SUMMER SCHOOL | The Big Shift: the 1990s. Avant-gardes in Eastern Europe and Their Legacy
23 August 2019 — 30 August 2019

Marko Peljhan, Makrolab, MAKROLAB mark IIex CAMPALTO ISLAND OPERATIONS, part of the Individual Systems, curated by Igor Zabel at the Venice Biennale 2003



The Big Shift: the 1990s. Avant-gardes in Eastern Europe and Their Legacy


Museum of Modern Art plus Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, MG+MSUM

23 to 30 August 2019


The last week in August, Moderna galerija in Ljubljana is organizing, for the second year in a row, an international summer school. Entitled The Big Shift: The 1990s Avant-gardes in Eastern Europe and Their Legacy, the summer school is taking place in both Moderna galerija’s museums, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova.


This year’s summer school continues to draw on the topics related to the legacy of Eastern European avant-gardes. A particular emphasis will be placed on the major changes caused by the collapse of socialism, the end of the Cold War and the restoration of capitalism in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The discussions will focus on the paradigm of an avant-garde artist and art that was thoroughly shaken and altered in the 1990s.


During the socialist era, the main point of reference for Eastern European (including Russian) art was the Communist ideology and the conflict with the West. Today, the main (explicit or non-explicit) points of reference are the new nationalist and populist movements in Europe and the attempts to define one’s cultural identity by artistic means. This also implies a reassessment and reinterpretation of the avant-garde traditions and of the socialist past.


The summer school will be organized around four major topics: Art and Economy,

Art and War, Art and Identity and the Third Path.


In the 1990s, the rapid transition to capitalism brought many new elements in the field of culture. In Eastern Europe, art and culture lost their previous absolute state protection, and private initiatives became important; nonetheless, the state continues to be the principal provider of art funds to this day. In the 1990s, art collectives, so characteristic of the socialist era, transformed: some artists organized in NGOs, or artist-run spaces, or small institutions. Now artists have somehow stopped fighting the wheels of history and ideology and started pragmatically adapting to or resisting the same thing: the all-powerful neo-liberalism. Despite the equalizing power of global capitalism, there are still major differences between different spaces: the market in Eastern Europe, for instance, has remained undeveloped. In any case, the international market shows a growing demand for artists with different geographical backgrounds, which stimulates their pragmatism in one way or another. To what extent have artists truly betrayed the avant-garde values, and to what extent have they remained society’s conscience?


The war in the Balkans left a deep mark on the work of artists and institutions. Some of the artists who began their careers in the 1990s, for example Marko Peljhan, attempted to explore the relationship between art and technology in the context of the wars in the Balkan. The early 1990s were further marked by a global war for dominance in the field of information. Another very important tool of resistance in the 1990s was political performance – in many cases it was not only considered a “witness” to the events, but also direct political action against the regime (such as Milošević’s regime in Serbia). This kind of engagement was often called “art in extreme political circumstances”. Moderna galerija organized the Living with Genocide symposium (1996) and initiated the project For the Museum of Contemporary Art Sarajevo 2000, which can be described as a museum of solidarity.


The 1990s saw the framing of different identity policies: regional, gender, class, racial etc. In Eastern Europe, this related especially to the common experience of socialism, which nonetheless differed significantly from country to country. Yugoslavia with its self-managing socialism and the Non-Aligned Movement was a particular exception. Especially in Ljubljana, the 1990s saw a strong trend of focusing on Eastern European art by both artists and institutions alike.


In Moderna galerija, The Body and the East exhibition, staged in 1998, started the ongoing process of mapping Eastern art; one of the results of this orientation is the international Arteast 2000+ collection, presented in 2000 in a former Yugoslav People’s Army complex in Metelkova. Also intriguing is the question of present-day relevance of regional identities as approached in the 1990s. Is it still meaningful to continue to research Eastern European art based on some common denominators?


Over the summer, the Southern Constellations exhibition is on view at the +MSUM, featuring both historical works and materials and contemporary artists responding to the Non-Aligned Movement. The historical experience of the Non-Aligned Movement is certainly an inspiration for reflection on different current global alliances outside today’s centers of power. Our summer school will not limit its topics to the Eastern European context alone, but attempt to point out the dialogue with other spaces operating outside the Western context.


The summer school was conceived by Boris Groys, a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, and one of the most notable theorists and curators of Eastern European art, in particular Russian, and Zdenka Badovinac, Director of Moderna galerija, curator, writer and initiator of the Arteast 2000+ Collection.


120 candidates from across the world applied for the summer school this year, mostly from Europe and the United States, and also Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia. The jury selected 45 participants, 5 of them from Slovenia. 15 scholarships were granted in collaboration with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and the Erste Foundation.


The summer school program consists of open lectures aimed at the interested audience and workshops aimed exclusively at the summer school participants and led by the lecturers and some Moderna galerija curators.


Lecturers and mentors

Zdenka Badovinac, Inke Arns, Sezgin Boynik, Boris Buden, Branislav Dimitrijević, Keti Chukhrov, Eda Čufer, Charles Esche, Marko Jenko, Viktor Misiano, Marko Peljhan, Bojana Piškur, Walid Raad, Igor Španjol, Anton Vidokle, Martina Vovk, Arseny Zhilyaev.



Public Program

Inke Arns, Zdenka Badovinac, Sezgin Boynik, Boris Buden, Keti Chukhrov, Eda Čufer, Branislav Dimitrijević, Charles Esche, Viktor Misiano, Marko Peljhan, Walid Raad, Anton Vidokle, Arseny Zhilyaev


Friday,  23 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:30 Anton Vidokle, Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism, lecture

20:00 Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism, film screening


Saturday, 24 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:00 Zdenka Badovinac, Artists’ archives – War, Self-histories and Piracy, opening lecture

20:00 Boris Buden, Contemporary Populism and Contemporary Art in the Mirror of Language, lecture


Sunday, 25 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:00 Inke Arns, On Re-Reading Avant-Gardes and Becoming Alt-Right, lecture

20:00 Keti Chukhrov, Evil, Surplus, Power – the Three Media of Art, lecture


Monday, 26 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:00 Arseny Zhilyaev, "Labor" Market: Post-Soviet Art through the Prism of the Shuttle Traders Model, lecture

20:00 Branislav Dimitrijević, "Turbo-Folk Made Me Do It!": Schizo-anthropology of the Genre, lecture


Tuesday, 27 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:00 Charles Esche, Places for Art to Happen, lecture

20:00 Viktor Misiano, The Russian 1990s: Dialectics of the Transitional Period from Nowhere to Nowhere, lecture


Wednesday, 28 August 2019, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM

20:00 The Portrait of Yugoslavia in the Style of Art & Language, opening of the exhibition curated by Sezgin Boynik


Thursday, 29 August 2019, auditorium MG+

18:00 Marko Peljhan, Here we go again... Resolutions, Decision-making and Strategies, lecture

20:00 Eda Čufer, EAST ART MAP – Is it Art or Art History?, lecture

22:00 Walid Raad, Oder pod zvezdami, Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana

LES LOUVRES and/or KICKING THE DEAD, public performance in frames of the Mladi levi festival, in collaboration with zavod Bunker.





Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and writer, who has served since 1993 as Director of the Moderna galerija and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova in Ljubljana. Curated numerous exhibitions presenting both Slovenian and international artists. She initiated the first collection of Eastern European art, Moderna galerija’s 2000+ Arteast Collection. She has been systematically dealing with the processes of redefining history and with the questions of different avant-garde traditions of contemporary art, first with the exhibition Body and the East – From the 1960s to the Present, staged in 1998 at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. She was the Slovenian Commissioner at the Venice Biennale (1993–1997, 2005, 2017) and Austrian Commissioner at the São Paulo Biennial (2002). From 2011-2013 Zdenka Badovinac was president of CIMAM .

Her recent projects are: 1:1 Stopover produced by the Maska Institute at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana (2013); Grammar of Freedom / 5 Lessons: Works from Arteast 2000+ Collection, with Snejana Krasteva and Bojana Piškur, at the Garage Museum, Moscow (2015); NSK from Kapital to Capital. Neue Slowenische Kunst – an Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (2015); Low-Budget Utopias, with Bojana Piškur, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana (2016); NSK from Kapital to Capital. Neue Slowenische Kunst – an Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016) and at the Museo Reina Sofía Madrid (2017), Heavenly Beings: Neither Human nor Animal (with Bojana Piškur) and Hello World. Revising a Collection; Sites of Sustainability. Pavilions, Manifestos and Crypts, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin and Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana (2018).


Inke Arns, PhD, is a curator and artistic director of Hartware MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund, Germany, since 2005. She has worked internationally as an independent curator, writer and theorist specializing in media art, net cultures, and Eastern Europe since 1993. 

She obtained her PhD from the Humboldt University in Berlin with a thesis focusing on a paradigmatic shift in the way artists reflected the historical avant-garde and the notion of utopia in visual and media art projects of the 1980s and 1990s in (ex-)Yugoslavia and Russia.

Besides HMKW she curated exhibitions also at Bauhaus (Dessau), n.b.k. (Berlin), Moderna galerija (Ljubljana), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Museum of Contemporary Art (Belgrade), Centre for Contemporary Arts – CCA (Glasgow), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Videotage (Hong Kong), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (Novi Sad), Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski (Warsaw), Contemporary Art Centre CAC (Vilnius), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Kunstpalais (Erlangen) and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) among others. International exhibitions include IRWIN: Retroprinciple 1983-2003 (2003), What is Modern Art? (Group Show) (2006), History Will Repeat Itself (2007), Arctic Perspective (2010), The Oil Show (2011), Artur Zmijewski: Democracies (2012), Suzanne Treister: HEXEN 2.0 (2012), Francis Hunger: History has left the Building (2012), Sounds Like Silence (John Cage – 4’33” – Silence today / 1912 – 1952 – 2012)(2012), Digitale Folklore (2015), RYBN: ADMXI (Paris 2015), Whistleblower & Vigilanten. Figures of digital resistance (2016), Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun (2016), Dan Perjovschi: The Hard Drawing (2016), alien matter (Berlin 2017), The Brutalism Appreciation Society (Dortmund 2017) and numerous others.


Sezgin Boynik is art-theoretician and publisher based in Helsinki. He completed his PhD on cultural policy of Yugoslav 'Black Wave' cinema. Co-edited Nationalism and Contemporary Art: Critical Reader (MM & Exit, 2007), and History of Punk and Underground in Turkey (BAS, 2008). Recent publications include Noise After Babel: Language Unrestrained (Spector Books, 2015, with Minna Henriksson), In the Belly of the Beast: Art & Language New York Project (Rab-Rab Journal Vol. 4, No. 2, 2017, with Michael Corris), Coiled Verbal Spring: Devices of Lenin's Language (Rab-Rab Press, 2018). He is currently working on a monograph about the theoretical and political context of Black Audio Film Collective titled Living with Contradictions: Contemporary Art and Nationalism, and on the collection on Yugoslav concrete poetry to be published as a special issue of OEI Journal. He is editor of Rab-Rab: Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, and Rab-Rab Press, an independent publishing platform based in Helsinki,  


Boris Buden is a writer and cultural critic based in Berlin. He received his Ph.D. in cultural theory from Humboldt University in Berlin. In the 1990s, he was editor of the magazine Arkzin in Zagreb. His essays and articles cover the topics of philosophy, politics, cultural and art criticism. He has participated in various conferences and art projects in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and USA, including Documenta XI. Buden is the author of Barikade Zagreb (1996/1997), Kaptolski Kolodvor, Belgrade (2001), Der Schacht von Babel, Berlin (2004), Zone des Übergangs, Frankfurt/Main (2009), Findet Europa, Wien (2015), etc.


Keti Chukhrov is a Moscow-based art theorist and philosopher. Chukhrov holds a PhD in comparative literature and Doc. Habil. in philosophy. She is an associate professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and in 2012-2017 ran the Theory Department at the National Centre for Contemporary Art. She is currently a Marie Curie fellow at Wolverhampton University in the UK. Chukhrov has authored numerous texts on art theory, culture, politics, and philosophy, as well as the books To Be and to Perform. The Concept of “Theatre” in Philosophical Art Criticism (2011) and Pound & £ (1999), and two volumes of dramatic poetry, Just Humans (2010) and War of Quantities (2004).


Eda Čufer is a dramaturge, curator and writer. In 1984 she co-founded an art collective NSK based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has collaborated with many contemporary theater, dance and visual art groups including the Sisters Scipion Nasice Theater, the dance company En-Knap, the IRWIN group and Marko Peljhan’s Project Atol. Her recent writings are mainly concerned with the ideological dimensions of contemporary art and the relationship of political systems to art systems. These have appeared in magazines like Art Forum and Maska, and in books published by The Museum of Modern ARt, MIT Press, Revolver, Afterall Books, Sternberg Press, Whitechapel Gallery, and the catalog of the 2009 Istanbul Biennial. She has curated exhibitions in Germany, Austria, and Italy, including In Search of Balkania, Balkan Visions, and Call Me Istanbul. She recently published a history of dance notation systems, and is now working on a new book project, Art as Mousetrap, with the support of a fellowship from the Arts Writers Grant Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Now living in the United States, she remains active with many art projects and groups in Europe.


Branislav Dimitrijević is Professor of the History and Theory of Art at the School for Art and Design in Belgrade. He has been active as a writer and curator, and his main research interests are in the fields of the visual arts, popular culture and film of socialist Yugoslavia. He also writes regularly on contemporary cultural, artistic and political issues in Serbia. His books include On Normality: Art in Serbia 1989-2001 (MOCA Belgrade, 2005), Against Art - Goran Djordjević, 1979-1985 (MOCA, Belgrade, 2014) and most recently, Potrošeni socijalizam (Fabrika knjiga, Belgrade, 2016). Dimitrijević holds an MA degree in the history and theory of art from the University of Kent, and received his PhD in cultural studies from the University of Arts in Belgrade for a thesis on the emergence of consumer culture in socialist Yugoslavia. For selected texts and his full CV, see: ttps://


Charles Esche is a curator and writer. He is the director of the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) since 2004, member of the board of L'internationale confederation and chair of CASCO, Utrecht. In addition to his institutional curating he has (co-)curated many exhibitions, such as Le Musée égaré (Kunsthall Oslo, 2017), Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse, 2016), Jakarta Biennale (2015), 31st São Paulo Biennale (2014), U3 Triennale (Ljubljana, 2011), RIWAQ Biennale (Palestine, 2007 and 2009), Istanbul Biennale (2005), Gwangju Biennale (2002), amongst other international exhibitions.

He is a co-editor of Afterall Journal and Books and series editor of Exhibition Histories published by Bard College and Afterall and distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Together with Will Bradley Esche co-edited the reader Art and Social Change published by Afterall and Tate Publishing. He also co-edited a reader called “The Netherlands, for example" with Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova for the 2007 Venice Biennale. A selection of his texts was published in 2005 under the title Modest Proposals by Baglam Press.


Viktor Misiano is a curator and critic based in Moscow. He began his professional career as a curator of contemporary art at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (1980-1990) and later became the director of the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) in Moscow (1992-1997). Between 2001 and 2006, he was deputy director of the State Museum Exhibition Centre “ROSIZO”.

From 2010 to 2014, he has been chairman of the Supervisory Board of Manifesta Foundation and was on the curatorial team for Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996). In most of his curatorial projects he has represented Russian artists: in the Russian section of the 3rd Istanbul Biennial (1992), the 46th and 50th Venice Biennial (1995, 2003), the 1st Valencia Biennial in Spain (2001), the 25th and 26th São Paulo Biennial (2002, 2004). He strongly increased the visibility of Central Asian artists with the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennial (2005), and at the Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007-2008).

A majority of his curatorial work is dedicated to the Post-Soviet space, which he observed as interaction between past and present and characterised with the ideas of progressive nostalgia. It is the editorial work that represents an important segment in Misiano’s work. In 1993 he founded the Moscow Art Magazine and has been its editor-in-chief ever since.


Marko Peljhan is an artist and researcher working in and between art, technology and science. His projects, initiatives, and collaborations span a vast area ranging from ecology and social reflection to tactical media, technology, space explorations and geopolitics. In 1994, Peljhan founded the non-profit art institution Projekt Atol, and was a co-founder of the Ljubljana-based new-media laboratory Ljudmila a year later. He first presented one of his best-known projects Makrolab at the Dokumenta 10 in Kassel in 1997. Over the past 25 years his work has been exhibited and won awards internationally at multiple biennials and festivals (Venice, Gwangju, Brussels, Manifesta, Johannesburg, Istanbul), at several ISEA exhibitions, several Ars Electronica presentations and in major museums, including MoMA PS1, New Museum of Contemporary Art, ICC NTT Tokyo, YCAM Yamaguchi, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, and the Garage Museum in Moscow, among others. He was the first Slovene artist to win the Golden Nica prize at Ars Electronica in 2001 for the Polar project, produced together with the German artist Carsten Nicolai. In collaboration with American-Canadian artist Matthew Biederman Peljhan has also been coordinating the Arctic Perspective Initiative since 2008, an art/science/tactical media project focused on the global significance of the Arctic’s geopolitical, natural and cultural spheres, and presented at their exhibition Coded Utopia in Moderna galerija in Ljubljana in 2011. Currently Peljhan represents Slovenia at the 58th exhibition International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.


Bojana Piškur is a senior curator at the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana.  Her research focuses on political issues and the way in which they relate to, or are manifested in, the field of art looking specifically at the regions of former Yugoslavia and Latin America. She has contributed to numerous publications and lectured extensively on topics such as post avant-gardes in former Yugoslavia, radical education, cultural politics in self-management, and the Non-Aligned Movement.  She initiated Radical Education Collective in 2006 (active until 2014).

Related exhibitions and projects include Glossary of Common Knowledge (with Zdenka Badovinac and Jesús Carrillo), MG Ljubljana in th frame of L'Internationale, 2013-2017; This is All Film. Experimental Film in Yugoslavia 1951–1991 (with Ana Janevski, Jurij Meden and Stevan Vuković), Moderna galerija Ljubljana, 2010; Museum of Affects (with Bartomeu Mari, Bart De Baere, Teresa Grandas and Leen de Backer), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova 2010, Politicization of Friendship, +MSUM Ljubljana, 2015, Grammar of Freedom / Five Lessons (with Zdenka Badovinac and Snejana Krasteva), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2015, Heavenly Beings. Neither Human nor Animal (with Zdenka Badovinac), 2018, Southern Constellations: Poetics of the Non-Aligned, 2019.


Walid Raad is an artist and a Professor of Art in The Cooper Union (New York, USA). Raad’s works include The Atlas Group, a fifteen-year project between 1989 and 2004 about the contemporary history of Lebanon, and the ongoing projects Scratching on Things I Could Disavow and Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut). Raad’s solo exhibitions include the Louvre (Paris), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), ICA (Boston), Museo Jumex (Mexico City), Kunsthalle Zurich (Zurich), The Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), Festival d’Automne (Paris), Kunsten Festival des Arts (Brussels), The Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin). His works have been shown in Documenta, The Venice Biennale, Whitney Bienniale, Sao Paulo Bienale, Istanbul Biennal, Homeworks I and III and numerous other museums, biennales and venues in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.

His books include Walkthrough, The Truth Will Be Known When The Last Witness Is Dead, My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair, Let’s Be Honest The Weather Helped, and Scratching on Things I Could Disavow.


Igor Španjol studied sociology of culture and art history at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. Since 1999 he has worked as a curator for the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. His major projects include: the exhibition trilogy Slovene Art 1975–2005 (with Igor Zabel, 2003–2005), a series of exhibitions in Moderna galerija’s project space Mala galerija (Andrei Monastirsky, 2007; Danica Dakić, Harun Farocki, Sašo Sedlaček, 2008; Deimantas Narkevičius, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, Silvia Kolbowski, 2009; David Maljković, 2010), the collection display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (with Zdenka Badovinac and Bojana Piškur, 2011), Art in Slovenia 2005–15 (with Bojana Piškur and Vladimir Vidmar, 2015), and retrospectives of contemporary Slovene artists Tomaž Lavrič (2010), Marko Peljhan (2011), Marko Pogačnik (2012), Tadej Pogačar (2014), Vadim Fishkin (2015) and Srečo Dragan (2016), Milenko Matanovič (2018).


Anton Vidokle is an artist and editor of e-flux journal. He was born in Moscow and lives in New York and Berlin. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Biennale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, the 65th and 66th Berlinale International Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Gwangju Biennale, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Garage Museum, Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and others.


Arseny Zhilyaev is an artist based in Moscow and Venice. His projects examine the legacy of Soviet museology and museums based on the philosophy of Russian Cosmism, using exhibitions as a medium. The artist's works have been shown at biennales in Gwangju, Liverpool, Lyon and the Ljubljana Triennale, as well as at exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; de Appel, Amsterdam; HKW, Berlin; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris and San Francisco; V-a-c Foundation, Moscow and Venice, among others. Zhilyaev graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of Voronezh State University, (2006); Moscow Institute of Contemporary Art (2008); and MA International Programs, Valand School of Fine Arts, Goteborg, Sweden (2010). Zhilyaev publishes articles in the journals e-flux, Idea, Moscow Art Magazine and others. He is an editor of the anthology Avant-Garde Museology (e-flux, University of Minnesota Press, V-a-c Press, 2015). Recent accolades include Russian awards in the sphere of contemporary art, and a nomination for the Visible Award in 2013.



The Summer School: The Big Shift / the 1990s. Avant-gardes in Eastern Europe and Their Legacy is a part of a four-year programme Our Many Europes led by L'Internationale confederation of museums with its partners Valand Academy (University of Gothenburg) and National College of Art and Design Dublin. Supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory.






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