Paula Gortázar’s article ‘Cosmos, Fiction and Transcendence: Photography and Conceptual Art in Communist Bratislava’ is out now in Third Text.
This article analyses the development of Conceptual Art in Bratislava during the communist period, with specific emphasis on the practices produced throughout the so-called ‘Normalisation’ (1968–1989). The text starts by introducing the functioning mechanisms of the Czechoslovakian artistic scene of the time. It then moves on to analyse the work of Július Koller, Rudolf Sikora and Ĺubomír Ďurček. It is argued that, despite the difficult conditions for art production present in Bratislava during Normalisation years, Conceptual Art served its precursors as an escape valve for their political convictions, which they manifested through the use of puns, parody, irony, metaphors and the design of elaborate cosmological fictions through utopian and dystopian projections of their own political and cultural reality. In doing so, the unique properties of photography, such as its reduced size, low cost and indexical qualities, turned the medium into the most suitable form to materialise their conceptual practice.
Open source and free to access. Click here to read online.