(A)Symmetric Histories – Suppressed Frameworks and Eliminated Problems

(A)Symmetric Histories – Suppressed Frameworks and Eliminated Problems

2008 / Symposium dedicated to critical reflection on anthologies.

April 10 – 11, 2008, AVU – auditorium, the 3rd floor. Organised by VVP AVU in co-operation with the Institute od Art and Science VŠVU and theDepartment of Theory and History of Art VŠVU in Bratislava.

The AVU Research Centre in Prague, in cooperation with IUV VŠVU and KDTU VŠVU in Bratislava (Slovakia) organized a symposium dedicated to critical reflection on anthologies, specifically anthologies of art research recently published in the Czech and Slovak republics,

  • Jana Geržová, Slovak Fine Art (Slovenské výtvarné umenie 1949 – 1989), VŠVU Afad Press, Bratislava 2006;
  • Ševčík, Morganová, Dušková, Czech Art 1938 -1989 (České umění 1938 – 1989), Academia, Prague 2001;
  • Ševčík, Weibel & Svatošová, Morganová, Krátká,Utopien&Konflikte. Dokumente und Manifeste zur Tschechischen Kunst 1938 – 1989, Hatje Cantz, ZKM Karlsruhe 2007

in the context of other published anthologies.

The goal of this symposium was to consider the term anthology and problematic aspects of the anthology as such, anthological history and art theory and also to critically reflect on anthologies dedicated to art in the Czech and Slovak lands in the twentieth century within the context of translated anthologies.

Annotations to the contributions:

Petr A. Bílek (School of Czech Literature and Literary Science of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University, Prague)
Anthologizing the Field of Discourse: From Context to Text and Back Again
The contribution concerned the mechanisms of the “canonization of texts”, which authors of anthologies select as “representative” texts, and examined the criteria on the basis of which their representation can be perceptually realized. The primary question is whether or not such an anthology reconstructs (imitates in representation) the original art science context in its breadth and polyphony, or constructs this context through its organization in the first place.

Karel Císař (School of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague)
Anthology, Archive and Historic A Priori
The contribution attempted, on the basis of the fifth section of the third chapter of Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge, to explain the anthology as an embodiment of an archive that is not composed merely of a collection of documents attesting cultural identity, but that reveals the system on the basis of which these documents function. At the same time, he indirectly points to the relationship of the genre of the anthology to avant-garde tendencies of art in the twentieth century.

Tomáš Dvořák (School of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic / Science and Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague)
Anthological Reading
The contribution presented in brief the history of thought on the methods of anthologizing in the sense of materializing certain forms of reading, that he demonstrates on more concrete examples from the Middle Ages to the present, where collection and classification of a large amount of information became ubiquitous.

Jana Geržová (Science and Research Section, School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Fine Arts, Bratislava)
The Specifics of Anthology Writing
In her contribution she concentrated on comparing various methods of historical research with emphasis on the role of written and oral sources in the process of writing the history of art, respectively, on their potential of being not only complementary to canonized histories of art, but also a possible tool for their verification. She proceeded on the basis of analysis of two methodical approaches – the traditional objective approach to history, based on the principle of (re)construction, the weakness of which could be that as characterized by Georges Didi-Huberman as the “skeletonized past” and a process that is based on the process of reminiscence even with the assumption the “reminiscing is destructive “(Walter Benjamin). The goal of the contribution was to attempt to answer the question whether or not there exist subjects that were of paramount importance during the period but that are insufficiently reflected in the history of art of the twentieth century in the Czech and Slovak lands.

Miloš Havelka (School of Politology of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University, Prague)
Anthologies in the History of Ideas, or Building Heterogeneous Unity
The contribution concerns reflections on the theoretical – methodological issues of the so-called History of Ideas in the sense of how they arise, their possibilities and metamorphoses as shown from the point of view of the anthological works of M. Havelka (ed.), “The Debate on the Significance of Czech History” (Spor o smysl českých dějin 1895-1938, Prague 1995) and The Debate on the Significance of Czech History, Accentuation and Advancement of the Czech Question 1938-1989, Prague 2006.

Eva Krátká (The Science and Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague)
Anthology of Czech Visual Poetry of the 1960s as a retrospective analysis
The contribution focuses on anthological processing of inter-disciplinary issues, applied to the position of theoretical consideration on visual poetry in domestic culture in the 1960s. Conceptually it relates to the preparation of the anthology Czech Visual Poetry – Theoretical Texts. (Česká vizuální poezie. Teoretické texty, 2008), which combines an editorial approach with the introductory overview study of domestic development of methodology, typology, and analysis of visual poetry. The collection of texts, in its construction, reacts to the actual periodization of the movement and to the position “on the frontier” of the fields, which moved the thematic center of gravity to an intellectualized framework of a minority issue.

Miroslav Marcelli (Department of Philosophy and History of the School of Philosophy of the Komenského University, Bratislava / Department of Electronic Culture and Semiotics of the School of Humanities of Charles University, Prague)
Fine Art Theory as Appropriation
The term ‘appropriation’ in this study is used to mean not only one form of works of art, but also theoretical reflection. We are then dealing with one of three basic strategies of processing foreign elements in the social field and its reflection in thought. The functioning of all three of these strategies (re-examination, restriction and appropriation) is traced in the texts in the publication Slovak Fine Art 1949-1989. Including semiotic peculiarities of appropriation strategy is supposed to focus on a new situation that came about on this scene at the end of the 1980s.

Pavlína Morganová (The Science and Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague)
Is it Possible to Prepare a Good Anthology from Bad Texts?
Every anthology is a cross section of several coordinates; subject, time and space, however, play the main role. Time and space, moreover, have double meanings: Of course as time and space that delineate the subject of the anthology (geography and period), but also as the period and place in which the anthology is prepared. The most important role, however, is played by the actual texts, that is, the existence and quality of the written discourse on the given subject. The contribution is an attempt to think about the coordinates that determined the creation of the anthology Czech Art 1938 – 1989 (České umění 1938-1989).

Miroslav Petříček (School of Philosophy and Religion Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University, Prague)
The Framework Within
The history of art as a conflict of description and story, art criticism and art history. The present of the past: construction of relationships and contexts.

Tomáš Pospiszyl (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague)
The Golden Sixties
What is the character of the picture of art history created by anthologies and what are its limitations? In recent years several anthologies have brought together texts regarding the events in art in the 1960s in Bohemia, Slovakia and Eastern Europe. It seems that the sixth decade was a very lively period that dramatically shifted local thinking on art. Do not, however, the rigorously selected peak achievements of theoreticians or writing artists create an overly positive picture of the level of theoretical discourse of the time? For the acceptance of new thoughts, a certain extent of public discourse is necessary. This, however, in the case of the Czechoslovak 1960s did not attain such a level and profusion so as to leave a more emphatic mark among the artistic community and the general public in the subsequent, politically unfavorable years.

Zora Rusinová (Department of History and Art Theory of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Trnava University, Trnava)
The Problem of the Anthology of Visual and Cultural Studies
The contribution comes out of the practical studies of individual, existing domestic and foreign anthologies dedicated to visual and cultural studies, motivated by the preparation of lecture notes.
Katarína Rusnáková (Department of Theory and History of Fine Art, The School of Fine Art, Academy of Art, Banská Bystrica)
The Anthology as a Supplementary Product of Art History Research
This contribution points to the gradual establishment of anthological literature in translation in Slovakia, in connection with the complicated process of self-reflection of the history of art after 1989 and the formation of revisionist views on the history of art and visualization in the context of theoretical models of the new history of art. In her contribution she concerns herself with one of the possible approaches to processing translated anthologies, which she carried out as a supplemental product to a three-year research project, culminating in the publication of “The History and Theory of Media Art in Slovakia, 2006” (Historie a teorie mediálního umění na Slovensku, 2006). The starting point of the creation of the anthology, In the Stream of Moving Pictures (V toku pohyblivých obrazů, 2005), was the study and critical evaluation of foreign literature dedicated to art of the new media. The author focuses on its conception, methodological basis, structure and selection of nine theoretical and history charting texts by American and German authors, representing relevant voices in the current discourse on media art. The publication combines the authorship and editorial approaches by having an introductory section of the anthology consist of an overview study of prehistory and history of electronic and digital art in the context of visual culture. The author cautions of the pitfalls of an anthology thus conceived. She thereby contributes as well to the broadening of realizations concerning the main publication, and on the other hand, a disadvantage of this is that due to constraints of time and financial resources, the research time and number of selected texts is reduced, which does not allow for more complex examination of the given issue.

Jiří Ševčík (The Science and Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague)
Before and After. The Archive Model and the Anthology as a Metaphor of Modern Art
Archives and anthologies as venues for transformation; creation of archives as a method of involvement; archives and anthologies in current art as a genre and conceptual method; the new complexity of thawed fragments.

Josef Vojvodík (School of Czech Literature and Literary Science of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University, Prague)
A Picture of Czech Post Avant-Garde in the Anthology “Utopien und Konflikte. Dokumente und Manifeste zur tschechischen Kunst 1938-1939”
It could be said that at the end of the 1930s the so-called epoch of the historic avant-garde came to a close in the Czech environment. It is not, however, an issue of interrupted development. Already at the turn of the 1930s and 1940s, its “signature” is primarily making an issue out of the question of appropriating reality and art, marked by the critical reflection and cession to the established culture of the avant-garde, whose impetus is further developed, and most importantly modified, various forms and methods. The title of the anthology, “Utopien und Konflikte”, indicates that reflections on the heritage of the avant-garde in theory and practice of Czech art from the 1940s to the 1980s, took place in a field of tension not only amongst skepticism towards the “utopian moment” of the historic avant-garde and at the same time an attempt at re-evaluation, but also in a field of schizophrenic tension between the official art of so-called Socialist Realism (and realistic Socialism) and the unofficial creation of heterogeneous currents, tendencies and groups. The report looks at the facets of the picture of Czech Art in the second half of the twentieth century in the anthologyUtopien und Konflikte.

Monika Mitášová (Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava / The Science and Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague) – Marián Zervan (Department of Art Theory and Art History of the University of Fine Arts, Bratislava)
Synthesis Versus Anthology (The Forms of Architectural Theory in Synthesizing and Anthologizing Publications)
An examination and description of the mutually exclusive strategies of synthesism and anthologizing on the basis of the example of architectonic anthologies of theories of the twentieth century with reference to the possible historic precedents of their genres with the goal of finding out the meaning and function of anthologies of architectural theory in the present.