How We Talk About East-European Art?

lectures and round table discussion

Text Information/
Picture Gallery/

lectures by
Lucy Steeds (Afterall, London) and
Jelena Vesić (Haus der Kunst, Munich)
followed by a discussion with the lecturers and
Daniel Grúň (VŠVU, Bratislava), Mira Keratová (curator and art historian, Bratislava) and moderated by Zsuzsa László (, Budapest)

date: February 16, 2017 at 5pm
venue: A4 – space for contemporary culture, Karpatská 2, Bratislava

Before the event, a guided tour of the exhibition Sitting Together by the exhibition curator Zsuzsa László will take place in tranzit/sk (Beskydská 12, Bratislava) at 4pm.

This event organised in connection with the exhibition Sitting Together endeavours to unpack the propositions of “exhibition history” as an autonomous and interdisciplinary field of research and discusses how the geo-political concepts at our disposal should be reinterpreted from this perspective.

Lucy Steeds' lecture will reflect on work in the field of exhibition histories, with specific reference to the books in Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series while she will also invite critique regarding their contribution to the field. In her lecture, she will discuss the challenges of addressing international and transnational narratives, which she sees as imperative with regard to recent history, while venturing some thoughts on how 'East-European’ art has been and might yet be considered.

Jelena Vesić’s lecture The Persistence of Independent Culture on the East and Internal Contradictions of Contemporary Independence will analyse and provide contemporary interpretations for the terms “independence” and “self-organisation”, very often used in connection with the East-European art scenes of the 1960s and 70s. With critical readings of the usual binary categories such as official art vs. alternative art, Jelena Vesić will discuss historical and present examples of “independence” in relation to the cultural institutions of the “really existing socialism”, and current globalised, post-socialist and latest-capitalist societies.

The round table featuring the participation of the lecturers as well as of Daniel Grúň and Mirá Keratova, contributors to Sitting Together, will be moderated by Zsuzsa László ( and will discuss the development and critique of the discourse on "East European Art" and the validity of geographical/regional categories in the field of exhibition history.

Lucy Steeds is Senior Research Fellow for Afterall at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London (UAL). She has a PhD in Cultural History from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She manages the Exhibition Histories strand of Afterall’s research and publishing, teaches on the MRes Art: Exhibition Studies course at CSM and convenes the training programme for doctoral students in art and design across UAL. Her recent books include: The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? (co-edited with Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson), MIT Press, 2016; and Exhibition (for the Documents of Contemporary Art series), Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press, 2014. She worked as a curator at Arnolfini in Bristol (1998–2004) and on more recent initiatives such as the Magiciens de la Terre: Reconsidered film programme at Tate Modern.

Jelena Vesić is an independent curator, writer, editor, and lecturer. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Arts, Belgrade and is currently a researcher and Goethe Institute fellow at Haus der Kunst Munich, where she is working with Okwui Enwezor on the topic Postcolonial: 1955-1980. She was co-editor of Prelom—Journal of Images and Politics (2001–2010) and co-founder of the independent organization Prelom Kolektiv. She is active in the field of publishing, research and exhibition practice that intertwines political theory and contemporary art and is co-editor of the Red Thread journal and a member of the editorial board of Art Margins. Her latest curatorial projects include: Oktobar XXX: Exposition–Symposim–Performance (2012–2013); On Undercurrents of Negotiating Artistic Jobs – Between Love and Money, Between Money and Love (2013–2014); and Exhibition on Work and Laziness (2012–2015).

Mira Keratová is art historian and curator. Some of her recent curatorial projects include the research project Working Memory (tranzit, Bratislava 2009–2015); Stano Filko, (…) IN – 5. 4. 3. D.  – (…) (Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples 2014); retrospective of Ľubomír Ďurček, Situational Models of Communication (SNG, Bratislava 2013), among others. She completed PhD thesis on performative art of 60s’ and 70s’ and its documentation in 2015 (AFAD, Bratislava). Currently she works as curator at the Central Slovakian Gallery in Banská Bystrica and as freelance curator.

Daniel Grúň is an art historian, curator, writer and art critic. In 2009 he completed his Ph.D. thesis and published a book titled Archeológia výtvarnej kritiky. Slovenské umenie šesťdesiatych rokov a jeho interpretácie [The Archeology of Art Criticism. Slovak Art of the 1960s and its Interpretations]. He conducts research in the fields of Slovak Conceptual art, East European art histories as well as archival and documentary practices in contemporary art. Currently he works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theory and History of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, and as a researcher at the Július Koller Society (since 2009).

ERSTE Foundation is the main partner of tranzit.

This project has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.

The project has been also supported by the Grant Scheme of Bratislava Self-Governing Region.

Photo from the magazine Pages, 1970, Winter, p 39, Archive of L. Beke

Sitting Together - Parallel Chronologies of Coincidences in Eastern Europe