[artinfo] Left Performance Histories at nGbK

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Sat Jan 27 11:51:29 CET 2018

Left Performance Histories

February 3-March 25, 2018

Performance: Ongoing, Bálint Szombathy, The red kiss of history

Opening: February 2, 7pm, with words of welcome 
by Dr. Torsten Wöhlert, Permanent Secretary for 
Culture and Prof. Dr. Kathrin Busch, Board of nGbK

Exhibition with: Vlasta Delimar, Orshi Drozdik, 
Tomislav Gotovac, Ion Grigorescu, Ju¨rgen Hohmuth 
(chic, charmant & dauerhaft / ccd), Sanja 
Ivekovic, El Kazovszkij, Judit Kele, Tamás 
Király, László Lakner, Zbigniew Libera, Marijan 
Molnar, Sven Marquardt, Ewa Partum, Zygmunt 
Piotrowski, Christine Schlegel, Hans-Joachim 
Schulze & Peter Oehlmann (Gruppe 37,2), Irmgard 
Senf (Exterra XX), Mladen Stilinovic, Sven 
Stilinovic, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, 
Bálint Szombathy, Ra”a Todosijevic, Îelimir Îilnik

Where do works of performance art begin and end? 
How do they or the traces they left behind live 
on in the context of exhibitions? What do 
performances in socialist Eastern Europe reveal 
about artistic expression, political critique or 
nonconformist social behaviour? The exhibition 
Left Performance Histories features action art in 
Eastern Europe from the 1970s on in a way that 
also reflects on its continued relevance in the 
present. The show includes works of over 25 
artists, some well-known to those familiar with 
the alternative culture of the former Eastern 
Bloc, others possibly a new discovery even to the 

Rather than a comprehensive retrospective, the 
exhibition zooms in on a handful of selected 
topics that have been often left out of critical 
debates. Where the unofficial art of socialist 
Eastern Europe is conventionally framed as a 
reservoir of subversive gestures against an 
oppressive social, cultural and political 
environment, the present selection prefers 
instead to approach performance art as a site of 
jouissance where conventional self-presentation 
or socially approved forms of gendered identity, 
sexuality and standards of beauty may be 
bypassed. The exhibition also revisits the 
question of politicized artistic attitudes to 
suggest that the socialist state apparatus was 
not only challenged by anti-communist positions 
but also by critical voices insisting on 
democratic socialist principles or remonstrating 
the bitter ideological competition of the Cold 

Through a diversity of curatorial approaches 
(including documentary display, discursive events 
and reperformance), the exhibition also 
interrogates how performance art can be presented 
in the context of later exhibitions. It considers 
the relics, documentation and memory of events as 
part of these works expanded materiality to 
propose a possible understanding of performance 
pieces as unfixed and continuously generated 
archives that need to be configured anew every 
time these works appear in public. With this 
approach, the exhibition explores how the 
histories of performance art are generated, 
controlled and understood over time. Left 
Performance Histories poses questions of what 
constitutes the artwork and who are the 

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive program on February 16/17.
Please find further information 

A publication on the exhibition will be published 
in June. (ISBN: 978-3-938515-73-0)

neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK)
Oranienstraße 25
10999 Berlin
Hours:	Monday-Sunday	12-7pm,
	Wednesday-Friday	12-8pm


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