Art beyond Borders

Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945–1989)
$95.00 / €83.00 / £64.00
Publication date: 
530 pages incl. 27 black and white illustrations and 24 pages color gallery

This book presents and analyzes artistic interactions both within the Soviet bloc and with the West between 1945 and 1989. During the Cold War the exchange of artistic ideas and products united Europe’s avant-garde in a most remarkable way. Despite the Iron Curtain and national and political borders there existed a constant flow of artists, artworks, artistic ideas and practices. The geographic borders of these exchanges have yet to be clearly defined. How were networks, centers, peripheries (local, national and international), scales, and distances constructed? How did (neo)avant-garde tendencies relate with officially sanctioned socialist realism?

The literature on the art of Eastern Europe provides a great deal of factual knowledge about a vast cultural space, but mostly through the prism of stereotypes and national preoccupations. By discussing artworks, studying the writings on art, observing artistic evolution and artists’ strategies, as well as the influence of political authorities, art dealers and art critics, the essays in Art beyond Borders compose a transnational history of arts in the Soviet satellite countries in the post war period.

List of Illustrations

1. Introduction: Geography of Internationalism

Jérôme Bazin, Pascal Dubourg Glatigny, and Piotr Piotrowski 

Part I: Moving People 

2. The Moscow Underground Art Scene in an International Perspective

Lola Kantor-Kazovsky 

3. The British Art Critic and the Russian Sculptor: The Making of John Berger’s Art and Revolution

Kai Artinger

 4. Pop Art in the GDR: Willy Wolff’s Dialogue with the West

Sigrid Hofer 

5. Twinkling Networks, Invisible Ties: On the Unofficial Contacts of Byelorussian Artists in the 1980s

Aliona Gloukhova

 6. Chocolate, Pop and Socialism: Peter Ludwig and the GDR

Boris Pofalla

 7. Gabriele Mucchi’s Career Paths in Italy, Czechoslovakia and the GDR

Fabio Guidali

 8. The Murals by Spanish Exile Josep Renau in Halle-Neustadt, a Socialist Town Built for Chemical Workers in the GDR

Anja Jackes

 9. Women Artists’ Trajectories and Networks within the Hungarian Underground Art Scene and Beyond

Beata Hock

 10. Heightened Alert: The Underground Art Scene in the Sights of the Secret Police—Surveillance Files as a Resource for Research into Artists’ Activities in the Underground of the 1960s and 1970s

Kata Krasznahorkai

 Part II: Moving Objects

 11. Remapping Socialist Realism: Renato Guttuso in Poland

Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius

 12. Picasso behind the Iron Curtain: From the History of the Postwar Reception of Pablo Picasso in East-Central Europe

Piotr Bernatowicz

 13. On Propagarde: The Late Period of the Romanian Artist M. H. Maxy

Erwin Kessler

 14. Realism and Internationalism: On Neuererdiskussion by Willi Neubert (1969)

Jérôme Bazin 

15. Socialist Realism in Greece (1944–67)

Costas Baroutas

 16. Constructive-Concrete Art in the GDR, Poland, and Hungary

Doris Hartmann

 17. Nationalizing Modernism: Exhibitions of Hungarian and Czechoslovakian Avant-garde in Warsaw

Piotr Piotrowski

 18. Avant-garde Construction: Leonhard Lapin and His Concept of Objective Art

Mari Laanemets 

19. Fluxus in Prague: The Koncert Fluxu of 1966

Petra Stegmann

 20. International Contact with Mail Art in the Spirit of Peaceful Coexistence: Birger Jesch’s Mail Art Project (1980–81)

Stefanie Schwabe

 Part III: Gathering People

 21. (Socialist) Realism Unbound: The Effects of International Encounters on Soviet Art Practice and Discourse in the Khrushchev Thaw

Susan E. Reid

 22. “Friendly Atmospheres”? The Union Internationale des Architectes between East and West in the 1950s

Alexandra Köhring

 23. Zagreb as the Location of the “New Tendencies” International Art Movement (1961–73)

Ljilana Kolesnik

 24. The Graphic Arts Biennials in the 1950s and 1960s: The Slim “Cut” in the Iron Curtain—The Bulgarian Case

Irina Genova

 25. The Biennale der Ostseeländer: The GDR’s Main International Arts Exhibition

Elke Neumann

 26. Czechoslovakia at the Venice Biennale in the 1950s

Veronika Wolf

 27. “Biennale of Dissent” (1977): Nonconformist Art from the USSR in Venice

Jan May

 28. Correcting the Czech(oslovakian) Error: The Cooperation of Hungarian and Czechoslovakian Artists in the Face of the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia

Magdalena Radomska

 29. Crossing the Border: The Foksal Gallery from Warsaw in Lausanne/Paris (1970) and Edinburgh (1972 and 1979)

Thomas Skowronek

 30. To Each Their Own Reality: The Art of the FRG and the GDR at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1981

Mathilde Arnoux

 Part IV: Defining Europe

 31. Moscow–Paris–Havana–Mexico, 1945–60

Serge Fauchereau

 32. A Dying Colonialism, a Dying Orientalism: Algeria, 1952

Sarah Wilson

 33. Global Socialist Realism: The Representation of Non-European Cultures in Polish Art of the 1950s

Andrzej Szczerski

 34. The Influence of Käthe Kollwitz on Chinese Creation: Between Expressionism and Revolutionary Realism

Estelle Bories

 35. The Eastern Connection: Depictions of Soviet Central Asia

Aliya Abykayeva-Tiesenhausen

 36. The Visualization of the Third Way in Tito’s Yugoslavia

Tanja Zimmermann

 List of Contributors


"À l’origine de cet ouvrage collectif, il y a la volonté des éditeurs Jérôme Bazin, Pascal Dubourg Glatigny et Piotr Piotrowski (1952-2015), de contribuer à un mouvement de décloisonnement en favorisant les croisements des outils, des méthodes, des angles d’analyse et des objets d’étude de chercheurs(-ses) éloignés en termes géographiques et disciplinaires. En encourageant une appréhension transnationale et circulatoire de l’art dans l’Europe communiste et au-delà, Art beyond Borders s’inscrit dans une démarche scientifique proche de celle du programme de recherche Art@s dirigé par Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel et Catherine Dossin, qui contribue actuellement à un renouvellement de l’écriture de l’Histoire de l’art, envisagée dans une perspective globale et interconnectée. Les éditeurs signalent « le déplacement de la guerre idéologique de l’Europe vers le Tiers monde, vers des contextes où les “États modernes” étaient encore à créer, particulièrement en Asie et en Afrique ». L’exemple... more
"Les riches et diverses propositions scientifiques développées sur 520 pages fournissent des points de vue multiples sur les circulations artistiques et les pratiques de la production artistique en Europe de l'Est lors de la guerre froide. Cette fragmentation rend complexe la lecture du livre dans son intégralité et dans l'ordre proposé par les éditeurs. Cependant, elle est compatible avex l'ambition des éditeurs, qui, en ressemblant cés contirbutions, construisent ä leur tour une cartographie de recherche comparable dans sa diversité ä la cartographie des échanges artistiques ä travers les frontieres européennes de la période 1945-1989. L'ouvrage ne définit pas l'art du 'bloc de l'Est', mais tente au contraire d'en déconstruire une définition trop figée, ce qui constitue une contribution importante ä la réorientation de la recherche dans la domaine."