The Green Bloc

Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism
ISBN 978-963-386-068-7
ISBN 978-615-5225-92-5
Publication date: 
308 pages ISBN 978-615-5225-92-5 paperback $40.00

Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism, The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, Maja Fowkes’s innovative research brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology. Embedding artistic production in social, political, and environmental histories of the region, this book reveals the artists’ sophisticated relationship to nature, at the precise moment when ecological crisis was first apprehended on a planetary scale.

"As Fowkes notes, the book is 'intended as a contribution to the environmental history of art' and it 'considers the intricate artistic practices formulated as responses to perceived transformations in the environment as a result of ecological crisis, which in the early 1970s was for the first time felt to exceed national borders and span the globe'. This book is a rare example of research on the history of environmental concerns at the cross-section of art and politics from the 'other side' of the Iron Curtain. It is a welcome addition to the growing body of Anthropocene studies, as well as the history of East and Central European art."

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