press release

“The Sky is Blue in Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading”, features a selection of artists, primarily from Central and Eastern Europe, spanning different generations yet grounded in the shared contemporary traditions of abstract, conceptual and minimal art. The work on view ranges across a variety of media -- including painting, drawing, photography, video and performance -- creating a multi-voiced dialogue between generations, media and local contexts. However, independent of their geographic origins or chosen medium, the artists in the exhibition share a critical position toward notions of history, identity and ideology, while at the same time engaging in a critical reevaluation of the contemporary conditions of displacement and discontinuity.

In the words of curator Adam Budak, the exhibition charts “how meaning is produced and subsequently deconstructed in a substitutive interplay of figures, images and voices, out of ruptures and folds of time and space or traps of ideological doctrine.”

Artists participating in the exhibition include Michał Budny (Poland, 1976), Liudvikas Buklys (Lithuania, 1984), Thea Djordjadze (Georgia, 1971), Mekhitar Garabedian (Syria, 1977), István B. Gellér (Hungary, 1946), Eva Kotátková (Czech Republic, 1982), Mangelos (Serbia, 1921 - 1987), Dóra Maurer (Hungary, 1937), Ewa Partum (Poland, 1945), Agnieszka Polska (Poland, 1985), Jiří Skála (Czech Republic, 1976), Natalia Załuska (Poland, 1984).

Adam Budak is an independent curator, art critic and writer, currently based in Washington DC. He has been International Curator for Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Curator for Contemporary Art at the Kunsthaus Graz Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria. Budak has curated the Estonian Pavilion of Venice Biennial of Art (2013) and co-curated Manifesta 7 (2008). He is one of the selectors of this year's prestigious Artes Mundi Award (2014). During the opening on April 25th there will be a performance entitled Confrontation

“The Sky Is Blue In Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading”

By Adam Budak

Operating as a (nebulous) assemblage, the exhibition “The Sky Is Blue In Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading“ focuses on a few significant, mainly conceptual, abstract and minimal positions of older and younger generations of artists from Central and Eastern Europe, put together according to a concept which derives from a rare work of Hungarian artist, Istvan B. Geller, "The Sky Is Blue In Some Other Way And Is Big In Some Other Way" (1972), a poetic manifesto of imagination and resistance, but also of defense and despair of ideological melancholia, an utterly liberating expression of isolation and difference.

Transgressing the geopolitically conditioned notions of history and identity and announcing the arrival of a new paradigm, freed of a burden of the ideological past and its trauma, the artists engage in a critical redefinition of an inherent, imaginary or empirical difference and sameness, as well as a reevaluation of both displacement and discontinuity, brought by sociopolitical changes and a sense of stylistic otherness and repression. Gathered together, they speculate possible relationships and provoke potential misreadings, exchanging glances of similitude and distancing, zooming in and out their own individual and communal fate. Harold Bloom’s intellectual revisionism, articulated in the literary theorist’s seminal “Anxiety of Influence“ is taken up again by a curatorialcum-detectivist perspective which investigates the primal scene of artistic eloquence as a landscape of shadowed meaning, reflected form and dubious reception. In particular, this exhibition as a diagram of a possible misreading follows Bloom’s sequel “A Map of Misreading“, charting how meaning is produced and subsequently deconstructed in a substitutive interplay of figures, images and voices, out of ruptures and folds of times and space or traps of ideological doctrine. Introjection and projection operate as dialogical devices that initiate imaginary conversations and deliberately ignorant statements thus grasping a „wandering significance“ at the core of each potential misprision. “The Sky Is Blue In Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading” constructs an active and responsive space of relationality and sublimation where interpretation conspires with translation in a common act of undoing the patterns of belonging and otherness, between memory and amnesia, trespassing appropriation and belatedness. Practicing forgetting (a liberating process), taming their own estrangement, through cuts and erasures, misspellings and silent gestures, disseminated words and corporeal commitments, the artists clear the sky of their own language and map their own “other way“, their blue sky above them.

While Mangelos's anti-art work constitutes an extremely important pillar of this show's conceptual structure where the language and formal alphabet are vehicles of cognitive subversion and negation, Ewa Partum's active poetry and her tautological cinema and Dora Maurer's perceptive exercises of mathematical and geometric systems map territories of formal experimentation which includes proto-feminist manifestos, sociopolitical engagement and radical imagination and subjectivity. The younger generation of artists, such as Eva Kotatkova, Agnieszka Polska or Natalia Zaluska expand this vocabulary of pure reduced form and nostalgic return to a forgotten past and once rejected legacy. Thea Djordjadze’s work as well as that of Michal Budny and Liudvikas Buklys negotiate the passage between formal subjectivities, marking blurred lines of tradition and (national and historical) belonging, depicting new cartographies of a metaphor, capable of overcoming the imprisonment within local alphabets and styles. Jiri Skala’s on-going series of performances under the common title „Confrontation Reading“ investigate the relationships between systems and means of production, thus researching possibilities of comunication in today’s cybernetic age while the work of Mekhitar Garabedian is an intimate quest for the individual’s own place and the (other) subject formation in a diasporic society 1 The exhibition “The Sky Is Blue In Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading” may be perceived as the curator’s self-revisionist act in regards to his exhibition “Anxiety of Influence. Bachelors, Brides and a Family Romance“, curated in 2004 in Kunstmuseum Bern and Stadtgalerie Bern with contributions from such artists as Denisa Lehocka, Barbora Klimova, Tim Lee, Boris Ondreicka, Katarzyna Kozyra, Dominik Lejman, Kris Vleeschouwer and Andrea Schneemeier. That show analysed the mechanism of the Duchampian “bachelor machine’s“ perpetual motion and rotation as a never-ending discovery of a new, unreachable place. It was the curator’s first application of Bloom’s theory of misreading and misprision – a study of influence as an act of misreading that poets perform upon one another in order to clear imaginative space for themselves.

only in german

The Sky is Blue in Some Other Way: A Diagram of a Possible Misreading

Michal Budny, Liudvikas Buklys, Thea Djordjadze, Mekhitar Garabedian, Istvan B. Geller, Eva Kotatkova, Mangelos, Dora Maurer, Ewa Partum, Agnieszka Polska, Jiri Skala, Natalia Zaluska

Adam Budak