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The Other Trans-Atlantic: Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s

17.11.2017 – 11.02.2018

The Other Trans-Atlantic: Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s examines a brief, yet historically significant moment in the post-war era, when artists from Eastern Europe and Latin America cultivated a shared enthusiasm for Kinetic and Op art. This trend represented both an alternative and a challenge to the critical consensus of mainstream art in the Northern Atlantic. While Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel and Lyrical Abstraction reigned supreme in the established art centers of Paris, London and New York, a distinct chapter of art history was being written, linking the hubs of Warsaw, Budapest, Zagreb, Bucharest and Moscow with Buenos Aires, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. A network of artistic practices was forged, its artists committed to an entirely different set of aesthetic questions that arose in the context of analogous political and economic realities.

The blossoming of Kinetic Art and Op Art in those regions was, in large part, a manifestation of a fascination with movement – its aesthetic effects and the dynamic opportunities it generated, creating  novel possibilities for audience engagement. These mobile objects were often created by interdisciplinary teams of artists, scientists and engineers. They were rarely conceived as finished masterpieces to be admired by a disinterested beholder but, rather, to be displayed in galleries and public spaces as open invitations for viewers to interact and participate in the artistic process.

Decentered, unmoored and equipped with ever-shifting parameters, these objects were primarily artistic experiments that expressed an earnest belief in the transformative power of art at the precise moment when the West’s reigning art ideology had definitively abandoned the idea of utopia as such. In contrast, art movements across South America and Eastern Europe demonstrated a fascination with science, new technologies and cybernetics, which was linked to a dedicated commitment to building a better future with these very tools.

The Other Trans-Atlantic: Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s–1970s presents works by more than 30 artists and collectives hailing from both sides of the Atlantic, set to a narrative that reflects common threads among their interests and creative intuition. Through a focus on art that moved beyond static objects and clear-cut definitions of the artist’s role, the character of a work of art, and the viewer’s role, the exhibition attempts to rewrite a marginalized chapter of art history after the Second World War through a different geopolitical perspective. This viewpoint—more familiar today in the context of globalization and the constant movement of people across the earth, who are less attached than ever to a particular location, language, or identity—may help bring us closer to understanding the changing world around us and shaping new possibilities for the future.

Artists:

Vladimir Akulinin, Vojin Bakić, Martha Boto, Feliza Bursztyn, Lygia Clark, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Milan Dobeš, Dvizhenie Group, Wojciech Fangor, Constantin Flondor, Vladimir Galkin, Gego (Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt), Oskar Hansen, Francisco Infante, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Julije Knifer, Vyacheslav Koleychuk, Gyula Košice, Grzegorz Kowalski, Vlado Kristl, Julio Le Parc, Almir da Silva Mavignier, Mir Group, Vera Molnar, Lev Nussberg, Hélio Oiticica, Abraham Palatnik, Andrzej Pawłowski, Prometheus Group, Ivan Picelj, Ludmiła Popiel, Vjenceslav Richter, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Mira Schendel, Nicholas Schöffer, Sigma Group, Jesus Rafael Soto, Aleksandr Srnec, Henryk Stażewski, Zdeněk Sýkora, Victor Vasarely, Magdalena Więcek, Ryszard Winiarski

Curatorial team:

Marta Dziewańska, Dieter Roelstraete, Abigail Winograd

Project management & research:

Szymon Żydek

Research support:

Snejana Krasteva, Sasha Obukhova, Alina Serban  

Exhibition design: 

Marcin Kwietowicz, Magdalena Romanowska

Construction concept:

Daniel Przybyłek

Graphic design:

Jakub de Barbaro (texts), Paweł Olszczyński (vitrines), noviki

Poster design:

Ludovic Balland Typography Cabinet

Artist profiles:

Magdalena Roszkowska

Translation into English: 

Agnes Monod-Gayraud

General contractor: 

Studio Alena Trafimava

Realisation:

Jakub Antosz, Marek Franczak, Piotr Frysztak, Szymon Ignatowicz, Jan Jurkiewicz, Paweł Sobczak, Marcin Szubiak, Michał Ziętek

Cooperation:

Sylwia Borowska, Magdalena Drągowska, Anna Gajek, Martyna Gart, Anna Tryc-Bromley, Meagan Down, Wiktor Kazimierczak, Michał Kożurno, Agnieszka Kosela, Mateusz Maleszewski, Marta Maliszewska, Marta Skowrońska-Markiewicz, Bartosz Stawiarski, Marta Styczeń, Kacha Szaniawska, Katia Szczeka, Michał Szymko, Joanna Turek, Iga Winczakiewicz, Katarzyna Witt, Daniel Woźniak

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in collaboration with Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and SESC São Paulo.

The dates of the presentation in Moscow:
17.03.2018 – 9.05.2018

The dates of the presentation in São Paulo:
25.07.2018 – 30.09.2018