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Texts

Intentionally Contemporary

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
In Bookmarks: Revisiting Hungarian Art of the 1960s and 1970s, edited Katalin Szekely (London: Koenig Books, 2019)

Catalogue text investigating how in spite of the obstacles posed by the Iron Curtain and the only slightly softer borders between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Hungarian neo-avant-garde artists seized opportunities to share in processes of artistic exchange and contribute to the expansion of transnational art movements. 

Feeling the Curve of the Earth: Deviant Democracies and Ecological Uncertainties

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
In Mutating Ecologies in Contemporary Art, edited by Christian Alonsol (Barcelona: University of Barcelona Press, 2019)

A publication engaged in thinking about the conjunction of the ecological turn in contemporary art and the attention given to matter in recent humanist scholarship as a way of exploring how new configurations of the world suggest new ways of being and acting in that world.

The Post-National in East European Art: From Socialist Internationalism to Transnational Communities

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Published in Ana Janevski, Roxana Marcoci and Ksenia Nouril, eds, Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Anthology (New York, MoMA, 2018)

Explores the specific trajectory of globalisation in Eastern Europe where some traditions of socialist internationalism are more deeply embedded than the widespread and much discussed ideas of postcolonialist multiculturalism.

Liberty Controlled: Institutional Settings of the East European Neo-avant-garde

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
In Sándor Hornyik, Edit Sasvári and Hedwig Turai, eds, Doublespeak: Hungarian Art of the 1960s and 1970s (London: Thames & Hudson, 2018)

 Across Eastern Europe the neo-avant-garde, which was characterised by a desire to experiment with innovative artistic forms and test the boundaries of the established institutional structures around the revolutionary conjuncture of 1968, was at the same time obliged to negotiate its position within the complex systems of control and containment devised by the socialist state. 

Cracks in the Planet: Geo-ecological Matter in East European Art

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
In Urska Jurman et al, eds, Extending the Dialogue (Ljubljana: Igor Zabel Association, 2017)

Attentiveness towards rocks, earth, mud and the surface of the planet, with their deep history and immediate materiality, as well as appreciation of the transformative perspective provided by the immensity of geological time, belonged to the shared pool of conceptual props that East European neo-avant-garde artist drew from. This became evident around the watershed year of 1968, when worries about the environmental destruction of the planet also crystallized, marking the beginning of global ecological concern which has intensified over time. If we were to analyse geological materials present in such art practice, what hidden sediments of East European art history would they reveal? 

Working with Trouble: Reassembled Landscapes of History and Nature

By Maja Fowkes
In Natural Histories (Vienna: Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK, 2018)

The reconfiguration of the landscapes of history is considered in this contribution through artistic projects that have focused on specific turbid instances of historical and natural conjunctures, whether by revisiting the sites of wartime terror, uncovering the material residue of those conflicts, or by disclosing their natural afterlives. 

Experiments in Untamed Creativity: Anthropology as a Tool in Tamás Kaszás’ Practice

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
In Exercises in Autonomy, exh. cat. (Lodz: Muzeum Sztuki, 2016)

Tamás Kaszás’s artistic practice revolves around anthropological propositions that destabilise the boundaries between nature and culture, wild and domesticated, indigenous and modern, technological and crafted, placing the question of the ‘anthropos’ in the foreground. 

The Primeval Cosmic River

The Primeval Cosmic River and Its Ecological Realities: On the Curatorial Project Danube River School
By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Published in Geohumanities 

As the longest river in the heart of the European continent, the Danube has been a recurrent topic for artists, writers, poets, filmmakers, and theorists, and whether their accounts linger in the national realm of one of the ten countries through which the river passes, or follow its transnational flow,

Eastern Europe can be Yours!

'Eastern Europe Can Be Yours! Alternative Art of the Eighties,'
By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Published in Afterall (September 2017)

In spite of its reputation as the decade of the ‘return of painting’, the overriding characteristic of the art of the East European eighties was its pluralism, which also accounts for its resistance to strict definition. 

Placing Bookmarks

Placing Bookmarks: The Institutionalisation and De-Institutionalisation of Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde and Contemporary Art, Tate Papers, no.26 (2016)

The recent interest in avant-garde art from Hungary shown by international museums such as Tate has been paralleled by transformations to the country’s art institutions as a consequence of sweeping political changes. This essay contextualises these changes in relation to the expanding global market for art from the region, and examines the impact that initiatives by private galleries as well as artists and curators are having on the writing of a critical history of Hungarian art.