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Antipolitics in Central European Art : Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989
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In this bold book Klara Kemp-Welch offers a compelling account of the way that artists in Central Europe embraced alternative forms of action-based practice, just as their dissident counterparts were formulating alternative models of politics – in particular an ‘antipolitics’ of self organization. Spanning a period punctuated by landmark events – the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the invasion of Czechoslavakia in 1968 and the birth of the Polish Solidarity movement – while presenting powerful new readings of six key artists, Antipolitics in Central European Art anchors art historical analysis to a robust historical framework. Its rich illustrations reveal how those artists struggled to enjoy freedom of expression and reclaim public space inside a political system where both seemed impossible.
Art historians have tended to frame late socialist central European art as either ?totalitarian? or ?transitional?. This bold new book challenges this established viewpoint, contending that the artists of this era cannot be simply caricatured as dissident heroes, or easily subsumed into the formalist Western canon. Klara Kemp-Welch offers a compelling account of the ways in which artists in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary embraced alternative forms of action-based practice just as their dissident counterparts were formulating alternative models of politics?in particular, an ?antipolitics? of self-organization by society. Drawing on Václav Havel?s claim that ?even a word is capable of a certain radiation, of leaving a mark on the ?hidden consciousness of a community??, the author argues that all independent artistic initiatives in themselves served as a vehicle for opposition, playing a part in the rebirth of civil society in the region. In doing so, she makes a case for the moral and political coherence of Central European art, theory and oppositional activism in the late-socialist period and for the region?s centrality to late-twentieth century intellectual and cultural history.This richly illustrated study reveals the struggle of Central European artists to enjoy freedom of expression and to reclaim public space, from within a political situation where both seemed impossible.
Number of Pages: 325
Genre: Art, Political Science
Publisher: Tauris Academic Studies
Author: Klara Klemp-welch
Street Date: August 30, 2017
Item Number (DPCI): 247-45-7852
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