Katarzyna Maria Cytlak: Utopia and Resistance
Utopia and Resistance: Art During the Sixties and Seventies. Dialogues Between Argentina and Eastern Europe
The study of artistic exchanges between Eastern Europe and Latin America aims to highlight both the complexity and the importance of the links between artistic modernisms produced in regions considered as peripheral in the canonical and Eurocentric discourses on modernism, and to define the problems and issues related to the need to rethink and re-question the discourses on modern art. Responding to the proposal of “provincializing Europe” by Dipesh Chakrabarty, this research proposes to question—by bringing into discussion the regions that have never been in the relations of colonial domination—the narratives based on the model of center-periphery and to reconsider, an alternative vision of modern culture, more horizontal and symmetrical. By referring to both the decolonial theory developed by Latin American thinkers, postulating the epistemic de-linking (desprendimiento epistémico) of the matrix of colonial power, and the thought by theorists of East European art and culture, produced after the fall of the Soviet Union, this project aims to respond to an insufficiency of the theoretical framework of subaltern and postcolonial studies. Thus the latter, while discussing Asian, American and African culture in its relation to the European hegemony established in those continents, were applying the concept of “otherness” and “difference” which does not correspond exactly to the experience of political and cultural domination experienced by Central Europe and Latin America. By starting from transnational comparative studies of art developed in both contexts, the project aims to reveal the ambiguity of relations of the two regions—Eastern Europe and Latin America—with Western European culture and with the figure of (imaginary) Europe.
Katarzyna Cytlak is a Polish art historian based in Buenos Aires whose research focuses on the artistic creation of Central Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, seen in the trans modern and transnational perspective. Her main interests are conceptual art, radical and utopian architecture, socially engaged art and art theory in relation to the post-socialist countries. She defended her PhD thesis at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, “The Grey Utopias: architectural projects in Central Europe in the 1970’s.” She has published her texts, among others, in the reviews Umění/Art, Eadem Utraque Europa, Telón de Fondo, Cahiers thématiques, or Histories of Art History, Art History Supplement. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the CONICET and at the University of San Martín, Argentina. Her areas of research include East European and Latin American conceptual art, decolonial theory and art history and criticism in the post-communist countries.