The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism

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Central European University Press, Jun 30, 2015 - Art - 308 pages

This book examines the approaches of renowned Central European artists to the natural environment, uncovering an up till now largely unrecognized aspect of their work, which has regularly been analyzed through socio-political contexts, but rarely in terms of ecology. It focuses on the period after 1968, which not only brought changes to the political landscape of Eastern Europe, but shifted artistic practice towards conceptualism and was instrumental in spreading environmental consciousness. It comparatively investigates artists and artist groups from Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic, at the moment when art exited the gallery and entered the natural environment, while socialist governments attempted to keep control over information about the real state of environmental pollution and block globally emerging ecological discourse. Apart from embedding artistic production in social, political and environmental histories of the region, this book also addresses the problem of art history as a discipline under socialism, presents a more complete picture of its neo-avant-garde art and constitutes an unprecedented application of the ecological paradigm to art history. It demonstrates the creativity, inventiveness and astuteness of Central European artists whose vision could not be controlled by any imposed borders at the dawn of global awareness of ecological crisis.


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About the author (2015)

Maja Fowkes is art historian and curator, co- founder of the Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art, a new centre for transnational research into East European art and ecology based in Budapest that operates across the disciplinary boundaries of art history, contemporary art and ecological thought.

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