CALL FOR PAPERS - INVISIBLE HISTORY OF EXHIBITIONS - symposium, 21-22 May 2009, Budapest


21-22 May 2009, Budapest - project


"Invisible History of Exhibitions", a symposium organized by (HU) aims at the formation of shared knowledge and discourse on Eastern European art exhibitions from the 1960s until now. The framework of this project is a long-term international collaboration, "art always has its consequences", that focuses on invisible, alternative histories through exhibition history, artists' texts, archives, and conceptual design, which have had restricted international visibility and accessibility so far and thus are often missing from the canonized narratives of contemporary art.

The symposium investigates the history and the current interpretations of the exhibition, as the dominant format of contemporary art production and presentation. "History" in this context is interpreted as a group of constructed narratives based on events that constitute shifts in the notions of art (art history) and the modes of its presentation (exhibition history). In Eastern Europe progressive art events between 1945 and 1989 could often only happen in the "second publicity", so they are embedded in the historical conditions of the public sphere. While in western countries mainstream art institution hosted curatorial group exhibitions that constitute the landmarks in the history of exhibitions, in Eastern Europe paradigmatic events often happened in private flats and off-site spaces outside of official art institutions. Consequently, a different methodology must be introduced to be able to include Eastern-European events in the international discourse of exhibition history.

The symposium presents historical and contemporary case studies describing paradigmatic art events that significantly affected our understanding of exhibitions. Examples of Eastern-European art practices are suggested to be related to such topics of the international theoretical and curatorial discourse as:

* the spatial and temporal nature of the exhibition
* the ephemeral qualities and methodologies of reconstruction and documentation
* the role of the location from site-specificity to institutional critique
* authorship and artistic-, curatorial-, visitor positions
* exhibition as a historical, ideological, or political construction in relation to the transformations of the public sphere
* the collective/unifying concept and representation of Eastern-European art

Together with the symposium we intend to launch an Eastern-European online database of exhibitions. The first items in the database will be the references of the speakers at the conference and in the future the archive will grow by the submissions of other invited and voluntary contributors.

The language of the symposium is English. Speakers are invited by the organizers and selected from the applications submitted to call below. The papers of the symposium will be published on


If you are interested in participating in the symposium with a paper please submit a 200 word abstract. Please send your proposal to [email protected] until 15 MARCH 2009.

concept: Dora Hegyi, Zsuzsa Laszlo, Emese Suvecz

Supported by the EU's Culture 2007 Program.
tranzit is a contemporary art initiative supported by Erste Bank Group