viennacontemporary presents our Top 5 Insider Picks – inspiring exhibitions and collaborations in the greater art world. We look forward to sharing a selection of outstanding art events currently on show in Central and Eastern Europe, and beyond!
“The Dark Arts” is a career-wide exhibition of Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska’s work on the subjects of mythology, apocalypse, and latent energy. The show includes historical works of other artists to better contextualize the recurring motifs of Alexandra’s paintings — the undead, vampires, and other occult figures — and explores how such features are related to permanent qualities of subconscious yearning and lived experience in twentieth century Northeastern Europe.
With over 210 works on view, the exhibition allows viewers a comprehensive window into the artist’s “fantastical visual universe”, and invites them to follow Waliszewska’s winding and unique storytelling across her decades of painting.
Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, changes location every two years. It has consistently chosen unexpected host locations that reflect Europe’s ever-changing DNA to shed light on a world defined by changing ethical and aesthetic imperatives. In 2022, Manifesta 14 Prishtina will take place in Prishtina, Kosovo. Manifesta 14 aims to support the citizens of Kosovo in their ambition to reclaim public space and to rewrite the future of their capital as an open-minded metropolis in the Balkans and in Europe through the development of a new cultural institution.
The biennial programme will feature over 100 participants from over 30 countries, who will present exhibitions, events, performances and interventions in public spaces across Prishtina. To guide visitors along the way, there will be Mediated Tours exploring different themes and locations around the city.
In operation since 2015 to counteract the growing censorship of the arts in Hungary, the OFF Biennale grew from its initial one-time art event into an independent platform and champion of subculture in defiance of Hungarian state control. By avoiding state-run arts institutions in its home country, the Biennale has maintained a strict dedication to free and progressive expression.
This summer, OFF Biennale has produced two projects and a publication for Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, Germany. One interrogates the potentials of revisiting the past of the Roma Museum of Modern Art in hopes that viewers may better understand the artistic production of Roma artists in the present. The second transforms a space on the side of the Fulda River into a creative and regenerative performance — at once a playground, junkyard, and construction site. The publication examines notions of independence in their relationship with collective organization, all in relation to the Biennale itself.
Kunsthalle Bratislava is restaging “Do Nothing, Feel Everything”, a remarkable exhibition curated by Laura Amann and Aziza Harmel and originally shown at Kunsthalle Wien in 2021. The exhibition examines an escape from contemporary withdrawal into physical and mental numbness by embracing new horizons — of time and emotion which is allowed to wander at the speed of its own processes. The constant anxious energy of the world is challenged by the artists selected, with work hinting at potentials for change and growth on an intimate and interpersonal level hidden deep within the chaos of the everyday.
Since 2002, Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler have accumulated a contemporary art collection which spans over 700 works, almost all of which are dedicated to cataloging trends and developments in the arts since Hungary’s disintegration from the Soviet political sphere. The Q Contemporary has organized a small sample of this massive private collection in Budapest, centering the topics of Eastern European artistic exchange, sociopolitical storytelling and memory, and women’s roles in new and changing social roles. The exhibition comprises artists from varied international backgrounds and artistic mediums, yet ensures the selections all point to an embrace of a new and often scary world, using the arts to find one’s place in the midst of great upheval.