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eng. DONAUMONARCHIE 3rd ANNUAL EXHIBITION OF BILLBOART GALLERY EUROPE we cordially invite you to the opening held on the 23rd March 2006 at 8PM in the storehouse space of Selfstorage on Kopčianska st. 17 in Bratislava (behind train station Petržalka; Bus No. 80 or 99, bus stop Závod Matador) conception: Mira Keratová and Lucia Tkáčová participating artists: Zbyněk Baladrán (CZ) Pavol Čejka (SK) Miklos Erhardt (HU) Kurt Plasto (BIH) Kristina Leko (CRO) Marek Meduna (CZ) Michal Moravčík (SK) Ilona Németh (SK) Dan Perjovschi (RO) Rafani (CZ) Isa Rosenberger (A) Janek Simon (PL) Milan Tittel (SK) exhibition lasts until 31 st May 2006 more info at 00421 (0) 905 511 582, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.billboart.org project is supported by Akzent Media, Ministry of Culture SR, Repro Bittner, Selfstorage Point of departure thesis of public art exhibition Donaumonarchie is critical reflection of the idea of Central Europe. Focus is placed on questions and rethinking of the identity of this specific geopolitical space and in this context go in search for intersections and changing relations within the structural framework of culture vs. politics, economics and ideology of this particular region. The title of the project corresponds with one of the leitmotifs of Central-European discursus – the nostalgia of Habsburg myth, often coming from the idea of harmonious multiculturalism in particular. However the exhibition brings back more recent focus of so called Central-Europeanism too, which is the common experience of individual states with communistic dictatorship. Nevertheless the utopian – nostalgic idea of Central Europe is similarly as that from times of Iron Curtain, and in spite of continuing process of European integration, considered to be an instrument of affiliation to Europe as such. Geographical – historical base, the context and the countries of former Habsburg monarchy / former socialistic Ost block / today´s New Europe, serve as a basic platform for the project outline. The exhibition articulates geopolitical relations of selected countries for which became significant frequent change of regimes and reality of individual states under long lasting political control of other units, or foreign authorities; states for centuries being object not subject of their own destiny. Thus the ambition of the Donaumonarchie project is to define territory - quickly, helpfully, flexibly and in accordance with adopted models, developing from socialistic totalitarism to neoliberalism, or rather radical capitalism; territory with problematic historical and cultural identity, lack of authentic (political, economical or even artistic) structures, suffering with remote witnessing as a destiny of periphery. In the context of the historical base of the project, the drawing Past made by Dan Perjovschi (RO), comments on the causal processes of the future, determined by the past. Ilona Németh (SK) defines the Donaumonarchie territory in Untitled, a text handwritten by her grandfather Gyula Szabó “I was born in the Austrian - Hungarian Monarchy, went to school in Czechoslovakia, got married in Hungary, live in Slovakia and never moved away from the place of my birth”. The appeal by Paľo Čejka (SK), agitating for the return of the multicultural Monarchy, is constructed as an ironic quasi revisionistic demand, based on the nostalgic identification of (elitarist) monarchistic principles with moral values insufficiently guaranteed by the current society. The centralist structure of the Monarchy as a powerful foundation with satellite spheres of influence is addressed by the project AEIOU made by the group Kurt Plasto (BIH), which offers a pool of mutated german words still used in the Bosnian language, since the times of the Austrian - Hungarian reign. The letters AEIOU refer to the slogan "Alle Erde Ist Oestereich Unterthan" (The whole Earth is Austria subordinated). The work Readymade of Michal Moravčík (SK) reassess the postmonarchic situation in a differnet way. Showing an original souvenir sticker of The Great Hungary, it reflects the surviving of the post-Trianon tension in the area of the states of the historic Hungary and refers to the revisionsit efforts of the nationalist streems in today’s Hungary. A recernt local (Slovak) geopolitical situation is addressed by the porject Ország! by Marek Meduna (CZ). The drawing of the ex- Czechoslovakian, current Czech flag, is accompanied by a directive slogan Kiss the flag! Through the prism of the possible lack of national self-esteem, or through the deposits of past unequal positions, such a reminiscence could be read as a provocation of tense nationalist feelings, nurtured in Slovakia in the nineties, right after the split of the federation. The work Filko made by the group Rafani (CZ), touches the Czechoslovakian context as well, named after an imporant figure of the Slovak unofficial scene of the sixties, Stano Filko. Rafani used an original hapsoc artefact from Filko’s Action Universal (in the framework of which the author appropriated the whole territory of CSSR with all emotions, seasons, music, future, etc.) and added a sentence “The Action Universal ended on the 31.12.1992“, which strictly ends the duration of Filko’s readymade event. Thus, the Filko’s work is reinterpreted by a new delimitation. The reconstruction of the future by Zbyněk Baladrán (CZ), showing a series of photographs of spreads of an older book on architecture, re-evaluates the examples of socialist architecture from the seventies located in Bratislava, built with the vehemence of those times, at the accord of the original estate. It presents architecture, which is, due to the context and ideological burden it represents heavily underestimated and urbanistically surpressed; its perception is, similarly to the era of its origin, accompanied by the rejection of the past. Milan Tittel ’s (SK) work Skin follows a previously made object, one of the author’s variations of works based on the idea of skin as a topography. On the hyperrealist enlargement of a skin fragment, a scar of an obligatory antitetanus vaccination is visible; a landcape is created by the uncongenial enlargement. A sociological overlap of this readymade label lies in its iconography of a stigma of one generation, reminiding of the collective identity of former ´Ostblock´. Bob Dylan Instrumental by Miklós Erhardt (HU) recycles the famous Lenin’s slogan Who is not with us is against us, appropraited by Stalin and consequently spread in the satellite states of Middle Europe. The slogan was in late sixties trasformed into a more inclusive Who is not against us is with us; signalling the era of socialism with human face. The author’s other, even more radical variations, relativize the impact of the original version, thus addressing the strategies of an idiotic political manipulation. Besides the historical references, Bob Dylan Instrumental refers to the example of american policies after the terrorist attacks, establishing connections to the statements of G.W. Bush about the nature of relations between USA and the countries of the New Europe. The european context and given relationships between the East, the West and the Central are addressed by the drawing Central by Dan Perjovschi (RO), which in a sarcastic shortcut pictures the character of unequal positions of the superior West, inferior East and the Central as the point of friciton. Isa Rosenberger (A) choses a different approach to the given problem and works with a particular example of mental Iron Curtain, existing between the geographically closest capitals Bratislava and Vienna. Using the agit-prop aesthetics, she poses a question (in Slovak and German languages) What do you think is the distance between Bratislava and Vienna? Kristina Leko (CRO) expones another particular problem, polemizing the image of Europe as a compact entity, providing a protection for diversity. She quotes an excerpt from the Declaration of Zagreb Milkmaids, that is a part of a wider communication and documentary project CHEESE & CREAM; an initiative to protect the milkmaids of Zagreb as a cultural herritage (www.cheeseandcream.org). Janek Simon (PL) holds a resigned attitude towards the solving of the tension between the East and West (over-sensitively perceived in the East). His slogan Artists go to Berlin with a performative accent, communicates a personal message of the author, articulating a general experience of own lack of exoticism, resulting in a lack of interest in East-European entities (from the point of view of West-European neocolonialism) compared to attractive pheripheries like China, India, Africa or Russia. Re-evaluating the possible approach to the problem from the position of strengthening own identity, Simon’s solution is to freely identify and accept the reality of a periphery. The territories which during the history of national states search for own Centre of Europe, a midpoint impeaching the status of a periphery, as demostrated in The centres of Europe made by Ilona Németh (SK).
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