This book studies performative art projects and strategies in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and 1970s. It builds on the concept of the “art of contestation”as used by the Slovak art critic Tomáš Štraus, which refers to the exploration of the possibilities and limits of an individual artist’s environment and their positioning within it. Regarding the complex sociopolitical situation in Slovakia during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the case studies in this book shed light on the relationships and points of contact between the official and unofficial arts scenes under Communist rule. These artisticsitesseem to have been only partially mutually exclusive and autonomous systems. Instead, they could be conceptualized as inter-relational systems. Performances, happenings, event-based activities, and interventionsworkedanalytically as a kind oflitmus test through which the paradoxical, ambiguous, and contradictory conditions of post-war artin Slovakia could be traced out.
“I don’t plan to show this text to the censors, and I do not have enough courage to believe that there would be a time without censorship in the near future. Well, I would say, this is the best time for writing. Freedom is really a very contradictory term!”
(Milan Šimečka, The Restoration of Order, 1984)
Dr.phil. Andrea Bátorová is an assistant professor at the Institute of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Artsat Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Between 2011 and 2017, she was a researcher at the Institute for Cultural and Visual Studies of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Her research focuses on alternative and unofficial art and its societal contextualization between the 1960s and the 1980s in Eastern Europe, especially in the former Czechoslovakia. Between 2007 and 2009, she worked as an assistant curator at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgartin Germany. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Regensburg, Germany. Her thesis, entitled “Action Art in Slovakia in the 1960s: Actions by Alex Mlynárčik”, was published in German in 2009 and in Slovak in 2011. She has given invited lectures at the 102nd CAA Annual Conferencein Chicago, the Tate Modern in London, theAAH Annual Conference in Norwich, Humboldt University in Berlin, the University of Vienna, and the 13th Congress of GesellschaftfürTheaterwissenschaft in Frankfurt.