Poetry and Performance

The Eastern European Perspective

Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia



Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň, Sabine Hänsgen


Matej Gavula

graphic design:



Zlatka Borůvková, Ján Gašparovič


22. 12. 2017, 18:00-20:00

exhibition open:

23. 12 – 10. 3. 2018
Wednesday – Sunday 1 PM – 7 PM

free entry (voluntary)




Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho, Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), Gabriele Stötzer, OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch

In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene.

The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural  milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings.

The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. “Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective” thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure.

In cooperation with: Dubravka Djurić, Emese Kürti, Claus Löser, Pavel Novotný, Branka Stipančić, Darko Šimčić, Māra Traumane

Thanks to the lenders:

  • acb Gallery, Budapest
  • Archiv »ex.oriente.lux« Glashaus e.V.- Brotfabrik, Berlin
  • Archive of Bohumila Grögerová and Josef Hiršal, Liberec
  • Archive of Hardijs Lediņš, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), Riga
  • Archive of the Research Centre for East European Studies, University Bremen
  • Branka Stipančić, Zagreb
  • Centre for Artists’ Publications / Museum Weserburg, Bremen
  • Collection of Darko Šimičić, Zagreb
  • Collection Sarah Gotovac / Courtesy Tomislav Gotovac Institute, Zagreb
  • Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation, Vienna
  • László Vágó, Budapest
  • Marinko Sudac Collection, Zagreb
  • Michal Resl Collection, Archive of Ladislav Novák, Liberec
  • Orange Alternative Foundation (www.orangealternativemuseum.pl) and Piotr Lewiński, Warsaw
  • Pavel Novotný Collection, Liberec
  • Private Collection of Michal Murin, Bratislava
  • Václav Havel Library, Prague

Nová synagóga and the curators would like to thank all the artists and poets for their participation and for providing their works for the exhibition.