Saturday, 9 July 2011

Rearview mirror

Image is from a video in an installation called MANIFESTO OF THE FUTURIST WOMAN

In a rearview mirror
I suddenly saw
the mass of the cathedral in Beauvais;
large things inhabit small, briefly.
“Rearview Mirror” from Going to Lwow, 1985; translated by Marysia Pilatowicz

 I went to see an exhibit today in the Power Plant, a contemporary art gallery at the Toronto harbour front, by a group of 22 East European artists who work in a variety of media in order to "engage post-conceptual strategies and collectively challenge accepted notions of the East as a social, political and art historical monolith." The image in the poster is from a video by Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová entitled "Manifesto of the Futurist Woman" which appeared to me to be a metaphor for the soviet personification of a perfect socialist woman.

   While the curatorial staff state that it is "a kind of preliminary experiment and dialogue in the post-socialist period", my personal impression from my observations of the various installations in film, found objects and a variety of artistic creations is that is the artists are still living under the burden of history. Although the gallery organizers say that they work outside the traditional academies in their respective countries, the artists are still bound by the visual metaphors and the pieces are a metonym for their spiritually impoverished societies. I found a minimalist and austere reflection of a materially deprived world which maybe the result of their creative rebellion against formal institutions which try to suppress heretical thoughts.

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