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Indepth Arts News:

"!Avant-Gardes!"
2002-07-05 until 2002-10-06
Haus der Kunst
Munich, , DE Germany

Art-historical interest in the avant-garde has concentrated up to now on just a few geographical centers: Paris in the West, Moscow in the East, Munich in the center, and finally on the pioneering activities of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin. But between these focal points, there was a widespread and very versatile network of artistic exchange, mutual inspiration and independent developments, a network that has received hardly any attention with its richness of nuance and its local centers. There were associations of likeminded artists and literates of the avant-garde in Düsseldorf and Vienna, but also in Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz and Poznan, in Budapest and Bucharest, Zagreb or Ljubljana.

For those interested in art history, however, it long remained difficult to get a clear picture of the development of the Czech, Slovak, Hungarian or Polish avant-garde. Their isolation, resulting from national traditions and international tension, was considerably aggravated by the Iron Curtain after the Second World War and the repression of totalitarian regimes.

The exhibition !AVANT-GARDES! in Central Europe 1910-1930 in the Haus der Kunst, Munich, now enables us for the first time to make a profound analysis of this tangled network of relations. It shows clearly that the artistic activities that developed in the early decades of the 20th century in Central Europe were directly connected with their better-known and well-documented counterparts in Paris and Moscow, Munich and Berlin.

The exhibition makes one thing very clear: we can no longer speak of an avant-garde, since there were numerous avant-gardes, which influenced each other while retaining their own characteristics. A typical feature was the constant switching between several centers. The artistic centers of Central Europe are shown to have been both places of international exchange and the scene of different degrees of isolation. Here, artistic idioms, styles, ideologies and forms of expression were discussed, adopted, discarded and modified. The consciousness of a separate national identity was just as present as the conviction of a common international mission.

IMAGE:
El Lissitzky
Proun 93 (Spirale), um 1923


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