This course aims to produce a comparative study of key developments in European contemporary art after the fall of Communism in 1989. Focusing on the ‘long 1990s’ (1989-2001) in Eastern and Western Europe, the course’s central research question concerns the extent to which artistic production was been impacted by the end of a collectivist alternative in the political imaginary. Does the fall of the Wall result in common critical strategies/preoccupations in European art of the 1990s? Or do any apparent commonalities mask fundamentally different approaches? To what extent are we now all ‘post-communist’, and what does this term share with ideas of the ‘post-colonial’?
Because the course deals with recent art history, source material is plentiful (almost overwhelming) but critical analyes are relatively sparse. There is therefore ample opportunity for original research into works of art, exhibitions, catalogues, magazines, and recent theoretical attempts to elaborate the post-Communist new world order and its impact on cultural production in both East and West.