OUR WORLD: February Art Picks

viennacontemporary presents their Top 5 Insider Picks – inspiring exhibitions and collaborations in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. We look forward to sharing with you a selection of outstanding art events currently on show in this big global art world that made us curious!

Spreading over several venues in Tallinn and inviting various artists based in, or originating from, the Central and Eastern European region, the 18th edition of the city’s Print Triennal primarily gives thought to the radical political, cultural political, and social turns that affect Central and Eastern Europe. The artists reflect on issues such as the rise of right-wing phobic politics, the collapse of democracies, and a general sense of fear and hostility prevailing today. The heart piece of the triennial is the main exhibition at Kai Art Center.

Since its first edition in 1968 under the name “Present Day and Graphic Form” where three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania  –  took part, the festival has undergone many changes. Prints, which are easily multiplied and distributed, have always been important medium for the innovative artistic ideas and alternative relations. 

This year’s festival is curated by Róna Kopeczky, a Budapest-based art historian, who is, amongst other things, well known as the artistic director of the acb Gallery, for the organisation of the first OFF-Biennale Budapest from 2015 onwards, as well as for co-founding Easttopics, a platform and hub dedicated to the contemporary art of Central Eastern Europe.

Kaunas Biennal, the largest, longest-lasting, most significant, and most visited contemporary art festival in Lithuania and the Baltic states, is approaching its closing day. Curated by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, the biennial is considered to be the opening of Kaunas as the European Capital of Culture 2022. The festival has brought together 23 international artists and groups from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, and Brazil. Besides the main exhibition set in the “House of Basketball “, the festival screens a selection of artist films, offers an online program, and is accompanied by a wide range of events, workshops, and performances.

The Berlin-based initiative Pickle Bar by the collective Slavs and Tatars has invited six former Belarusian participants of the studio’s mentorship program (2018–2020) to articulate an argument around the claim in the exhibition title When Red and White ain’t so Black and White in the project space Sentiment in Zurich. Each of the invited artists investigates their epoch amidst the cult of personality, the tyranny of individualism and its repression on collective bodies. A white and red stork offers us a more generative take on the white and red flag, asking us to reconsider new symbols far from a reductive nationalist attitude, be they related to exhaustion, hospitality, club or queer culture. With Andrey Anro, Olia Sosnovskaya, Uladzimir Hramovich, Ala Savashevich, Vasilisa Palianina, and Sergey Shabohin.

Acknowledging the gallery’s unique position across two culturally, historically, and politically opposed centers of power, Fragment Gallery located in New York, USA and Moscow, Russia presents four media works from Eastern European artists in New York which would otherwise not be seen in the United States, whilst simultaneously presenting in Russia four artists from North and South America whose work remains woefully elusive to spectators in the former Soviet republic. Each artist’s work is screened individually for one week at a time. Approaching its last week, the dual exhibition currently displays the works of Igor Simić in New York, juxtaposing Jacolby Satterwhite in Moscow.

In an unprecedented act of collaboration and pooling of resources, as well as trust, the galleries Bureau (New York), Hot Wheels Athens, LC Queisser (Tbilisi, Georgia), Stereo and Wschód (both Warsaw, Poland) have decided to share the space ECHO in Cologne, Germany. In the inaugural group show, Bureau features works by American artist Harry Gould Harvey IV, while Hot Wheels Athens stages two works by Greek sculptor Marina Xenofontos. From LC Queisser, the exhibition includes a series titled Quarantine Flowers, 2020 by Georgian artist Ketuta Alexi-Meskhisvili, Stereo showcases the latest sculptures by Polish artist Gizela Mickiewicz from her ongoing series “Mass and Mood”, and Wschód presents two newest drawings by American artist Christopher Culver for the first time.

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