallery ROSIZO (Moscow, Russia), Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art (Krakow, Poland), Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (Moscow, Russia), BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts (Brussels, Belgium), University of Jyväskylä (Jyväskylä, Finland)
co-organizers: Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts