Reports

The exhibition Memories of the Future II focuses on one of the key subjects in contemporary art – the artistic exploration of memory, history or archives. The artists presenting their work at this exhibition live and work in three post-communist countries of Central Europe – the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. From the viewpoint of contemporary art, this region seems to have great potential as an extremely rich „archaeological site“ since following the events of 1989, the forty-year-long period of state socialism was quickly erased from memory, only to return after ten years time in two conflicting forms – as a subject of sentimental recollections of „the good old days“ and as the „spectre of communism“. The works displayed at the exhibition deal with a whole range of themes, including investigations into the mechanisms of memory, work with a found image as well as a specific interest in the subject of utopia and visions of the future not only under socialism.
„Archival impulse“, „archaeological imagination“, „modernology“ or „historiographic turn“… today art theory is looking for ways of naming and understanding trends in contemporary art on which the present exhibition focuses. In recent years we have witnessed a really great interest in reviewing modernist language (in the Czech republic let us mention the successs of the painter Vladimír Houdek, last year´s winner of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award). However, the present attempts to return to the period of modernity are more and more often motivated by a revived interest in the future. The reasons for this interest must be sought in the very nature of our present: stagnating late capitalism, a general feeling of insecurity and the periodically recurring crises which spill over from the economic sphere into all areas of social life. The thing that contemporary artists developing archaeological imagination are looking for is not just any past but specifically the „past future“, i.e. unrealised, unused or forgotten versions of the future that could offer an alternative to the unsatisfactory present.

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