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Confrontations: Sessions in East European Art History

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Sounds of the Underground

editorial3 March 2020

Johana Lomová

In his talk Daniel Muzyczuk (a curator at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź) presented research behind two exhibitions that he had prepared together with David Crowley. Sounding the body electric mapped connections of sound and visual culture in Eastern Europe, and Notes from the underground concentrated on the underground culture where music and visual arts has merged. A few important issues came out during the presentation. Besides the regional interest of both curators in Eastern Europe that included Russia (St. Petersburg has a special place in their research), we have been introduced to a different time frame for research of culture under socialist politics as the second mentioned exhibition ended in 1994. In this way Muzyczuk and Crowley were able to show how the underground culture reacted to a new political regime. A rather provocative thesis of connection between neoprimitivism and right-wing radicalism opened a discussion and our attention was drawn towards a concept of overidentification, politics of self-representation and other. The blurriness of the boundary in between official and unofficial art (or rather the uselessness of this division) was illustrated by the fact that a number of nonconformist artists did have an artistic licence.