Conference Diplomacy: Points East in Postsocialist Art History

10 December 2020, Institute of Advanced Studies UCL

An online seminar with Henry Meyric Hughes, Tracy Mackenna, Andrew Nairne, Marjetica Potrč and Nedko Solakov to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Points East conference on East European art.  Introduced and moderated by Maja and Reuben Fowkes. 

In December 1990 the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow brought together 138 artists, curators, critics, art historians, museum directors and officials from the UK and Eastern Europe for an ambitious conference to consider the implications for the arts of the dramatic political and economic changes brought by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Held in the open-minded and inquisitive spirit of the immediate post-Cold War period, this artworld gathering appears in retrospect as a critical point of departure for debates over the particularities and prospects of Eastern European art at the onset of the transition to the capitalist system. Confronting the prescient issues raised at the time, this seminar sets out to revaluate the significance of the Points East conference for a decentred, multilateral and postsocialist art history.

Henry Meyric Hughes is an independent curator and writer on art, Honorary President of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA, Paris) and Chair of the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC, Shanghai/ London).

Tracy Mackenna is an artist and educator, and an alumna of The Glasgow School of Art and The Hungarian University of Fine Arts. She exhibits internationally and has had solo exhibitions at the Barbican Centre, London, CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow and Arnolfini, Bristol.

Andrew Nairne is Director of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. In the 1980s and 1990s, as a curator in Glasgow, he organised exhibitions with artists from Eastern Europe and supported the rise of a new generation of British artists.

Marjetica Potrč is an artist and architect based in Ljubljana. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the Americas, including in such major exhibitions as the Venice Biennial (1993, 2003, 2009, 2021) and the São Paulo Biennial (1996, 2006).

Nedko Solakov is an artist living in Sofia. He has exhibited extensively, including at Aperto’93 (Venice Biennial), the 48th, 49th, 50th and 52nd Venice Biennial, the 3rd, 4th and 9th Istanbul Biennial; Manifesta 1, Rotterdam; documenta 12 and dOCUMENTA (13).

Maja and Reuben Fowkes are co-directors of the Postsocialist Art Centre at the Institute of Advanced Studies UCL and founders of the Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art. They are the authors of Central and Eastern European Art Since 1950 in Thames & Hudson’s World of Art series.  

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