• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


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Ewa Partum

The work of Ewa Partum contributes to the pioneering artistic analyses on the position of women evolving in Poland at a time when feminist theories were still unheard of. While the United States saw the second wave of feminism as early as Betty Friedan’s publication of “The Feminist Mystique” in 1963, Partum’s earliest work, in which she traces the contours of her body on a white canvas in the open landscape around Sopot on the Baltic Sea, dates back only to 1965. This work, entitled “Presence”, marks the representation of woman in public space—which the artist has since continued demonstrating over the years in various performances, be it with her own naked body or in combination with signs and letters to signify the non-explicit. The latter is put forth in the reverse action “Absence”, where one sees only the contours of the body’s shadows plus a pair of black rubber boots. This diptych from 1965 marks woman’s split position within society, which Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing analyzed in his 1960 publication “The Divided Self”, a seminal book on the conditions of mental deviation as a sign of social pressure which also influenced the work of VALIE EXPORT. 

The impossibility of an adequate representation of the subject in public is manifested in the 1971 performance “Legality of Space”, where Partum placed traffic signs and various textual plates on a square at the center of Łódź. Here the artist demonstrates the restrictions placed upon the individual in public while also rendering hyperbolic the absurdities implied by mechanisms of political control, with one of the signs translating as “Forbidding forbidden.” The transgression of forbidden territory which lies at the center of Partum’s art represents a general feature of feminist practices since the 1960s, forcing the dissolution of the inequalities between private and public life. One of the artist’s important performances in this context is entitled “Change – My Problem is the Problem of a Woman” (1979), where Partum uses her whole body, onto which make-up artists apply make-up to make one part of the artist’s body look old, while the artist engages with the audience. In the background one can hear the recordings of texts by Lucy Lippard, VALIE EXPORT and the artist herself; these mark the interrelations of feminism at that time despite often-difficult channels of communication.



1945, Grodzisk Mazowiecki / PL

Partum studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz (Poland) from 1963 to 1965, and at the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Poland) from 1965 to 1970. She belongs to the first generation of the conceptual avant-garde in Poland in the 1960s and 1970s and is a pioneer of feminist art.

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2009     “Ewa Partum - Politics is Temporary Art Remains”, Foto-Medium-Art Gallery, Krakow, Poland

2006     “Ewa Partum: The Legality of Space”, Wyspa Institute of Art, Danzig, Poland

2002     “Ewa Partum - poem by ewa”, Foth Gallery, Freiburg, Germany

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “formes brèves, autres, 25 - 49 NORD 6 EST”, Frac Lorraine, Metz, France

2011     “Three Women”, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland

2010     “Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “Gender Check - Rollenbilder in der Kunst Osteuropas“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2008     “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution”, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2007     “For a Special Place: Documents and Works from the Generali Foundation Collection”, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York, USA

2006     “Word Sculpture”, Tate Modern, London, UK

2004     “double bind - kunst - kinder – karriere“, Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Bremen, Germany

2003     “multiple joy”, Foth Gallery, Freiburg, Germany

2002     “Semiotic Landscape”, Charim Gallery, Vienna, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Toniak, Ewa, ed. 2011. 3 Women: Maria Pinińska-Bereś, Natalia LL, Ewa Partum. Warsaw: Zacheta National Gallery of Art [Exhib. Cat., Zacheta National Gallery of Art Warsaw (Mar. 1-May 8, 2011)]


Stepken, Angelika, ed. 2001. Ewa Partum: 1965-2001. Engl./Germ. Karlsruhe: Badischer Kunstverein [Exhib. Cat., Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe (Feb. 17-Apr. 16, 2001)]

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