05 March 2010

History Memory Identity

History Memory Identity
Contemporary Photography from East Europe
Ex Ospedale Sant'Agostino, Modena, Italy

This exhibition curated by Filippo Maggia shows the public the second batch of acquisitions made by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, with photos, art video and films.

Almost all information was only in Italian. As I am neither fluent in Italian or Russian, Czhech or Bulgarian, I lost a lot of information, especially from the video interviews. But with some translation help I still managed a bit.

An exhibition with its mission to show the history, memory and identity of Eastern Europe as a whole is an ambitious project. Especially since the cultures and countries are so immensely diverse, whether it is Georgia, Estonia, Poland or Turkey. This seems rather to be a showcase of a collection than a consistent exhibition. Which is also interesting in itself.

Many of the pieces fulfill Westerners' expectations about Eastern European art during the great transition. Political themes like control, domination, emigrants and prejudice are fluent.

Here are some highlights:

Zbigniew Libera
LEGO Concentration Camp

Calin Dan
A movie about architect Raine Karp and Linnahall in Tallinn, a monumental Soviet-style cultural center in Estonian limestone. Especially enjoyable was the interview with Karp where he states that he does not care who orders the building, as the building is more important than politics, and see, the Soviet rule is over, but the building is still there!

Alexandra Croitoru
Photos of a woman on holiday on different locations, always wearing a Romanian flag-colored balaclava. Pointing to how Romanians are so often met with prejudice abroad, seen as Romanians, not individuals.

Adrian Paci
Centro di permanenza temporanea
Emigrants waiting in vain for a plane

Ene-Liis Semper
Like a modern feminine Sisyphus the character is awkwardly climbing the stairs over and over again.