• 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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Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos

Dimitrije Bašičević was an art historian, critic and curator at various Zagreb galleries. At the same time, though less famously, he was also an artist who worked under the pseudonym Mangelos (after a village near his birthplace of Šid). His oeuvre, according to later periodizations by Mangelos, starts in the postwar period with a number of work groups: “Paysages de la mort”, “Paysages de la guerre”, “Paysages”, and “Tabula Rasa” (black and white monochrome surfaces with text written underneath), which he used to express a state of oblivion and the setting for a new beginning. Taking up positions embodied by the “anti-art” of the Gorgona Group, Mangelos denied painting in the series “Pythagoras”, “Anti-peinture” and “Abecede”—accentuating the rational as the compositional factor in art. He later wrote ideas, poetry (No-stories) and manifestos in black, red and white color, in calligraphy between drawn lines, in a hybrid form of writing and painting in notebooks, on wooden boards and on globes. During the ’seventies, Dimitrije Bašičević the curator followed conceptual and media art, especially photography, but Mangelos the artist was inclined more toward defining terms and conceptualizing ideas. Simultaneously supported by a younger generation of artists, he tended to show his work in alternative, artist-run exhibition spaces. Just as before, Mangelos was in dialog—or rather in dispute—with everything he was studying, and his spectrum was broad, running from philosophy and art to psychoanalysis, to biology… Texts represented a specific form in which to express highly subjective stances dominated by the theory of the “machine civilization” and “functional thought,” with which he affirmed his ideas about society’s development and art’s non-development, i.e. about the crisis and death of art, explaining this in light of the rift between two civilizations: the “handmade” and the “machine,” the former being based on “old, naïve and metaphoric” and the latter on “functional” thought. Humor and irony were always present—in exhibiting ideas, in the discrepancy between a pretentious message and a banal sentence, in scorning authority, and in mixing various foreign languages (particularly German, French and English). Aware that such writing did not reflect the precision of the functional thought they were advocating, his manifestos became increasingly succinct (especially those written on globes). He wished to reduce information to the shortest possible form, to a clear and precise thought—a “super-Wittgenstein” thought, as he himself put it.

Chronologically, Mangelos’s work coincided with the feeling of the absurd in existentialist nihilism, the independent intellectual spirit of Gorgona, the overstepping of medium-entailed framework as practiced by Fluxus, and conceptualism in the use of language and philosophic deliberation. But taken as a whole, his oeuvre was quite authentic and created a specific realm of freedom that Mangelos conquered for himself and called NO-ART.



1921, Šid / RS, at that time Jugoslavija – 1987, Zagreb / HR, at that time Jugoslavija

Mangelos studied Art History and Philosophy in Vienna (Austria) and Zagreb (Croatia), where he graduated in 1949. Between 1959 and 1966 he was active in Gorgona, an informal artistic group named after one of his poems. Other members of the group were artists Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Duro Seder, Ivan Kožarić and Josip Vaništa, the architect Miljenko Horvat and the art historians Matko Meštrović and Radosav Putar. Mangelos himself worked as artist, art historian, art critic, poet, and curator. His oeuvre is an extraordinary combination of writing and painting.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Mangelos: Pythagoras”, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York City, USA       

2005     “Mangelos: Les lettres et les mots”, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York City, USA

2004     “Mangelos”, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain

2003     “mangelos nos. 1-91/2”, Neue Galerie Graz; Künstlerhaus Graz, Graz, Austria

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Museum of Affects”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2011     “Museum of Parallel Narratives. In the framework of L’Internationale”, MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain

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

2009     “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air”, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen, Belgium

2008     transmediale.08, Transmediale Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2007     “Eye on Europe”, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

2006     “Living Art on the Edge of Europe”, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands

2005     “Open Systems”, Tate Modern, London, UK

2004     “Arteast 2000+”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2003     “In den Schluchten des Balkan“, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

2002     “In search of Balkania” Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

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

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Sudac, Marinko, ed. 2011. Podrucǰe zastoja = Standstill: kolekcija Marinko Sudac = Marinko Sudac collection. Zagreb: Avangarde Research Institute.


Mangelos nos. 1 - 9 ½. 2003. Texts by Laura Hoptman et al. Porto: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves.

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