Published by IDEA arts+society
Editor: Bogdan Ghiu with Maria Rus Bojan
Graphic design: Timotei Nădăsan with Lenke Janitsek
Format: 26 x 21 cm
Price: 20 €
112 pages

The catalogue of the project Performing History was conceived and developed by the writer and theorist Bogdan Ghiu (co-editor Maria Rus Bojan) as a special issue of nr 38 of the magazine IDEA, Arts + Society, the most famous and original contemporary art publication dedicated to critical thinking and reinvention of South Eastern Europe.

After a preface by Hunor Kelemen, the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the first section of the catalog, titled "Speaking Thoughts: The History of Performing History", the two curators of the project Performing History, Maria Rus Bojan and Ami Barak, along with Bogdan Ghiu, coauthor of the concept, express views, not in the form of a classical statement, but by being interviewed by the Italian writer and New Yorker journalist Alessandro Cassin, under the respective titles "The Challenges of Life and History," "The Permanent Avant-Garde" and "Ex-East East As Art: The Ethic Counter-modernity and the New Battles." These talks retrace freedom through art history in terms of privation of liberty in the recent history of Eastern Europe, and the gains of freedom that this work can have for the current globalized world.

The two following extensive sections are devoted to the presentation of images of works by the artists of the project Performing History: veteran Ion Grigorescu and younger Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová.

Under the heading “Performing History, an Open Project (Dialogues & Essays)”, critics, curators and art historians from Eastern Europe countries or just concerned with extra-Western history of recent art in this area are invited to discuss the meanings of works by the involved artists. The joint assembly increases their significance. Irina Cios, art critic and curator, director of the ICCA (International Center for Contemporary Arts) in Bucharest, converses with Ion Grigorescu about "Critical Resistance from Within"; Raluca Voinea, art critic and curator based in Bucharest, talks with Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová (in "From Flirtation Fixation through to Fatal Attraction - Balancing the Scales of Power Out); then Chantal Pontbriand, founder of the contemporary art magazine Parachute, analyzes (in "Suspended perfoming History in Space") the work of Ion Grigorescu and Dessislava Dimova (Bulgarian writer and curator living in Brussels) discusses the main lines of force of Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová's most recent projects ("Performing History: Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better"). The central section of the catalogue ends with the re-publishing (under the heading "A General and Universal Concept of Resistance") of a substantial text dedicated to the work of Ion Grigorescu, excerpted from the famous In the Shadow of Yalta: Art and Avant-garde in the Eastern Europe, 1945-1989 (London, Reaktion Books, 2009) written by the Polish art historian and teacher, Piotr Piotrowski.

The last section of the catalogue, entitled "The Next East for the New World: Re-Thinking European Peripheral Modernities in Decolonial Perspectives" is, in a different editorial perspective, a contribution of the magazine IDEA, Arts + Society, which proposes to include the concept Performing History in the concerns of the magazine to form an appropriate critical thinking about the post-communist neo-liberal transition of Eastern Europe. After a brief introduction by the catalogue publisher, Bogdan Ghiu ("East-South: The Beginning of the New Performing of History"), an talk made by Alessandro Cassin, with sociologist, media and political analyst and professor, Vasile Dâncu speak of "Reinventing the East through Art and Art as"; known as the last two radical thinkers in Eastern Europe, Slovenian theorist Marina Gržinić (“Decoloniality As/In/At The Frontier”) and the Romanian philosopher Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu (“Decolonizing Eastern Europe: Beyond Internal Critique”), both discuss the need and possibilities of developing a specific decolonialisation theory in order to reinvent ethical and artistic history of Eastern Europe.

Also is inserted in the catalogue pages a sociological survey entitled “Feedback and Evaluation Questionnaire Concerning the Reception of the Artist Act Presented in the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale”, a first time initiative proposed by the IRES (Romanian Institute for Assessment and Strategy) led by the sociologist and professor Vasile Dâncu.

The publication of the catalogue Performing History project would not have been possible without the full support of the Romanian Lottery.