February 2, 2005 - East Art Map - a project by IRWIN
February 2, 2005

a project by IRWIN

East Art Map
a project by IRWIN

History is not given. Please help to construct it.


e-flux is pleased to present East Art Map online, a project by IRWIN – an artist group based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. To view East Art Map, please go to projects.e-flux.com/eastartmap

In the West, when someone even passably familiar with art history comes across a work by Joseph Beuys or Yves Klein, say, they immediately see it in relation to an entire network of other artworks and artists, among whom Beuys and Klein occupy important places. The “map” of Western art, in other words, is largely present in the minds of almost everyonein its basic outlines at least.

Not so in Eastern Europe, where the transparent structure of an overarching art history simply does not exist. In fact, no referential system is in place that is accepted beyond the borders of a given country and by which artifacts, events, and artists, significant to the history of art, can be organized and appreciated. Instead of such a transparent system, which allows for comparisons on an international scale, as in the West, what predominates in Eastern Europe is art-historical narration organized into local mythologies, or systems, adapted to the needs of individual countries, plus the occasional double system, which is full of legends and stories about art and artists opposed to the “official art”. Documentation about the latter is slight and sporadic, and comparisons to contemporary art and artists beyond the frontiers of a country are very rare.

Which is where East Art Map (EAM) comes in. EAM aims to critically (re)construct the history of art in Eastern Europe between 1945 and the present in an effort to transgress against these closed systems of interpretation and evaluation. By leading interested individuals through the last fifty years of the visual arts in the region, EAM hopes to serve as an orientation toolan art-history GPS, as it wereto a vast, but uncharted territory. 250 artists/events/projects considered of major importance by 24 invited art critics, curators, and artists from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern countries have been preliminarily identified.

This is, however, an initial selection only. Through its new website,EAM invites the public to provide it with data that might well change the topography of the map it is formulating. In this way, EAM hopes to accelerate the collection of data and democratize its organization, to make it possible for anyone to collaborate in the creation of a history that will unfold before their eyes, and to establish a space and create conditions that facilitate communication among theoreticians, critics, and others from around Eastern Europe.

EAM also invites anyone that wishes to, to propose additions or modifications to any project or artwork included on EAM. Submitted proposals will be evaluated by a committee of six Eastern and Western European experts every two to three months. To view the EAM please go to projects.e-flux.com/eastartmap

History is not given. Please help to construct it.

Since 1983, the IRWIN artist group has been working with various media, from painting to public art, from sculptural works and installations to publishing. Following their “retro principle”, the five-member-group utilizes and combines different motifs, symbols and signs from the fields of politics and art, which results in the transformation of their historical meaning and content, and in the re-contextualisation and deconstruction of their related ideologies.

Project by
IRWIN (Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Borut Voglenik)

EAM website editor
Inke Arns

Short texts editor
Livia Paldi

Natasa Petresin

This project is taking place in the framework of Relations. Relations is a
project initiated by Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Federal Cultural
Foundation, Germany).

With the support of the Culture 2000 programme of the European Union.

Project supported by the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia.

East Art Map
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