What Will Be Already Exists

Temporalities of Cold War Archives in East-Central Europe and Beyond

How do artist archives survive and stay authentic in radically changed contexts? The volume addresses the challenge of continuity, sustainability, and institutionalization of archives established by Eastern European artists. At its center stands the 40th anniversary of the Artpool Art Research Center founded in 1979 in Budapest as an underground institution based on György Galántai's »Active Archive« concept. Ten internationally renowned scholars propose contemporary interpretations of this concept and frame artist archives not as mere sources of art history but as models of self-historicization. The contributions give knowledgeable insights into the transition of Cold War art networks and institutional landscapes.

€45.00 * $55.00 *

21 September 2021, 198 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5823-1

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Emese Kürti

Emese Kürti, Museum of fine Arts Budapest, Ungarn

Zsuzsa László

Zsuzsa László, Museum of fine Arts Budapest, Ungarn

1. Why did you choose this topic?

It emerged from the need to reflect on and contextualize transnationally the 40-year-long history of Artpool, an ›active archive‹ – now a department of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest – but founded in 1979 as an underground institution with the aim to share and generate information on local and international art practices. Several similar artist archives have recently reached a turning point in their history and have to transform from private initiatives into public institutions.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

Our book discusses artist archives not as static time capsules, sheer sources of (art) history, or raw material of artistic practices but as self-organized institutions actively shaping their own histories and futures. The chapters of the volume authored by experts of different but interrelated art fields of Eastern Europe explore how these archives persist and adapt to radically changed contexts compared to the ones in which they were established.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

The volume's topic is at the intersection of more current discourses in the field of institutional critique, archival studies, and progressive museology, critical historiography including the feminist rereading of the Cold War East European neo-avantgardes, the institutionalization, and historicization of self-organized curatorial and artistic practices like mail art and artist archives. The authors of the chapters present innovative theoretical proposals and case studies based on new research of primary sources.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Wolfgang Ernst, Professor for Media Theories at Humboldt University of Berlin, theorist of archives, the author of »Das Rumoren der Archive. Ordnung aus Unordnung« (2002).

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

The book gives a guide to the whole life cycle of artist archives from motivations behind self-documentation and archiving, through the alternative histories they generate, to their inevitable transformations.

Emese Kürti / Zsuzsa László (eds.)
Book title
What Will Be Already Exists Temporalities of Cold War Archives in East-Central Europe and Beyond
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 12 SW-Abbildungen, 26 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
ART015000 ART015110 BUS041000
Release date
21 September 2021
Gesellschaft, Museum, Kulturgeschichte, Erinnerungskultur, Kunst
Art History, Museology, Cultural Studies, Art Theory, Eastern European Studies
(Artist) Archives, Cold-War, Neo-Avant-Garde, Eastern Europe, Historicization, Memory Culture, Society, Cultural History, Art History, Art History of the 20th Century, Cultural Management, Museum Management, Fine Arts

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