1957-1986. Art from the Decline of Modernism to the Rise of Globalisation

This was the first project organised within the framework of L'Internationale, a transnational organisation founded in 2009 in order to instigate new narratives, latitudes and chronologies of the art history of the second half of the twentieth century, and to encourage collaborations among museums and archives. The founding partners of L'Internationale were the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana; the Július Koller Society, Bratislava; the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, MACBA, Barcelona, the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen. The first step of the long-term collaboration was this two-year project with the title 1957–1986. Art from the Decline of Modernism to the Rise of Globalisation from October 2010 to October 2012.

Each institution has shown that they are repeatedly concerned to negotiate different forms of local knowledge and experience with the central art historical narrative written in one or two western political/economic capitals. This initiative enabled the institutions to more effectively connect to their own stories together in new rhizomatic ways and to reconsider internationalism and translocalism as more sensitive measures of art and its relation to society.

The intention of L'Internationale as a new transinstitutional organization of five European museums and archives was a long-term collaboration based on collective use of their collections and archives. One of the goals was to challenge the usual master narratives of art and investigate local to local comparisons and differences. In place of the global, hegemonic ambitions of the largest contemporary art institutions, L'internationale proposed collaboration between museums, each with its specific collection focus and history, as a way to instigate transnational, cultural narratives in plural.

The concrete aims of L'Internationale were to develop common platforms and methodologies for presentation, education and research dealing with the full range of museological fields including collections, archives, publications, public mediation and conservation. The plan anticipated a long-term cooperation that concentrated on replacing the institutional spectacle with a sense of persistent presence and offered the museums' constituencies regular connections between specific contexts.

In 2011 a part of the Arteast Collection 2000+ was presented at the MACBA as a Museum of Parallel Narratives exhibition, testing the hypothesis, and a first exercise of alternative relational taxonomies was made through a reflective cooperation of the different institutions in Museum of Affects in MSUM. The following year the new take was realised on a grand scale through Spirits of Internationalism, a mapping of the period based upon the six collections, presented at the M KHA and Van Abbemuseum. This kind of decentred perspective was to become ever more international standard practice in the following years.

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Installation view, Museu de les narratives paral·leles (Museum of Parallel Narratives), 2011. MACBA Collection. MACBA Study Centre. MACBA’s Historical Fonds. © Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Installation view, Museu de les narratives paral·leles (Museum of Parallel Narratives), 2011. MACBA Collection. MACBA Study Centre. MACBA’s Historical Fonds. © Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Installation view, Museu de les narratives paral·leles (Museum of Parallel Narratives), 2011. MACBA Collection. MACBA Study Centre. MACBA’s Historical Fonds. © Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Exhibition view, "Museum of Affects". MSUM, Ljubljana, 2011
Exhibition view, "Museum of Affects". MSUM, Ljubljana, 2011
Exhibition view, "Museum of Affects". MSUM, Ljubljana, 2011
Exhibition views Spirits of Internationalism, 2012, Van Abbemuseum, photo: Peter Cox
Exhibition views Spirits of Internationalism, 2012, Van Abbemuseum, photo: Peter Cox
Exhibition views Spirits of Internationalism, 2012, Van Abbemuseum, photo: Peter Cox
Installation view, Spirits of Internationalism, 2012. Works by Manzoni, Gego, Yves Klein (part of ‘the Concrete’). M HKA
Installation view, Spirits of Internationalism, 2012. Works by Bruce Nauman, Anselm Kiefer, Gerard Richter, Edward Ruscha, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol (part of ‘the Subverted’). M HKA
Symposium
Exhibition
Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Common Knowledge
20–22 Apr 2012

The purpose of this seminar is to encourage reflection on a possible new and different approach to creating common knowledge, more in sync with our time than the prevalent epistemological and institutional models. The seminar will be divided in two main parts, the first one entitled Horizontal Connections, and the second one, Verticality in the Service of Common Knowledge. The first part will focus on the new global conditions and on the fact that we require more equality in creating knowledge under these conditions, and the second one, on the need to redefine institutions so that they can attune themselves to this new situation.

Speakers: Brian Holmes, Pascal Gielen, Madina Tlostanova, Rastko Močnik, Jesús Carrillo, Vasif Kortun, Georg Schöllhammer Moderation: Bart de Baere, Charles Esche

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Van Abbemuseum
Spirits of Internationalism- 6 European collections, 1956 - 1986
21 Jan–06 May 2012

The exibition takes place simultaneously on two locations: Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) and M HKA (Antwerp)

ARTISTS IN THE VAN ABBEMUSEUM Alain Arias-Misson, Stuart Brisley, James Lee Byars, Luc Deleu, Lili Dujourie, Esther Ferrer, Gego (Gertrud Goldstein), Jef Geys, Tomislav Gotovac, Grup de Treball, Paul de Vree, Tibor Hajas, Július Koller, KwieKulik, Fina Miralles, François Morellet, Antoni Muntadas, Pere Noguera, OHO, Panamarenko, Henk Peeters, Józef Robakowski, Tomaž Šalamun, Jan Schoonhoven, Mladen Stilinovi, Toon Tersas.

ARTISTS IN M HKA Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Alighiero e Boetti, Marinus Boezem, Marcel Broodthaers, Stanley Brouwn, Victor Burgin, James Lee Byars, André Cadere, Jef Cornelis, Herman de Vries, Luciano Fabro, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), Hans Haacke, René Heyvaert, Jenny Holzer, Jörg Immendorff, Robert Indiana, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Anselm Kiefer, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Guy Mees, Cildo Meireles, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Bruce Nauman, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Jan Schoonhoven, Nancy Spero, Frank Stella, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Victor Vasarely, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner.

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Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA)
Spirits of Internationalism- 6 European Collections 1956-1986
21 Jan–06 May 2012

The exibition takes place simultaneously on two locations: Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) and M HKA (Antwerp)

ARTISTS IN THE VAN ABBEMUSEUM Alain Arias-Misson, Stuart Brisley, James Lee Byars, Luc Deleu, Lili Dujourie, Esther Ferrer, Gego (Gertrud Goldstein), Jef Geys, Tomislav Gotovac, Grup de Treball, Paul de Vree, Tibor Hajas, Július Koller, KwieKulik, Fina Miralles, François Morellet, Antoni Muntadas, Pere Noguera, OHO, Panamarenko, Henk Peeters, Józef Robakowski, Tomaž Šalamun, Jan Schoonhoven, Mladen Stilinovi, Toon Tersas.

ARTISTS IN M HKA Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Alighiero e Boetti, Marinus Boezem, Marcel Broodthaers, Stanley Brouwn, Victor Burgin, James Lee Byars, André Cadere, Jef Cornelis, Herman de Vries, Luciano Fabro, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), Hans Haacke, René Heyvaert, Jenny Holzer, Jörg Immendorff, Robert Indiana, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Anselm Kiefer, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Guy Mees, Cildo Meireles, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Bruce Nauman, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Jan Schoonhoven, Nancy Spero, Frank Stella, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Victor Vasarely, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner.

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Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Museum of Affects
26 Nov 2011 – 29 Jan 2012

The Museum of Affects exhibition brings together four important European museums: Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen (M HKA). The institutions have joined forces to challenge the present canons of art history and replace them with transnational, pluralistic cultural narratives and approaches.

How to go about this? How to address similarities and differences in a new way? The Museum of Affects exhibition is one possible approach. It brings together works that emerged out of various events between 1957 and 1986. The circumstances under which these works were produced range from the totalitarian regimes in the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia to the cultural oppression under Franco's regime in Spain and the specific situation in the Lowlands. In addition, pop art, minimalist, and conceptualist works from the then hegemonic North American art system are included in the show.

The main focus of the exhibition is not the formal and cultural positioning of these works, neither is it a comparative analysis between them, but rather the notion of affects, the power of affecting and being affected. We define this power as a resonance with artworks, where artworks become events made of intensities, which leave certain traces in space and time and, above all, on or within our bodies and minds

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MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
The Museum of Parallel Narratives
14 May–02 Oct 2011

The exhibition Museum of Parallel Narratives. In the framework of L'Internationale brought together more than a hundred works by some seventy artists and offered an overview of the avant-garde art produced in Eastern Europe from 1961 to the present. The majority of works were drawn from the Arteast 2000+ Collection at the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana, but seven were created specifically for the exhibition: four of these engaged in a kind of self-historisation and creation of parallel archives (Artpool, Zofia Kulik, Július Koller and Lia Perjovschi) and three were "fictitious mini-collections", which set up connections between Western and Eastern artists (Alexander Dorner, IRWIN and Mladen Stilinović). Most of the works included in the exhibition at the MACBA had been created during dictatorial regimes and confronted the lack of freedom through performative experimentation, political dissidence, poetic practice and a spirit of constant physical and conceptual research.

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MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
East European Art History: two generations
09–11 Dec 2010

The term "Eastern European" came into frequent use only after the communist regimes in this part of the world had collapsed. There was, on the one hand, the Western interest in Eastern art, which increased dramatically in the early 1990s, and on the other, the strong need for a common narrative of Eastern European art that was felt particularly by young art historians and artists from various Eastern European countries. In the 1990s, a first generation of art historians and artists started tackling the question of a common Eastern European identity. Working under conditions that were still rather poor, they began exchanging ideas and developing diverse forms of collaboration, starting in this way the processes of historicizing art in the post-communist countries. At the end of the 1990s, a second generation of art historians and artists emerged into a world that had much better-developed networks. Proceeding from the results arrived at by the first generation they have been trying to deepen the knowledge on specific neo-avant-garde artists and movements. The question of a common Eastern European identity is no longer their main preoccupation, although the issues of unrealised communist utopias have remained in the field of their research. The December PEI seminar will present some of the activities of this second generation of Eastern European art historians.

Participants:

Piotr Piotrowski, Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, Ivet Curlin from WHW and the students of MACBA's Independent Studies Programme (PEI)

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Open Society Fund
Para -Institutions
30–31 Oct 2010

International speakers: Alex Alberro, Graciela Carnevale Local speakers: Ľubomír Ďurček, Daniel Grun, Denisa Lehocká

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Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Points of connection
27–29 Oct 2010

The conference and research seminar, Points of Connection, is the first in a series of projects at L'Internationale, a new transinstitutional organization of five major European museums and artists archives. The intention of this organization is a long-term collaboration based on collective use of the institutions' respective collections and archives. One of the goals is to challenge common canons and master narratives of art and investigate local-to-local comparisons and differences. In place of the global hegemonic ambitions of the largest contemporary art institutions, L'Internationale proposes collaboration between museums, each with its specific collection focus and history, as a way to instigate transnational, plural cultural narratives. One aim is to give greater visibility to the similarities between different collections and archives as the point of connection at which their interests, methodologies, and visions come together. L'Internationale aims to build a new, plural narrative and to keep the processes that build it transparent. The first conference will give equal attention to the object of research (avant-garde art from 1956 to 1986) and to the methods of research and the sources used (particularly collections and archives).

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Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Cold War Avant-gardes
11–12 Oct 2010

The Cold War Avant-gardes seminar will focus primarily on artistic strategies with emancipatory potential that evolved in the different social contexts which limited freedom of action for various political or economic reasons. The term Cold War is used here to describe the specific relations existing between the East and the West after the Second World War, which on a different level led to very divergent social relations, with dictatorial regimes in Eastern Europe and Latin America on the one hand, and the United States and the European social democracies on the other. Cold War imagery was based on numerous dichotomies, the most fundamental of them being the division between the Soviet and US spheres of influence, with the non aligned countries as a now forgotten third option. One of the goals of the L'Internationale project is to transcend the ideology of dichotomy and search for similarities between the postwar avant-garde tendencies in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Western world. Research is being carried out on several levels, focusing on the similarities and differences between the emancipatory potential of artistic practices in different parts of Europe and America.

At a time when totalitarian regimes kept their citizens in isolation in a large part of the world, the postwar avant-gardes served as a model of alternative international communication; it would be therefore misguided to only emphasize their specificities stemming from the isolation of their political regimes. In her book Dreamworld and Catastrophe, Susan Buck-Morss writes about the ways different parts of the world were interconnected in the Cold War period; she even describes the fall of socialism as a result of it following capitalism too faithfully. In his discussion of conceptual tendencies in Eastern European art (Moderna galerija, June 2007), Boris Groys suggested that we should follow more the claim of similarity than identity or difference. He talked about difference, diversity, and identity as contemporary versions of or pseudonyms for modernist authenticity.The strategies of work artists developed in their individual social contexts were quite context-specific, which dictates reading apparently similar artistic gestures in different ways. With three public lectures and related workshops, the seminar in Ljubljana will look at artistic movements in Slovenia, Russia, and Spain that cannot be interpreted without a prior understanding of their local contexts, while their aesthetic concepts concur with broader international movements, which also allows for comparative analyses.

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