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IP Talks: COMMUNITY. Tactics To Be Together


Uncensored Act
IP Talks Programme

COMMUNITY. Tactics To Be Together
with: Miško Šuvaković, Jelena Vesić, Ekaterina Andreeva, Alina Șerban

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 11:00–13:00
This event is part of the closing week of the Art Encounters Biennial Timișoara

online in English / Zoom live on Facebook

The Institute of the Present (IP) continues the series of talks in the framework of the “Uncensored Act” programme in Timișoara. Devoted to the contextualisation and sharing of resources on recent histories of art from the former socialist space—some happening very close to us, as Timișoara is situated at the border with former Yugoslavia—this programme revisits some of the singular forms of collective engagement, artistic experimentation and communication, self-management and visual thinking in the Eastern Bloc. It further attempts to situate them within the specific conditions of the period and to question whether such tactics can be taken as a model for today’s society.

The guests of the online event on the 6th of November 2021 will be the theorists and art historians Miško Šuvaković (Belgrade), Jelena Vesić (Belgrade) and Ekaterina Andreeva (St. Petersburg). The event will be introduced and moderated by Alina Șerban (Institute of the Present).

The speakers will explore the multiple strategies of collaboration of several self-organised communities, art groups and counter-movements existing in the field of art between the 1970s and 1980s that were characterised by an interest in renegotiating the relationships between art and certain official agencies. They will focus on the coagulation of a shared space of mutual intellectual communication, a micro-social environment which generated alternative agendas that were not indifferent to the contradictory realities of the period. To be/act together constituted a subjective methodology that tested the very limits of art and its social dimension, and opened questions of autonomy, self-organisation, and self-determination.


MIŠKO ŠUVAKOVIĆ: Art Groups and Micro Social Ecologies
The conditions surrounding collective artistic works have been important for art from the 1960s until today. Given that the circumstances for defining and performing a collective work of art were different in each culture or world of art, this presentation will point out:

  1. the different types of art groups;
  2. the differences and similarities of groups in Eastern and Western Europe, and
  3. important micro-social ecologies that arise from the activities of artistic groups.

Miško Šuvaković is a theorist, aesthetician, artist, curator, and professor of theory of art, culture and aesthetics based in Belgrade. He is a co-founder and member of the conceptual art collective Group 143 (19751980), co-founder and member of the informal theory and art group “Community for Space Investigation” (19821989), and a member of a platform for performing arts theory and practice named “Walking theory” (TkH, from 2000). Since 1988 he has been a member of the Slovenian Aesthetic Society. He is a Professor of Aesthetics and Theory of Art at the Faculty of Music, Belgrade, and teaches Theory of Art and Theory of Culture at the Faculty of Architecture at Belgrade University since 2002. He has published over 30 books. His research interests are 20th and 21st-century art, art theory, and philosophy. He has written and collaborated on a number of books, book chapters and articles that have been translated internationally, such as “Impossible Histories” (2003, 2006), “Epistemology of Art” (2008), “Konceptualna umetnost” (2008), and “The Clandestine Histories of The OHO Group” (2010). Besides writing about art and teaching, he has been active as a curator of exhibitions on contemporary art since 1979. He has also conceptualised and collaborated on conceptions for exhibitions shown in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. His most recent exhibition “Beyond Art Groups. The New Art Apparatus” (2021), opened in October 2021 at P74 Gallery, Ljubljana.

EKATERINA ANDREEVA: The New Artists: Making Art & Life Together (1982–1987)
For the New Artists (Novye hudozhniki) of Leningrad, a group of neo-expressionist artists whose heyday was in the 1980s, life was not divided into art-making and daily life per se. Unlike their counterparts and contemporaries, the Moscow Conceptualists, the dismantling and deconstruction of everyday Soviet life was not a means of demonstrating its entropy but a way of triumphing over this entropy. The New Artists were organised by Timur Novikov (19582002), who opened the unofficial gallery-squat in his communal apartment, where his friends could make paintings, performances, cinema and videos together. Novikov as well as almost all the other members of the New Artists never undertook Soviet art education: he only attended the school courses at the State Russian Museum. Nevertheless, he was very interested in the Russian avant-garde tradition and used every chance to learn from the remaining participants of the avant-garde movement, like Maria Siniakova-Urechina. In their quest to overcome entropy, the New Artists adopted several important concepts from Russian and Soviet avant-garde artists and writers such as Il’ia Zdanevich, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, and Daniil Kharms. The formative idea of Novikov’s art was the ‘vsechestvo,’ or everything-ism, of Larionov and Zdanevich. He revised ‘vsechestvo’ with his own concept of ‘perekompositsia,’ or recomposition, which presumes that art can be done in all kinds of media and style but every creative act should be the event of upcycling existing images and materials. The New Artists began as a close circle of friends in the early 1980s and became a movement of about 70 painters, poets, musicians and filmmakers by the end of the Perestroika time. Since 1985 they showed their art publicly and, with the help of Viktor Tsoi, the artist and famous frontman of the Kino rock band, their ideas and images became known everywhere in the former USSR.

Ekaterina Andreeva is a multidisciplinary researcher, curator, and cultural practitioner based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Specialising in cultural studies, art history, art theory, and philosophy, she is a senior curator at the contemporary art department of the State Russian Museum, where she formed the collection of Russian contemporary art in 19911996. In 1993-1996 she acted as the founding director of the George Soros Contemporary Art Centre. She is the author of many publications, including several monographs on contemporary art such as “Postmodernism: The Art of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries” (2007). She has curated over 100 exhibitions of Russian art in Russia and abroad. Since the mid-1990s, she has been a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). In 2010–2013 she curated several exhibitions devoted to the art of Timur Novikov’s circle: “The Brushstroke,” State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg (2010); “The New are Coming,” Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2012); and Timur, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2013). In 2014 she was an invited curator of the Manifesta 10 at the State Hermitage, working over the exhibitions of Timur Novikov and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe.

JELENA VESIĆ: Independence, autonomy, collectivity… and future. Politics of historicisation of Yugoslav socialist social forms in contemporary cultural labour
The cultural systems of the countries of the former East (as well as those of the former West) have undergone retrograde processes for the renationalisation of culture, on the one hand, and the introduction of market principles, on the other. The toxic waves of right-wing populist anti-intellectualism completed the process of disintegration and privatisation of the former public sphere. This is the context in which terms like ‘independence,’ ‘autonomy,’ ‘collectivity,’ ‘self-organisation,’ ‘self-management’ and ‘cultural-political partisanship’ started to operate as a mobilising call for the critical and politicised cultural practitioners who decided for the new culture of cooperation and sharing, for alternative platforms and networks vis-à-vis the state&market run institutions and their repressive socio-political functions. In this presentation, I would like to talk about the practices of collectivisation and struggles for aesthetic-political autonomy in the post-Yugoslav space that ran in parallel with the re-discovery, re-creation and re-historicisation of the Yugoslav socialist heritage of People’s Liberation Struggle, Self-Management and Non-Alignment.

Jelena Vesić is an independent curator, writer, and lecturer based in Belgrade. She was co-editor of Prelom – Journal of Images and Politics (Belgrade), 2001–2009, and co-founder of the independent organization Prelom Collective (Belgrade), 2005–2010. She is also co-editor of “Red Thread – Journal for social theory, contemporary art and activism” since 2009 (Istanbul) and a member of the editorial board of “Art Margins” (MIT Press). In her research, she explores the relations between art and ideology in the fields of geopolitical art history writing; experimental art and exhibition practices of the 1960s and 1970s in former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe; and practices of self-organisation and self-management in contemporary cognitive capitalism. Her curatorial practise often experiments with frameworks, methodologies, and contextual and collaborative aspects of art.
She won the Award of Art Historian Society of Serbia (2007), the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory (with the Prelom Kolektiv) and the Award for the development of experimental projects from The Foundation for Arts Initiatives.


The “Uncensored Act” project is developed by The Institute of the Present in the frame of the Cultural Programme Timișoara 2023—European Capital of Culture.

IP—The Institute of the Present is a research and an artist resource platform in the field of visual and performing culture conceived by Ștefania Ferchedău and Alina Șerban, and established in Bucharest. Centred on artists and their personal accounts, on time-specific encounters and forms of (self) archiving, the Institute looks at various practices and situations from the recent past until today from a transnational and transcultural perspective.

Partners: Art Encounters, TRIADE Foundation, FABER
Visual: Sebastian Pren


Cultural project included in the TM2023 RESTART priority cultural programme of the Projects’ Centre of the Timișoara Municipality, undertaken with the support of the Timișoara Municipality and the Timișoara Local Council. This cultural project does not necessarily represent the standpoint of the Timișoara Municipality and the Timișoara Local Council. The content of the project and the way in which its results may be used represent the exclusive responsibility of its authors and the beneficiary of the funding. The Timișoara Municipality and the Timișoara Local Council cannot be held liable for the content of the project or the manner in which this may be used.

Contact: ip@institutulprezentului.ro

Institutul Prezentului