Subversive Practices. Art under Conditions of Political Repression

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
Press release
Subversive Practices
Art under Conditions of Political Repression
60s–80s / South America / Europe

May 30 – August 2, 2009

Carlos Altamirano, Gábor Altorjay, Lucy Angulo, Ângelo de Aquino, Luis Arias Vera, Autoperforationsartisten, Artur Barrio, László Beke (Archiv), Horia Bernea, Ricardo Bofill/Taller de Arquitectura, Teresa Burga, CADA, Ulises Carrión, Dalibor Chatrný, Carlfriedrich Claus, COAC Archiv, Attila Csernik, Lutz Dammbeck, Guillermo Deisler, Eugenio Dittborn, Juan Downey, Jorge Eielson, Diamela Eltit, Miklós Erdély, Roberto Evangelista, Constantin Flondor, Fernando França Cocchiarale, Enric Franch (Archiv), Die Gehirne, Carlos Ginzburg, Ion Grigorescu, Claus Hänsel, Rafael Hastings, Paulo Herkenhoff, Emilio Hernández Saavedra, Taller E.P.S. Huayco, Joseph W. Huber, Pavel Ilie, Indigo Group, IPUT (superintendent: Tamas St.Auby), Iosif Kiraly, Jiri Kocman, Kollektive Aktionen, Carlos Leppe, Gastão de Magalhães, Oskar Manigk, Francisco Mariotti, Alfredo Márquez, Gonzalo Mezza, Ivonne von Mollendorff, Muntadas, Paul Neagu, Olaf Nicolai, César Olhagaray, Clemente Padín, Letícia Parente, Grupo Paréntesis, Catalina Parra, Gyula Pauer, Luis Pazos, Dan Perjovschi, Julio Plaza, Féliks Podsiadly, Robert Rehfeld, Herbert Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Romero, Lotty Rosenfeld, Jesús Ruiz Durand, Juan Javier Salazar, Hugo Salazar del Alcázar, Valeri Scherstjanoi, Cornelia Schleime, Grupul Sigma, Petr Stembera, Gabriele Stötzer, Grup de Treball, Regina Vater, Cecilia Vicuña, Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Sala Vinçon (Archiv), Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeld, Horacio Zabala, Sergio Zevallos

Idea and Concept
Iris Dressler, Hans D. Christ

Ramón Castillo / Paulina Varas (Santiago de Chile / Valparaíso); Fernando Davis (Buenos Aires); Cristina Freire (São Paulo); Sabine Hänsgen (Bochum); Miguel Lopez / Emilio Tarazona (Barcelona / Lima); Ileana Pintilie Teleaga (Timisoara); Valentín Roma / Daniel García Andújar (Barcelona); Annamária Szöke / Miklós Peternák (Budapest); Anne Thurmann-Jajes (Bremen)


From May 30 to August 2, 2009 the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart devotes itself to experimental and conceptual art practices that had established between the nineteen-sixties and eighties in Europe and South America under the influence of military dictatorships and communist regimes. Both the exhibition, comprising around eighty artistic positions, as well as the related complementary program have been developed by a team of thirteen international curators in close collaboration with the Kunstverein over a two-year process.

The exhibition’s nine sections will be focused on various contexts and strategies of artistic production along with their positioning vis-à-vis political and cultural repression in the GDR, Hungary, Romania, the Soviet Union, Spain, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. Of equal concern here are both the particularities of and the relations between the different temporal and local environments.

The exhibition undertakes the experiment of a shifted cartograph and an extended understanding of conceptual art, which has become established well beyond the Anglo-American canon. In this respect, the related interdisciplinary, collaborative, and sociopolitical potentials are particularly emphasized—that is, the paradigm shifts between visual arts, politics, society, academia, architecture, design, mass media, literature, dance, theater, activism, and so forth, which have been educed by these potentials.

Furthermore, the focus is on artistic practices that not only radically question the conventional concept of art, the institutions, and the relationship between art and public, but that have, at the same time, subversively thwarted structures of censorship and opposed the existing systems of power. Here, body, language, and public space represent the pivotal instruments, of resistance, symbolic and performative in equal measure. The appropriation of media and distribution channels—especially the postal service—has in turn played a distinctive role in the establishment of the widely ramified networks between (Eastern) Europe and Latin America.

Another core theme explored by the project is the problem in presenting conceptual art forms and their equally ephemeral and processual, time- and location-specific dimensions. Crucial here is to do justice not only to the sensuous and participative distinctiveness of the works but also to their radicalism and their sociopolitical backgrounds.

In lieu of conceptualizing a comprehensive and homogenized design, the various curators will each develop individual presentational models for their respective exhibition section. Thus, the exhibition will not only be introducing different approaches to the restaging of conceptual practices but will emerge as a polyphonic parcourse, experienced as multidimensional cartograph.

A publication on the project will be released in fall 2009.


Progressive Images: Art in Chile under Dictatorship, 1973–1990
Curators: Ramón Castillo and Paulina Varas
Artists: Carlos Altamirano, CADA, Guillermo Deisler, Eugenio Dittborn, Juan Downey, Diamela Eltit, Carlos Leppe, Gonzalo Mezza, Letícia Parente, Catalina Parra, Lotty Rosenfeld, Cecilia Vicuña

Ramón Castillo and Paulina Varas explore the play on content-related and formal discontinuities, contradictions, and de- and recontextualizations that characterized Chilean art from the nineteen-seventies to nineties. At issue here are both the artistic potentials related to a rearticulation of the cognitive and symbolic world—worlds that were at that time engaged by the ideologies of the military dictatorship—and the question as to how these potentials continue to be relevant today.

Political Bodies, Territories in Conflict

Curator: Fernando Davis
Artists: Carlos Ginzburg, Luis Pazos, Juan Carlos Romero, Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Horacio Zabala

Fernando Davis is concerned with the artistic appropriation of the body and of public space in the scope of the military dictatorship in Argentina. The body was negotiated as an instrument of political resistance. Artists countered the measured order of urban space, dictated by dictatorial violence, with strategies of a poetic dèrive. Both cases involved the subversion of the precepts of meaning imposed by the state apparatus.

Alternative Networks

Curator: Cristina Freire
Artists: Ângelo de Aquino, Artur Barrio, Ulises Carrión, Dalibor Chatrný, Attila Csernik, Roberto Evangelista, Fernando França Cocchiarale, Paulo Herkenhoff, Jiri Kocman, Gastão de Magalhães, Clemente Padín, Julio Plaza, Féliks Podsiadly, Petr Stembera, Regina Vater, Krzysztof Wodiczko

Cristina Freire centers in on the collection of conceptual artworks at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo. During the military dictatorship period, the museum played a decisive role in providing space for free artistic expression and in forming a hub for the international mail art scene. Photography, as a documentation and distribution medium for performances, actions, and situations, along with the subversive use of the body are posited at the heart of her investigation.

Collective Actions: Trips out of Town, 1976–2009

Curator: Sabine Hänsgen
Artists: Collective Actions (Andrej Monastyrskij, Nikolaj Panitkov, Nikita Alekseev, Elena Elagina, Igor’ Makarevič, Georgij Kizeval’ter, Sergej Romaško, Sabine Hänsgen)

Sabine Hänsgen focuses on the performances of the group Collective Actions, that is, on their “Trips out of Town,” which have been carried out since 1976 in rural areas surrounding Moscow. The actions have most frequently taken place on an empty snow-covered field, a terrain “liberated” from symbols and meanings. Hänsgen developed an “installation as diagram” for the exhibition that comprehends an index of all previous actions along with documentary materials and more recent satellite images of the action spaces.

Crosscurrent Passages: Dissident Tactics in Peruvian Art, 1968–1992
Curators: Miguel López and Emilio Tarazona
Artists: Lucy Angulo, Luis Arias Vera, Teresa Burga, Jorge Eielson, Rafael Hastings, Emilio Hernández Saavedra, Taller E.P.S. Huayco, Francisco Mariotti, Alfredo Márquez, Ivonne von Mollendorff, Grupo Paréntesis, Herbert Rodríguez, Jesús Ruiz Durand, Juan Javier Salazar, Hugo Salazar del Alcázar, Sergio Zevallos

Miguel López and Emilio Tarazona investigate two phases of aesthetic-political practices in Peru: first, during the military dictatorship from 1968 to 1975 and, second, during the no-less-violent guerilla war in the nineteen-eighties. While the nineteen-seventies were characterized by the dawn of institutional critique and participative art forms, art was later viewed first and foremost as a space for political protest, for the re-elaboration of Andean modernity, as well

as a means of processing the repercussions of violence.

Between Limits: Escaping into the Concept

Curator: Ileana Pintilie Teleaga

Artists: Horia Bernea, Constantin Flondor, Ion Grigorescu, Pavel Ilie, Iosif Kiraly, Paul Neagu, Dan Perjovschi, Grupul Sigma

Ileana Pintilie Teleagă highlights artistic “survival techniques” and subversive strategies that originated in Romania during the era of the communist regime, or Ceauşescu’s dictatorship. Evoking the body as an equally private and political realm for artistic experimentation counted among these strategies, as did ephemeral, ironic, and sociocritical approaches. Moreover, despite extreme isolation, access to international mail art existed in Romania.

1969–1979: An Approach to the Confluences Between Art, Architecture, and Design in Catalonia

Curators: Valentín Roma and Daniel García Andújar
Artists: Ricardo Bofill/Taller de Arquitectura, COAC Archiv, Enric Franch (Archiv), Muntadas, Grup de Treball, Sala Vinçon (Archiv)

Valentín Roma and Daniel García Andújar fathom the interplay between critical conceptual practices in art, architecture, and design in Catalonia during the final decade of Franco’s dictatorial reign. At the core are six works by Grup de Treball in which interdisciplinary working methods are reflected. These works are contextualized by an archive compiled from various sources, by other artistic works, and by interviews specifically conducted for the exhibition with players from the period in question.

Tomorrow Is Evidence!

Curators: Annamária Szöke and Miklós Peternák

Artists: Gábor Altorjay, László Beke (Archiv), Miklós Erdély, Indigo Group, IPUT (superintendent: Tamas St. Auby), Gyula Pauer

Annamária Szöke and Miklós Peternák exploratively question the present-day relevance of subversive potentials presented by experimental and conceptual art of the nineteen-sixties through nineties in Hungary. In this context, they primarily focus on works that were destroyed, lost, or never realized, that is, those necessitating a reconstruction or restaging. In some cases, the artists are directly involved in the process and are thus effectuating a reevaluation of their earlier projects.

Playing with the System: Artistic Strategies in the GDR from 1970 to 1990

Curator: Anne Thurmann-Jajes
Artists: Autoperforationsartisten, Carlfriedrich Claus, Lutz Dammbeck, Die Gehirne, Claus Hänsel, Joseph W. Huber, Oskar Manigk, César Olhagaray, Clemente Padín, Robert Rehfeld, Valeri Scherstjanoi, Cornelia Schleime, Gabriele Stötzer, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeld

Anne Thurmann-Jajes spotlights the alternative art forms that succeeded in becoming established, beyond the sphere of official art doctrine and censorship, in the nineteen-seventies and eighties in the GDR. Access to the international networks of mail art, along with the so-called living-room galleries or original-graphic magazines, opened up opportunities for artistic experimentation with image, language, performance, sound, and film.

Subversive Practices

Art under Conditions of Political Repression

60s–80s / South America / Europe

May 30 – August 2, 2009


Press conference

Friday, May 29, 2009, 11 am


Friday, May 29, 2009, 7 pm


Mai 30–31, 2009

Press Release and Press Images

Press Contact

Iris Dressler

Fon: +49 (0)711 – 22 33 711

Idea and Concept
Iris Dressler, Hans D. Christ


Ramón Castillo / Paulina Varas, Santiago de Chile / Valparaíso

Fernando Davis, Buenos Aires

Cristina Freire, São Paulo

Sabine Hänsgen, Bochum

Miguel Lopez / Emilio Tarazona, Barcelona / Lima

Ileana Pintilie Teleaga, Timisoara

Valentín Roma / Daniel García Andújar, Barcelona

Annamária Szöke / Miklós Peternák, Budapest

Anne Thurmann-Jajes, Bremen

A Project by
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Centre for Culture and Communication Foundation, Budapest
Arteleku, San Sebastian

Main support by

Further Support by

Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst des Landes Baden-Württemberg

Kulturamt der Stadt Stuttgart
Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur, Berlin
SEACEX, Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, Madrid

Institut Ramon Llull, Barcelona

Kulturinstitut der Republik Ungarn, Stuttgart
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Schlossplatz 2, 70173 Stuttgart

Fon: +49 (0)711 – 22 33 70, Fax: +49 (0)711 – 29 36 17,


Tue, Thu–Sun: 11 am–6 pm; Wed: 11 am–8 pm


May 30 + 31, 2009

Languages: English and Spanish

Entrance fees: Single day: 10 / 5 Euro; Single event: 4 / 2 Euro


Saturday, May 30, 2009


1 p.m.

Exhibition tour with the artists and curators

4 p.m.

The Strategy of Anonymity: Some Remarks on Artistic Practices in Peru

Lecture by Juan Javier Salazar (video recording)

Subsequent conversation with Miguel López and Emilio Tarazona

5 p.m.

Critical Rereading of So-Called Catalan Conceptualism

Conversation with Valentín Roma, Daniel García Andújar and others

6 p.m.

Traces of the Hungarian Exhibition(s) at the C AYC (Center for Art and Communication), Buenos Aires, 1973–74

Lecture by Mercedes Kutasy

19:30 Uhr


Marta Minujin, Gabor Altorjay


Sunday, May 31, 2009


1 p.m.

Around 1970 Art Was a Prison

Lecture by Horacio Zabala

2 p.m.

Artistic Strategies in the GDR, 1970–1990

Conversation with Anne Thurmann-Jajes and artists from her section

3:30 p.m.

Moscow Conceptual Art Online

Lecture by Sergey Letov

4:30 p.m.

Subversive Art as Viewed in Eastern European Romania

Lecture by Ion Grigorescu

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