Eastern Europe Can Be Yours! Alternative Art of the Eighties

Maja Fowkes, Reuben Fowkes

Contexts / 25.09.2017
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Sándor Pinczehelyi, Makó Sketches, 1980. Courtesy the artist

Recent excursions to the decade of the 1980s across Eastern Europe bear telling titles that strikingly express the remoteness, nostalgic appeal and exoticism that are now associated with the last days of socialism. Whether antagonistic (‘Rejected Heritage’) or escapist (‘I Could Live in Africa’), wistful (‘Sweet Decadence of the Postmodern’) or ambiguous (‘Islands of Positive Deviation’),1 recent exhibitions and publications have delivered vivid impressions of an ‘ungraspable diffuseness’2 – a chaotic period in which creative expression found a way out through the alternative channels of erupting subcultures. Art ‘returned to expression, to primitive forms and inspirations’, thriving on ‘pop-cultural junk and rubbish’, with ‘improvised happenings complete with revelry and concerts’, springing up in ‘exhibition openings organised in private apartments or reclaimed spaces.’3

Decadence, deviation and exoticism are notions that now stand as mythical constructs of East European art of the 1980s, comparable to those of heroism, dissidence and originality that are regularly applied to the neo-avant-garde generation that preceded it. In attempting to account for the diffuseness of that decade, a number of common threads and questions arise. What impact did the different political circumstances in various countries of the region have? How did individual states appropriate, seize on or ignore the new art of the time? And how did the new generation of artists deal with the legacy of the socially-engaged and politically critical neo-avant-garde art of the previous decade?

Against Social Engagement
In Poland an unlikely critique of the neo-avant-garde was voiced via the uncovering of the suppressed memory of socialist realism that came into vogue in the early 1980s, when the short period of dominance of the Stalinist artistic model in the early 1950s became a ‘hot topic’ for art historical inquiry. It was addressed in conference proceedings and became the theme of numerous dissertations, while exhibitions of socialist realist painting were held and a series of articles devoted to the genre appeared in the art journal Sztuka. The most influential product of this trend was a book on ‘Socialist Realism: Polish Art in the Years 1950-1954’ by Wojciech Włodarczyk published in 1986, which revealed that at least part of the motive for confronting the forgotten era of socialist realism was to bring about a reckoning with the project of modernism and the avant-garde. For the author it was the avant-garde with its ‘ethos of participation, social and political change, as well as historical determinism’ that turned out to be instrumental in ‘the success of socialist realism’, while in the post-Stalin era it was the neo-avant-garde that contributed to ‘wiping socialist realism from memory.’4 There are clear parallels here with Boris Groys’s much better known essay on The Total Art of Stalinism, which was first published in German in 1988, with the caveat that Groys goes further than Włodarczyk in attributing to the avant-garde, with its radical desire for social transformation, not just the rise of socialist realism, but also the origins of the totalitarian excesses of Stalinism.5

When in 1976 Croatian artist Željko Jerman, one of the Group of Six Authors, publicly declared ‘This is not my world’ by writing these words in capital letters on a banner and unravelling it in the centre of Zagreb, he not only rejected the reality of the socialist everyday of Tito’s Yugoslavia, but equally distanced himself from the programmatic artistic practice of the previous years that had put its faith into social engagement. Mladen Stilinović, his colleague from the group, illustrated this attitude when he stated: ‘I have never believed that art has any social function whatsoever…. I have never shared this kind of optimism.’6 In a work from 1980 entitled ‘Submit to Public Debate,’ which consisted of a series of paintings with inscriptions of empty socialist phraseology, Stilinović chose the pale shades of pink for the background, as a statement of detachment from the ideologically loaded colour red. A similar sense of disillusionment in Hungary was expressed by Sándor Pinczehelyi, who in the early seventies famously posed with hammer and sickle, questioning the personal consequences of communist ideology. A different tone could be detected in his series of photographs from 1980, in which the socialist icon of five pointed star found itself next to a can of Coca Cola – the ultimate symbol of Western desire, fished out in a net as if they were just waste floating on polluted water.7

Mladen Stilinović, Subject to Public Debate, 1980. Installation view, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2011. Photograph: Boris Cvjetanović. Courtesy Branka Stipančić

In Czechoslovakia, where in the aftermath of the suppression of the dissident civic initiative Charter 77 the harsh political situation sharpened even more, Petr Štembera, Karel Miler and Jan Mlčoch, three artists who significantly influenced artistic events in Prague over the preceding decade through radical performances and actions conducted in private and secluded spaces, were prompted to collectively give up art practice for good in 1980. Rather than expressing the disillusionment of the time by depicting it or dealing with it in their work, these Czech artists were so disheartened about the potential of art to compete with political reality that the only rightful solution seemed to be to withdraw their participation. In short, the neo-avant-garde project across Eastern Europe had run out of steam.

The clash of approaches between the neo-avant-garde and representatives of the new artistic paradigm at the beginning of the eighties, most stridently associated with the call for a return to painting, is strongly visible in polemics conducted in the Croatian art journal Život umjetnost, which devoted a special issue to the analysis of the art of the decade already in 1982. In the opening essay Zvonko Maković, art historian and curator of a 1981 group show that programmatically dealt with the phenomenon of the ‘New Painting’, presented a polarised view of the art scene as divided between those who are ‘entering into painting’ and those who ‘still feel the pull of various derivatives of conceptualism,’ but that actually represent a kind of ‘pseudo-alternative, superficially unconventional art.’ For the new generation, this ‘perverted ideology of the late 60s’ was emblematic of a ‘false democracy,’ and reflected the desire of a clique of ‘supported and academicised “alternative” artists’ to maintain their power and privileges by resorting to ‘empty sloganeering’.8

The suspicion expressed towards the neo-avant-garde for having found in some cases an accommodation with the communist authorities that was prevalent throughout Eastern Europe was particularly vocal in Yugoslavia, which had adopted modernism as a semi-official art form as early as the 1950s. Maković’s criticism was notably also directed at the Zagreb Gallery of Contemporary Art for incorporating artists from the ‘New Painting’ show as an addendum to their exhibition on ‘Innovation in Croatian Art in the 1970s’, while failing to understand the significance of the movement by presenting it as a continuity rather than a break from the practices of the neo-avant-garde. At the same time, the more liberal cultural atmosphere in nonaligned Yugoslavia made it possible for the Gallery to invite already in 1981 art critic Achille Bonito Oliva to Zagreb to curate an of the moment exhibition of the ‘Italian Transavantgarde.’9 Official art institutions in other East European countries could not move so quickly in responding to new international trends and discussion of the movement was at first confined to off-spaces and independent reviews.

The situation in Czechoslovakia contrasted strongly, where the artistic and political climate was not propitious for the flourishing of the new artistic movement. Jana and Jiří Ševčik, art historians associated with the popularisation of postmodernist art theory, articulated the predicament of the country’s art scene in the 1980s in stark terms: ‘Our reality is in truth not radically different from the rest of the world, yet the moral prejudices of the modern art that preceded it continue to operate with great persistence because here in the 1960s such art was not pursued to the end so that new art could be born out of its crisis and complete exhaustion.’10 In other words, the reason neo-avant-garde art could not be fully expressed in Czechoslovakia, and as a result lingered on into the new decade, was due to the consequences of the Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring of 1968 and the ruthless period ‘normalisation’ that followed. Indicatively, even during the late 1980s when the text was first published it is noticeable that it was not possible to refer to these traumatic events directly. According to the Ševčiks, the ‘new creative language arrived mainly from outside,’ while the stylistic effervescence of the period was more evident in fields such as ‘mass media, film, music, design and fashion, where the punk wave, the decorative tendency and the new iconography was absorbed without any problem.’11

The particularities of the Hungarian art of the 1980s also derived from a specific local situation and the internal dynamics of the art scene. The end of the road for the neo-avant-garde resulted here from a systematic policy of intimidation that led to the emigration of several leading artists and the confinement of the remnants of a previously vibrant scene to a marginal role in cultural life. As artist Ákos Birkás put it in a lecture held at the Rabinec apartment gallery in December 1982, which was entitled ‘Who’s the victim? Who’s the perpetrator? What is to be done?’, the ‘death of the avant-garde’ in Hungary was not caused as in the West by institutionalisation, but by the brutal attitude of the state which had left the neo-avant-garde ‘isolated and paralysed.’ The answer to his third rhetorical question was for the survivors to abandon the avant-garde and turn to ‘new painting.’12 The preponderance of former neo-avant-garde artists in the new wave of Hungarian painting of the eighties was readily acknowledged by Loránd Hegyi, curator of a series of exhibitions ‘New Sensibility’ from 1981 to 1987, who saw it as ‘a characteristic element in the development of Hungarian art.’13 Indeed, he noted that ‘the leading exponents of this great change in outlook of the eighties were the very same artists who had created way back in the seventies a definitely avant-gardist art.’14 When in 1986 four of them were selected to represent socialist Hungary at the Venice Biennial, it was both a belated attempt by the state to adopt the new movement and the acknowledgement that the era of the ideological control of the art world was over.15

Outside the Institutions
Although graduating from the Painting Department of Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, András Böröcz and László L. Révész developed a distinctive performative practice that delighted in absurd narratives and excessive stage sets. These typically consisted of a series of actions involving a colourful cast of singers, musicians and dancers appearing on stage crowded with props and visual effects including slides, film projections or paintings and sculptures, with the artist protagonists dressed in oversized costumes taking the leading role. In Jubilee from 1982, for instance, the artists appeared dressed as knights in armour, made coffee and smoked cigars, to the accompaniment of songs performed in Esperanto, while a theorist friend also took part discoursing on their earlier performances and analysing the connections between Frankenstein and Einstein through mythological reinterpretations. In the performance Max and Moritz from 1983 the artists took as their starting point the classic German children’s tale about two mischievous boys, and turned it into a series of bizarre acts, which involved the artists dressed as chimney sweeps setting a table by piercing plates and sewing them like buttons to the tablecloth, interrupted by ballet sequences, film inserts and speeches. In another appearance entitled The Love of the Watermelon Vendor Boys in 1984 the stage was set with two-metre-tall watermelon slices and scenes of everyday family life around the dining table, when the artists entered as watermelon murderers and started to ‘stab everybody around the table with the slice of watermelon.’ The theorist appearing again warned that their performance was ‘not about turning imitation into realisation’ but instead ‘we are talking about dissolving both in a realised fiction, where the emphasis is not on the realisation but on the fantasy.’16

András Böröcz and László László Révész, Othello, 1983. Young Artists Club, Budapest. Courtesy of the artists

In their absurdist, ironic and surreal stage appearances full of excesses, Böröcz and Révész strayed into the world of fantasy and did not bridge the gap into the real world of political reality. Their preference for eclectic literary reference, pop-cultural sources and invoking Dadaist cabarets was in order to make a sharp distinction from the seriousness of the slightly earlier art. It is also noteworthy that these early performances were held in the favoured alternative venues of the 1980s generation, such as the University Theatre, the longstanding literary-musical Kossuth Club, the Young Artists Club, which was the setting for Othello (1983), as well as the Lajos Vajda Studio in nearby Szentendre. The latter was a meeting place for artists interested in new painting and artistic forms that drew on the surrealist traditions of the local art scene as well as liveliness of its musical subculture, while the core members of the art studio also formed a rock band. Although these were not private venues, but existing community centres, the choice of these spaces also reflected the tendency of alternative art in Hungary in the eighties to ‘remain outside the institutions of the art scene in the first half of the decade.’17

In Poland, a similar phenomenon of avoidance of established art spaces in the early 1980s both reflected aesthetic inclinations and was a response to the specific political conditions at the time. The declaration of Martial Law in December 1981 brought about the paralysis of existing art institutions, symbolised by the immediate suspension of the Polish Association of Artists and Designers (ZPAP), which as the first official organisation to declare its support for the shipyard strikes had been closely aligned with Solidarity.18 As a result, a ‘tripartite system’ emerged with artists having to decide whether to affiliate themselves with the official art world, take part in Church-organised exhibitions or develop their own informal infrastructure through apartments, private galleries and unofficial spaces.19 The appeal of the marginal venues of the ‘third circuit’ was not just their independence from structures of power, but also their appropriateness as physical spaces for the artworks themselves. As was noted by an art critic at the time, it was the ‘poorness’ of the built environment of alternative galleries that enabled them to ‘accommodate the irrational, anti-programmatic and messy language of neo-expressionism.’20

It was just such a venue that provided the setting for the first exhibition in January 1983 of the group of six painting graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw who later took on the common mantle of Gruppa.21 The relative independence of Pracownia Dziekenka derived from its ambiguous status between a studio and a gallery and the fact that, since it was located in the dormitory of the Academy, it benefited from a degree of official protection. For their debut exhibition entitled ‘A Forest, a Mountain, and over the Mountain a Cloud’, the artists were able, even at the height of Martial Law, to transform the exhibition space into a dark and threatening total environment for their Neue Wilde-inspired canvases that were hung on the wall three high and periodically illuminated by a single floodlight placed at the centre of a room filled with the deafening noise of Polish-Norwegian new wave music. Despite the clear references to the general atmosphere of intimidation, their work was equally conceived as an anarchic response to what they perceived as the ‘absurd’, ‘grotesque’ and ‘valueless’ character of contemporary reality. Refusing to either function in the ‘art parlours of communist Poland’ or conform to the ‘Neo-Romantic Martyrology’ of Solidarity and the Church-based opposition, they chose instead a ‘countercultural life based on being and working together.’22

Creating their installations from appropriated objects and rubbish, the Poznán-based group Koło Klipsa, which also first came together in 1983, found in the post-industrial setting of Wielka 19, a gallery in a formerly student-occupied building with no official ties, an ideal place to realise their site-specific collective projects.23 Later restaged to critical acclaim in more prominent galleries in Krákow and Lublin, as well as at the Group-Art-Work exhibition in Kassel in 1987, their ‘Exhibition 5’ was originally realised at Wielka 19 in 1985. Based on individual responses to the theme of the ‘fairytale’, the installation entailed the creation of a sensory environment consisting of ‘a hanging chair, a gnome made out of dirt, a slithering snake-like domestic object, an over-sized grinning moon and stuffed flower, and animal figures made out of mesh.’24 The gallery itself had only recently reopened after being forced to close during Martial Law and was one of the ‘non-official galleries’ invited to take part in the ‘Second Biennial of New Art’ held in Zielona Góra in 1987, which celebrated the resilience of the Polish independent art scene in the freer atmosphere of the Perestroika era.25

In Czechoslovakia, a ‘major change in the climate of Czech art’ only became noticeable in the second half of the decade, in the wake of moves towards renewed liberalisation that paved the way for the revolution of 1989.26 A first step was taken in 1984 with the release of the imprisoned signatories of the Charter 77 civic movement, while in the art world the lifting of the ban on the formation of artistic groups was a significant milestone. As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, it was community centres, university clubs and alternative music venues, in addition to private apartments, that provided the best opportunities to stage more or less uncensored exhibitions, discussions and art actions, rather than galleries and museums in the established art system. The most active art groups included the circle formed in 1984 around Revolver Revue, a samizdat journal featuring articles on both international and Czech art, which organised exhibitions and actions in private apartments that bridged the fields of poetry and visual arts. More programmatic were the Tvrdohlavi (the stubborn ones), made up of young artists with an interest in postmodernism and a critical attitude to the middle and older generation, that like the ironically-named Zaostalí (the backward ones), was founded only a year before the Velvet Revolution.27

In Bratislava artists sought out exhibition opportunities in spaces that were under the radar of the authorities, such as district cultural and community centres. As the curator of the major Slovak retrospective of the eighties notes, ‘vestibules, corridors of institutions, research sites and schools’ were used to create ‘a relatively stable network of unofficial exhibition spaces in non-gallery institutions,’ while at the same time professional curators employed in art institutions in the period ‘did not possess even relative autonomy’, and were largely confined to ‘accomplishing ideological goals’.28 Artists graduating from the Bratislava Academy of the Arts in the more liberal atmosphere of the mid-1980s were also able to take part in the exhibition opportunities afforded by alternative cultural events, such as the Čertovo kolo (Devil’s Wheel) and the music festival Rockfest, both of which took place in 1987 and 1988. During the same time exhibitions of neo-expressionist paintings were held in the unfinished house of artist Jozef Šramka in Čunove near Bratislava, in which large scale pictures were hung against bare brick walls. The symbolic ‘last’ exhibition of the cultural underground of the normalisation era, focusing on site specific installations, took place in a cellar in the centre of Bratislava in 1989 and was appropriately entitled ‘Suterén’ (‘Subterranean’).29

Call for Commonpress 51 ‘Hungary’ issue, designed by György Galántai. Courtesy Artpool Art Research Center

Political Alternatives
As the 1980s generation was wary of the social engagement of the neo-avant-garde, yet the political circumstances demanded a response, the artists resorted to typically absurd and unconventional means. In Poland, the first protest action of the art-activist group Orange Alternative was a guerrilla intervention in the public space of Wroclaw in 1982, when they chose to combat the repressive atmosphere of the Martial Law era through the surreal act of stencilling pictures of dwarfs onto the walls of residential buildings. Four years later in the more permissive Perestroika era, they lured their fellow citizens to demonstrate by distributing flyers announcing spurious national celebrations, such as ‘Revolution of the Dwarfs’, ‘Day of the Militia’ or ‘Secret Service Guy’s Day’. At their protest actions props such as orange caps and banners with satirical slogans were distributed amongst participants, who by 1988 numbered in the tens of thousands.30 While avoiding direct commentary on actual political events, the group’s strategy was to publically ridicule the regime and its bankrupt ideology. In parallel, the artists who withdrew from the compromised official art system and established a self-reliant network of alternative spaces also created opportunities to express their independent views. A case in point could be the activity of Łódź Kaliska, an artist group that operated within the Łódź scene’s so-called ‘Whip Round Culture’ in the mid-1980s. They ran their own attic gallery Strych, which enabled them to relentlessly mock in equal measure the ‘socialist structures of the state of war’, the painting of the ‘New Wilds’, as well as ‘patriotic Church art’ by invoking Dadaist actions and frivolously appropriating cultural history.31

In Budapest, György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay founded the Artpool Archive in 1979, which was conceived as an ‘uncensorable apartment-institution’ that along with documenting and archiving the activities of the unofficial art scene also organised actions and events.32 One such occasion was an international exhibition entitled ‘Hungary can be Yours! International Hungary’ that was installed in the Young Artist Club in January 1984 but instantly banned by the authorities. Although mainly dealing with East-West artistic relations, the show also featured directly oppositional works by the Inconnu Group, including a crumpled map of Hungary pierced with nails that dripped blood symbolizing a ‘humiliated and tormented homeland’ under Soviet rule.33 Two years later the group, which had connections to the opposition circles and had been in existence since 1978, announced an international competition for an exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. As could have been expected in view of its taboo theme, five hours before the opening of ‘The Fighting City’ in the Inconnu Group’s apartment gallery Artéria in January 1987 the police arrived and removed all 39 artworks.34 The changed atmosphere of the latter half of the decade was however demonstrated by the fact that the artists decided to go ahead with the opening anyway and ridicule the regime by exhibiting instead the official police receipt for the confiscated artworks.

IRWIN, Was ist Kunst, 1984. Installation view, Studio Vipotnik, Ljubljana. Courtesy the artists

A different approach to politics took hold in Slovenia, where the vogue for totalitarian aesthetics was epitomised by Neue Slovenische Kunst (NSK), whose co-founders in 1984 were the rock band Laibach, the Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre and the artist group IRWIN.35 As the most western of the Yugoslav republics, Slovenia also had the reputation of being the most liberal, with a thriving subcultural scene in Ljubljana that did not hesitate to enter into political and media activism. Originating in this context, the NSK tactics was to turn to subversion, which in the case of Laibach for instance involved undermining totalitarian ideological ritual simply by, as artist-theoretician Marina Gržinić noted, ‘repeating it in its literal form’.36 When IRWIN addressed the issue of painting in their project ‘Was ist Kunst?’ they notably did not choose to create large scale neo-expressionist canvases, but rather a series of small format oil paintings on which they repeated the forms and techniques of both socialist realism and the modernism of the 1960s, referring to the periods of Slovenian art that had been deliberately overlooked in the official art historical narrative. Responding to the banning of Laibach from public performance by the authorities at the time, IRWIN chose in protest to first show the project in the closed, invitation-only setting of a Ljubljana apartment. In effect, through their rigorous application of the ‘retro-principle’ to the tropes of East European art, which pushed the aesthetic concerns of post-modernist art to their logical conclusion, IRWIN exhausted the repertoire of eighties painting just as late socialism burned out.

In spite of its reputation as the decade of the ‘return of painting’, the overriding characteristic of the art of the East European eighties was its pluralism, which also accounts for its resistance to strict definition. While there was a tendency to play down the social and political role of art, the context in which the new generation worked was unavoidably influenced by the ideological chill at the beginning of the decade and the unstoppable liberalisation of its latter half. And although they continued to work in relatively market-free conditions, their dislike of state art institutions that imposed limits on artistic expression prompted them to appropriate minor spaces, from community centres to university corridors, as well as private apartments and studios, to create optimal conditions for their art practice. Despite the distrust of the ethos of collectivism, they often gravitated towards the formation of artistic groups that provided a means to express their divergence from the dissipation of the late socialist system. Demonstrating their openness towards the world in their willingness to cross genre boundaries, receptivity to inter-cultural and historical borrowings, as well as immersion in sub-cultures of music, fashion and poetry, the alternative artists of the eighties in Eastern Europe were eagerly poised for the imminent fall of the political frontiers too.

Footnotes
  1. Karol Sienkiewicz (ed.), Rejected Heritage: Polish Art of the 80s [e-publication], Warsaw: Museum of Modern Art, 2011; ‘I Could Live in Africa’, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw,24 July–19 September 2010; ‘Osam-de-se-te – slatka dekadencija postmoderne’ (‘Eighties: Sweet Decadence of the Postmodern’), HDLU, Zagreb, 11 April–10 May 2015; Beata Jablonska, ‘Alchemy of the Eighties, or “Islands of Positive Deviation”’ in Beata Jablonska (ed.), Osemdesiate: Postmoderna vSlovenskom vytvarnom umeni 1985–1992 (exh. cat.), Bratislava: Slovak National Gallery, 2009.

  2. Ibid., p.278.

  3. Press release for ‘I Could Live in Africa,’ available at: http://artmuseum.pl/en/wystawy/moglbym-zyc-w-afryce-i-could-live-in-africa

  4. See Luiza Nader, ‘Shame Socialist Realist Historiography in the 1980’s (case study),’ in Rejected Heritage, op. cit., n.p.

  5. See Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship and Beyond, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.

  6. Quoted in Lutz Becker, ‘Art for an Avant-garde Society: Belgrade in the 1970s’, in IRWIN (ed.), East Art Map:Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe, London: Afterall, 2006, p.400.

  7. See Maja Fowkes, The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism, New York and Budapest: CEU Press, 2015, pp.259–60.

  8. Zvonko Maković, ‘Nova slika: hrvatsko slikarstvo osamdesetih godina,’ Život umjetnost (1982), p.8.

  9. See Talijanska transavangarda (exh. cat.), Zagreb: Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1981.

  10. Jana Ševčiková and Jiří Ševčik, ‘Umĕní 80. Let’, in Jiří Ševčík (ed.), České umění 1938–1989 programy, kritické texty, dokumenty, Prague: Academia, 2001, p.398.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Annamária Gosztola, ‘Rabinec Galéria’, in 80: A Modern poszt-jai, Budapest: ELTE Humanities Faculty, 1994, p.255.

  13. Lórand Hegyi, ‘Foreword to the Exhibition “New Sensibility IV”’, New Sensibility IV (exh. cat.), Pécs: Pécs Gallery, 1987, p.26.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Along with Ákos Birkás, the artists representing Hungary at the Venice Biennial in 1986 were István Nádler, Imre Bak and Károly Kelemen.

  16. Gábor Bora and Lóránt Hegyi (ed.), András Böröcz, László Révész, János Szirtes, Budapest: 1987, n.p.

  17. Katalin Keserű, ‘Hungarian Art of the Eighties,’ in Hungarian Art of the Eighties (exh. cat.), Budapest: Ernst Museum, 1994, p.156.

  18. See Karol Sienkiewicz, ‘“Without the Proverbial Pomp and Circumstance”. The Beginnings of the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Cultural Policy of the State’, in Rejected Heritage, op. cit., n.p.

  19. See Anda Rottenberg, Sztuka w Polsce 1945–2005, Warsaw: Wydawn, 2005, p.294.

  20. Krzysztof Stanisławski, ‘Spóźniona Transawangarda? Na marginesie II Biennale Sztuki Nowej – Zielona Góra’, Sztuka, no.1, 1988, p.39.

  21. Founding group members were: Ryszard Grzyb, Paweł Kowalewski, Jarosław Modzelewski, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Marek Sobczyk and Ryszard Woźniak.

  22. ‘Gruppa’, in Jolanta Ciesielska (ed.), The Banana Republic: Polish Expression of the Eighties(exh. cat.), Debrecen: MODEM, 2010, p.16.

  23. The core members of Koło Klipsa were Mariusz Kruk, Leszek Knaflewski, Krzysztof Markowski and Wojciech Kujawski.

  24. Alexandra Alisauskas, ‘Communists like Them. Polish Artist Groups at Künstergruppen zeigen Gruppenkunstwerke’, in Rejected Heritage, op. cit., n.p.

  25. See Wojciech Kozłowski, ‘Zielona Góra 1979-81. The Unrecorded Myth’, in Rejected Heritage, op. cit., n.p.

  26. Milena Slavická, ‘The Eighties and Nineties’, inJiří Ševčík and Edith Jeřábková (ed.), Between the First and Second Modernity 1985–2012, Prague: Academy of Fine Arts, 2012, p.88.

  27. Ibid., pp.88–93.

  28. B. Jablonska, ‘Alchemy of the Eighties’, op. cit., p.279.

  29. Ibid., pp.278–80.

  30. Piotr Stasiowski, ‘Independence Experience of the Wroclaw Community in the 1980s’, in Rejected Heritage, op. cit., n.p.

  31. ‘Łodz Kaliska’ in J. Ciesielska, The Banana Republic, op. cit., p.42. The members of the groups were: Marek Janiak, Andrzej Kwietniewski, Adam Repecki, Andrzej Świetlik and Andrzej Wielogórski.

  32. György Galántai, ‘Artpool 1979–1991’, in György Gálantai and Júlia Klaniczay (ed.), Artpool: The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe, Budapest: Artpool, 2013, p.35.

  33. Ibid., p.269.

  34. The four members of the group were: Péter Bokros, Tamás Molnár, Tibor Philippi and Magdolna Serfőző. See László Menyhért, ‘Inconnu Csoport’, in 80: A Modern poszt-jai, op. cit., pp.235–36.

  35. The group members were Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek and Borut Vogelnik.

  36. Marina Gržinić, ‘Was ist Kunst’, in Zdenka Badovinac, Eda Čufer and Anthony Gardner (ed.), NSK from Kapital to Capital: Neue Slovenische Kunst – An Event in the Final Decade of Yugoslavia, Ljubljana: Moderna Galeria, 2015, p.139.