Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective

Opening: Saturday, September 15, 2018, 6 – 10 pm

Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Damir Avdić, 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, Tibor Hajas, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Vladimir Kopicl, Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Kirill Medvedev, Jan Měřička, Andrei Monastyrski, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Pussy Riot, Lev Rubinstein, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Slobodan Tišma, Dezider Tóth (Monogramista T.D), Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch

Since the second half of the twentieth century, in particular poets and artists in Eastern Europe have taken 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 material and medial dimension of language, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out.
The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions. Now and then, poetry and performance take on an exceptional topicality in periods of political crisis, as these ephemeral and flexible art forms enable the reflection of relations and contexts that remain otherwise undiscussed.

Image: Mladen Stilinović: My Red, 1976. Courtesy Branka Stipančić


Curators: Tomáš Glanc, Sabine Hänsgen
In cooperation with: Dubravka Djurić, Daniel Grúň, Emese Kürti, Claus Löser, Pavel Novotný, Branka Stipančić, Darko Šimičić, Māra Traumane
Exhibition display: RCNKSK Architekti – Filip Kosek, Jan Říčný
Graphic design: Breisky
Installation: Tomáš Černý, Herrmann & Coufal, Mojmír Veselka
Production: Shedhalle


Curators’ tours, talks and performances

September 15
7:30pm Roman Osminkin: A Brief History of Poetic Performance in the USSR/Russia
9pm Enkoto (First Latvians on Mars: Māris Butlers, Anna Ķirse): NSRD Interpretations 1980–1989  

September 23, 2pm
Guided tour with curator Sabine Hänsgen

October 3, 7pm
Resistance and Appropriation. Poetry and Film Subculture in the GDR 1976–89
Lecture with film samples by Claus Löser
Clubraum Rote Fabrik

October 14, 2pm
Guided tour with curator Tomáš Glanc

October 28, 4pm
Guided tour and talk with curators Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Emese Kürti and Māra Traumane


Opening Hours
Tue–Fri 2–6pm
Sat–Sun 12am–6pm


The exhibition is embedded within the research project “Performance Art in Eastern Europe (1950–1990): History and Theory” which is funded by a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and hosted and supported by University of Zurich.

Supported by:
Stadt Zürich Kultur
Migros Kulturprozent
Dr. Georg und Josi Guggenheim-Stiftung
Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague



Seestrasse 395
8038 Zürich