Tallinn Print Triennial is not going to organizing a special conference this time as simultaneously with the opening of the exhibition, IMPACT 5 - the International Printmaking Conference "Slices of Time" will take place in Tallinn.
Tallinn Print Triennial will organize at IMPACT 5 conference a panel session moderated by Anders Härm:
THURSDAY, 18. OCTOBER
THE KADRIORG PALACE
15.30-18.00 Panel session: POLITICAL / POETICAL
Chair: Anders Härm (Estonia)
15.30-15.45 gathering and introduction by Anders Härm
15.45-16.05 Jan Kaus (Estonia) yet untitled paper
16.05-16.25 Anders Kreuger (Sweden). 1987
16.25-16.45 Mihnea Mircan (Romania). “Memosphere. Rethinking Monuments”.
17.00-17.20 Gerald Raunig (Austria). Transversal Politics/Poetics
17.20-17.40 Brian Holmes (USA / France) The World Metaphor, Possible Futures of the Public Exhibition
The main aim of the seminar is to explore the themes posed by the exhibition ”Political / Poetical”. In general these questions are of the relations of political and poetical in contemporary artistic praxis and in the cultural field in general. And we are also interested in the relation of poetics/politics with the historic tradition of printmaking.
The subject of the exhibition has many directly and indirectly related topics that within the framework of the seminar will be addressed by the speakers- the question of the political awareness of contemporary poetry, the relations of idiosyncratic dimensions and escape strategies in the Baltic Soviet print making, revisiting the politics of memory expressed by monuments. But also the return of the conservative, non-political ideologies of art as expressed by Documenta 12
We are inviting Brian Holmes (an independent wiriter and cultural critic based in Paris), Jan Kaus (Estonian writer), Anders Kreuger (curator at the Lund Konsthall and organiser of the sub exhibition “1987” for the 14th Tallinn Print Triennial), Mihnea Mircan (curator at MNAC, Bucharest) and Gerald Raunig (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies, Vienna) to reflect and explore the themes of the seminar.
Anders Härm, Estonia
Anders Härm (born 1977) is a curator currently working at the Kunsthalle Tallinn (Tallinn Art Hall). He was the curator of Estonian National Pavilion at the Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale di Venezia in 2000 and at the Art Exhibition in 2003. He is a lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts and a member of troubleproductions. His recent curated projects include exhibitions such as “Crime and Punishment” and “New Wave. Estonian Art of the 21st Century” (together with Hanno Soans) at the Kunsthalle Tallinn.
Synopsis for an yet untitled paper
One can easily claim, that political poetry is always depending on the politics, which it is describing or attacking. Thus this kind of poetry would usually not last for long, because majority of the political events and figures will not manage to become a part of the history or memory. On the other hand, although the politicians are not usually discussing timeless themes, politics itself is certainly a significant part of the structure of any human society. So - instead searching the politics inside the poetry, I would prefer to discuss about the poetry with a clear social awareness. Poetry, which is trying to face the larger substance of the society, in which it is created. And it is quite obvious, that concerning the contemporary Estonia, the recent years have given a remarkable amount of socially aware poetry. One can even say, that this amount would seem unusual...
CV: Jan Kaus (b. 1971), Estonian novelist, poet, critic and essayist; author of six books. The chairman of the Estonian Writers´ Union 2004 - 2007.
Abstract 30 May 2007
When I was asked, a couple of years ago, to curate the Baltic segment of the 14th Tallinn Printmaking Triennial I hesitated a little. I had no specific curatorial expertise in printmaking, one of the main streams of mainstream 20th century art but also an art form that has long seemed to lag behind the others and use yesterday’s images today.
I had never developed any particular fondness for the figurative conventions and pictorial tropes that somehow always seem associated with printmaking, such as the darkly outlined syntheses of melancholic cityscapes, the detailed rendering of ‘interesting’ textures or ‘meaningful’ objects (pieces of wood, loaves of bread, folded and crimpled wrapping paper, keys, kerosene lamps etc), the metaphysical obsession with winged animals (why are there so many grasshoppers, butterflies and birds in etchings and litographs?) or, even worse, the contingents of harlequins, flute players, folk dancers or broad-shouldered workers that populate artistic prints, at least as we know them from northern and eastern Europe.
In other words, like many curators and critics of my generation I had come to equate printmaking with visual obsolesence and artistic sectarianism. Any artists’ union I had ever encountered, and most art academies, had a printmaking section or department, and they never seemed to care too much about current developments in art. I will always remember the Lithuanian art critic who, at the end of a symposium on identity politics in contemporary art in Vilnius in 1994 asked, ‘But where does printmaking fit in?’
I have also experienced printmaking as a decidedly local art form. It makes active use of recognition and repetition and other communication devices, since it is dependent on addressing an audience of like-minded viewers in order to sustain itself economically and politically. Printmaking is often eulogised as ‘art for everyone’, but in fact it also helps creating distinct communities defined by aesthetic preferences that can be touted as supposedly benign cultural specificity.
Yet in the end I accepted the invitation from Tallinn with interest. I studied the restrictions imposed on me by the organisers’ criteria for what constitutes printmaking, and I decided not to try and challenge or update their definition. On the contrary, I found it more interesting to accept the slowness and parochialism of printmaking as a point of departure and see it as a field in which I could perform a study of visuality and how it creates historical meaning. I decided to use artists’ prints (and mass-produced posters, which offer a more overtly politicised picture of society) as material for a not-so-innocent study of the recent history of the three Baltic states.
The overall theme of the 14th Tallinn Printmaking Triennial is ‘the Political and the Poetic’. I suggested that I would contribute an exhibition entitled 1987, introducing a few additional limitations on what I could show. I decided myself that half of the participating printmakers must be women, to reflect the traditionally significant role of female artists in Baltic printmaking. I also decided only to display works made before the end of 1987, so that the exhibition could have been possible in the autumn of that year. 1987 was twenty years ago, and incidentally also the year when I first visited Lithuania, a country I have now come to know very well. More importantly, this was the last year of undisturbed Soviet ‘normalcy’ in the three Baltic republics. In 1988, as we know, the movement for national liberation was sparked off, and it took only three years before the world once more recognised Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as independent countries.
I wanted to use visual culture (and prints and posters seemed like a credible embodiment of that concept) to portray the Baltic region twenty years ago, at the end of a long period of repression and so-called stagnation and on the threshold of radical change. 1987 will tell a multitude of individual stories about the supposedly monolithic and collective Soviet society, through the works of the more than 30 printmakers and graphic designers from all three republics who participate in the exhibition. It is self-evident that with this exhibition concept I must focus on older generations of artist, most of whom were born between 1925 and 1955. Their art was important for the visual self-identification and self-esteem of the Baltic nations during the last decades of Soviet rule. The earliest works in the exhibition date from around 1970.
Twenty years is a challenging distance in time, usually considered too short to enable a truly retrospective view of the past This, however, is meant to be a speculative exercise; a contemporary reading of the politics embodied by reproduceable and mass-produced images and an outsider’s view on the small world of printmaking and the outdated visual communication of a defunct social order. It is precisely the relative obsolesence of the material and its irrelevance to today’s social developments that I think will fascinate contemporary viewers. I am convinced that today’s museum visitors, particularly those too young to have experienced Real Socialism and Socialist Realism, will find it interesting and attractive to trace the outlines of their parents’ youth in the intersection of poetic prints and political posters from twenty years ago. Anyway, I always try to make the kind of exhibition I myself would like to see, believing that what is good enough for me will also be acceptable to others.
CV: Anders Kreuger,
born 1965 in Sweden. Independent curator and writer since 1999, curator of exhibitions at Lund Konsthall, Sweden, since 2006 and Dean of the Malmö Art Academy from July 2007. Director of NIFCA in Helsinki 1997-99, the Nordic Arts Centre in Helsinki 1995-97 and the Nordic Information Office in Vilnius 1991-95. Guest curator for the Baltic exhibition in the 14th Tallinn Printmaking Triennial 2007.
SINCE WE LAST SPOKE ABOUT MONUMENTS
Presentation of the newspaper project “Memosphere. Rethinking Monuments”
Can the monument be detached from glorification or commemoration, from the rhetorical overload that burdens the history of the practice, and remain a monument? Can the monument be reprogrammed as an artistic instrument that does not serve to illustrate doubtful victories, resonant sacrifices or abruptly terminated debates, and, if so, what other fundamental operation should be assigned to it? Can the monument incorporate social and political antagonism into a matrix other than the separation between winners and losers in history or politics, one that allows for the continuous recalibration of social forces? Are monuments for terrorism or law, globalization or locality, democracy or secrecy, liberalism or communism conceivable? What losses, gaps, traumas and reconfigured social relations deserve monumental sites of public negotiation, that would help activate open contention and work to defuse adversity?
This publication groups theoretical and visual contributions as the first episode in a long-term project that aims to rethink the contemporary monument. It stems from the belief that monuments are ‘impossible necessities’ (Laurent Liefooghe), that, in their infernal difficulty, monuments are problematic knots entangling decisive questions about the modes of history and ideology that constitute or condition communities. The artistic, critical repossession of the monument could bring enlightening arguments in the discussion about the subversive capabilities of political art, perhaps actualizing Thomas Hirschhorn’s enigmatic dictum about ‘making art politically’, in a practice that does not evacuate the possibility of failure and does not dissimulate it in lesser ambitions and diminishing scale.
The publication is edited by Mihnea Mircan and Meta Haven: Design Research (Amsterdam). Contributors include Mark Jarzombek, Markus Miessen, Doryun Chong and Sean Snyder, Office (Kersten Geers and David van Severen)/ text by Chrisotph van Gerrewey, Alon Levin, Branimir Stojanovic, Laurent Liefooghe, Azra Aksamija and Khadija S. Carrol, Calin Dan, Mechtild Widrich, Daniel Kurjakovic, Christoph Büchel and Giovanni Carmine, Wouter Davidts, Lieven de Boeck and Aaron Seeto, Malkit Shoshan, LUST, Azra Aksamija, Zbynek Baladran and Emily Katrencik.
Design by Meta Haven.
Newspaper format, 24 pages, black and white.
Mihnea Mircan is a curator based in Bucharest, Romania, working at the National Museum of Contemporary Art and freelance. He has recently curated the shows 'Sublime Objects, Works from the collections of Frac Grand Est', and 'Low-Budget Monuments', the Romanian pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennial. His upcoming project is the show Under Destruction #3, with artist Nedko Solakov.
Linking up politics and poetics, political art and pleasure seems hard to imagine for the greater part of contemporary art discourse. A lack of humor and an aversion to pleasure are increasingly attributed to political art practices by various sides, including supposedly progressive positions. In magazines and the scene of criticism and commentary, an old figure comes up again and again: the sharp division between art and politics. On the one hand, a pleasure in art is stressed as the primary aspect of the reception of art; for the field of politics, on the other hand, there is a call for the earnestness of "real rationality". This kind of ideology of division carries out a double game of denunciation: on the one hand everything is defamed as inefficient in the field of the social movements that deviates from absolute political dogmas, especially micro-political practices and non-representationist forms of politics. At the same time, there are attempts to drive out the political from art. In the cases of discursive attacks on documenta 10 and 11, for instance, the divisive, denouncing tone of these attacks coincides with the allegedly exaggerated austerity of the exhibitions, an overly heavy emphasis on politics and discourse. Making a feeble distinction to the political austerity and hostility to pleasure insinuated in this way, the new documenta director Roger Buergel stresses the "special character of art" "in contrast to political propaganda" and reaffirms concepts from the aesthetics of the Romantic era like beauty and aesthetic experience.
To avoid remaining trapped in this old and unproductive dichotomy, which was treated in the past as the dichotomy between political and autonomous art, I would like to introduce a differentiation that crosses through this dichotomy. This differentiation does not ask about the essence of the respective art practice and its separation, split or (self-) heteronomization, but - on the basis of Gilles Deleuze’ and Jacques Rancière’s political philosophies - makes a distinction according to the relationship between sociality and spatiality.
CV Gerald Raunig:
Philosopher, art theoretician, lives in Vienna; works at the eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies), Vienna; co-ordinator of the transnational research projects republicart (http://republicart.net, 2002-2005) and transform (http://transform.eipcp.net, 2005-2008); university lecturer at the Institute for Philosophy, University of Klagenfurt/A; (co-)editor of two series of books at Turia+Kant, Vienna: "republicart. Kunst und Öffentlichkeit" and "es kommt darauf an. Texte zur Theorie der politischen Praxis"; member of the editorial board of the multilingual webjournal transversal http://transversal.eipcp.net/ and the Austrian journal for radical democratic cultural politics, Kulturrisse (http://www.igkultur.at/kulturrisse); numerous lectures, essays and publications in the fields of contemporary philosophy, art theory, political aesthetics and cultural politics.
Recent books: Kunst und Revolution. Künstlerischer Aktivismus im langen 20. Jahrhundert , Wien: Turia+Kant 2005 / Art and Revolution. Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e) 2007, publication pending; PUBLICUM. Theorien der Öffentlichkeit, Wien: Turia+Kant 2005 (ed. by Gerald Raunig and Ulf Wuggenig); Kritik der Kreativität, Wien: Turia+Kant 2007 (ed. by Gerald Raunig and Ulf Wuggenig).
The World Metaphor
Possible Futures of the Public Exhibition
Documenta X, a decade ago, found its metaphor in a poetical map of postwar political history, reaching out towards an analysis of the coming cartography of globalization. Five years later, D11 offered a stunning reply by leaving Europe entirely, to rewrite the history of the present from platforms of production in the former colonies of modernity. Today, Documenta 12 has utterly failed to answer any kind of challenge, lapsing into the consumerism of forms. But it's still worthwhile to imagine the future of major public exhibitions, able to present metaphorical expressions of existence in the contemporary world. To do so, one must not shy away from the interpretive resources of the social sciences - or be afraid of active metaphors that unfold into lived experience.
Brian Holmes is a cultural critic, living in Paris and Chicago. He publishes in the journals Multitudes, Brumaria, Springerin and the web-journal Transform, is the author of the essay collections _Hieroglyphs of the Future_ (Zagreb: WHW, 2002) and _Unleashing the Collective Phantoms: Essays in Reverse Imagineering_ (New York: Autonomedia, forthcoming). He is currently engaged in the book project and seminar, _Continental Drift_. See http://brianholmes.wordpress.com