1956 and 1968 in East Central European cultural history mark together a closure and a beginning. From our post-1989 present, we would like to look back and reconsider how we ourselves in the V4 countries interpret the time of reforms. We would like to restructure the rigid dichotomies, official versus non-official, conformist versus non-conformist art, which are inheritances of both the socialist system and its geo-political framing within Cold War cultural paradigms. We would like to research the art and artistic culture of this period of reforms along new trajectories, using new methods (cultural history, gender studies, visual studies) than has been applied to it previously, and hence look through a fresh eye into the local artistic micro-histories, seeing them anew in a regional and geopolitical frame.
We would like to share and assemble local information about specific contexts of sixties art in East-Central Europe. It is important to investigate the Sixties beyond national and linguistic borders towards a richer comparative and, where relevant, transnational, networked account of specific works, artists, groups, and tendencies. It is important that we ourselves, within the Visegrad countries, take a fresh look at “our” Sixties, which have both affinities with and divergences from the phenomena of this decade experienced elsewhere in Europe and abroad, as well as we intend to go against the tendency of nationalism in the region.
Cooperative, comparative research of these years in the four Visegrad countries can complicate both the homogenous picture of the art of the sixties behind the wall and self-contained art history writing within purely national scholarly contexts. We would like to discern in this period different sites and versions of art production, and unexpected strategies of artistic resistance. Research can be conducted along two lines: reinterpreting the supposedly “known” from new revisionary perspectives, and exploring fields of visual and performance culture that have up until now fallen outside of the interest of traditional art history.