• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up



When Zofia Kulik and Przemyslaw Kwiek started the complex experiment to collaborate as KwieKulik in the beginning of the 1970s – analyzing and reflecting on their everyday life, their private and public existence as a couple, and their creative work with Socialist concepts – their work was accompanied by political considerations and artistic demands for a new role of the artist in society. The forms of representation of these considerations and the questions that they raised related to the status of contemporary art in general and provided the thematic framework for a particular project that developed for nearly two decades. It is a project that finds few analogies in European art of this period: a couple that used its artistic and private existence as a model for an ongoing aesthetic/political action, as a reformist-motivated, praxeological workshop for the education of an emancipatory society within the framework of state socialism.

            It was a specific moment in Polish (art) history when Kulik and Kwiek started their artistic partnership and their semiological and analytical reflection on the relationship between societal form and practice that aimed at the rejuvenation of everyday life under socialism, riddled as it was with bureaucratic routine. The Moscow nomenklatura had just put a stop to the cultural warm-up exercises of the modernist Sweet Sixties in the post-Stalinist Soviet Empire. The new conservative rigidity of cultural politics after 1970 intended, among other things, to prevent the ideas of the Prague Spring of reform from living on. While the neo-avant-gardes that formed in the Soviet Bloc were being pushed out of public perception into inner or real emigration, the seemingly liberal political climate and the rhetoric of social reform of the early Gierek years allowed the second generation of the Polish neo-avant-garde, young, pop-spiced late- or post conceptualists an audience and even space for public representation within the institutional framework of the official art system. Envy of Polish liberties spread beyond the Warsaw Pact states. Though these ultimately remained gestures whose symbolic integrationist power was not enough to lastingly secure the legitimacy of the system, they had opened up prospects to reformist possibilities and clearer insight into the insoluble contradiction between the imaginary space of Socialist power and the real space of Socialist everyday life. These new prospects for KwiKulik, when reconsidering the social role of the artist, seemed to be, at the very least, opening possibilities of actuating educational processes aimed at open and emancipatory structures in both artistic practice and its institutional frameworks. Contrary to most of their co-combatants of the second generation of Polish conceptualists who neglected this perspective and addressed themselves to either rigid formalisms, private mythologies, media self-reflection, or a hippie, pop-cultural and alternative cynicism, the couple took the call for reform literally, but with a specific task in mind, namely framing the analysis of regimes of form and discourses on the aesthetic as a social and political project. For KwieKulik, the 1970s cultural reforms were regarded as the most distinct symptoms of the absence of something – the social factor.      




Zofia Kulik

1947, Wrocław / PL

Przemyslaw Kwiek

1945, Warszawa / PL

KwieKulik is the name of the collective of the artists Zofia Kulik and Przemyslaw Kwiek, who worked together from 1971 to 1987.


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