The Green Bloc

Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism
Author: 
ISBN: 
ISBN 978-963-386-068-7
cloth
$75.00 / €65.00 / £60.00
ISBN: 
ISBN 978-615-5225-92-5
paperback
$29.99 / €25.00 / £22.50
ISBN: 
Kindle edition is available through Amazon
Publication date: 
2015
308 pages

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.

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. Abstract Elements in the Industrial Environment: The Land Art of the Hungarian Group Pécs Workshop
2. The Cosmic Environment of the Slovenian Group OHO
3. Ecology of the Socialist City: The Public Art of the Croatian Group TOK
4. Correlations of Geography, Ecology, and Cosmology in the Conceptual Practice of Slovak Artist Rudolf Sikora
5. Embodied Environmental Awareness in the Performative Practice of Czech Artist Petr Štembera

Bibliography
Illustration Credits
Index

"At the end of the book, Fowkes writes that the attitudes and approaches to the environment of the young generation of Central European artists were on the one hand synchronous with other artistic impulses from around the globe which voiced unprecedented awareness of the looming ecological crisis, while on the other hand the specific circumstances in which the many filters of the Iron Curtain acutely influenced the flow of information and exchange resulted in exceptional contributions to the convergence of art and ecology. 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."
"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."