Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe (Russland / Russia), Monroe, 1996, Courtesy XL Gallery, Moscow, © Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe.

Petra Varl (Slovenia / Slovenien), Zvezda and Odeon, Wallpainting / Wandmalerei, 205 x 137cm, © Petra Varl.

After Social Realism, a Perspective on Gender in a Modern Age

Marina Abramovic (Serbien / Serbia), Art must be beautiful, artist must be beautiful, 1975, Videoperformance / Video performance, 14:14 min, © Marina Abramovic.

Eva Filova (Slovakei / Slovakia), Without Difference, 2001, Milch Tetrapack / Milk tetra pack, 3 Objekte 16,5 x 9,5 x 6 cm, © Eva Filova.

Wojciech Fangor (Polen / Poland), Figures / Postaci, 1950, Ol auf Leinwand / Oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm, Muzeum Sztuki/Museum of Art in Lodz, Courtesy of Museum of Art in Lodz, © Wojcieh Fangor.

Veronika Bromova (Czech Republic / Tschechien), Girls too / Mädchen auch, 1994, Digitally altered Color Duratrans, in Light box / Farb Duratrans Print, 90 x 120 cm, © Veronika Bromova.

Rovena Agolli (Albania), In All My Dreams, it Never is Quite as it Seems / In all meinen Träumen ist es niemals so wie es scheint, 2002, Digital print / Digitaldruck, 80 x 60 cm, © Rovena Agolli.

Galina Petrova (Lithuania / Litauen), Women, Cleaning Fish / Frauen, Fische waschend, 1969, Synthetic tempera on canvas / Synthetische Tempera auf Leinwand, 150 x 140 cm, Courtesy Lithuanian Art Museum, © Galina Petrova.


Museum Moderner Kunst
Stiftung Ludwig Vienna
Museumsplatz 1
+ 43-1-525 00
Gender Check
Femininity and Masculinity
in the Art of Eastern Europe

November 13, 2009-February 14, 2010

Gender Check is the first comprehensive exhibition featuring art from Eastern Europe since the 1960s based on the theme of gender roles. 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the curator Bojana Pejic, along with a team of experts from 24 different countries, has put together a selection of over 400 works including paintings, sculpture, installations, photography, posters, films and videos. With over 200 artists, the exhibition paints an exceptionally diverse picture of a chapter in art history that until recently had been largely unknown and that could also act as an important addition to contemporary gender discourse.

Gender Check follows the changes in the representation of male and female role models in art — especially as they develop under different socio-political conditions. The exhibition, initiated and supported by the ERSTE Foundation, shows the interrelationship between art and history following both a chronological and thematic approach:

Into the 1960s, heroic male and female workers were dominant figures in the socialist realist tradition of art. The intended reality — a transforming program of a “sexless society” propagated by the state was met with irony and unmasked by unofficial art at the time. Following the period of collective state utopian aesthetics, different individual and more open tendencies could be found on a local level — periodically provoking a hostile response — that created independent spaces for nonconformist art. Beginning in the 1970s, ideals of femininity and masculinity were reexamined beyond propagandist clichés of the past: Self-portraits and representations of the body and subjectivity began to hint at a newfound self-confidence also reflected in openly displayed sexuality, calling into question heterosexual standards and heroic ideals. Even many of the abstract pieces worked with anthropomorphic forms and the relationship between the sexes within society.

The emancipation from role models went along with an emancipation from traditional means of expression, as new media and art forms like photography, film, video and performance became increasingly important. At the same time, more and more female artists began to gain in prominence.

With the fall of the wall in 1989 and the end of socialist regimes, new challenges became evident in the face of rising nationalism and neoliberal influences from the west. The newly won freedoms came hand in hand with neoconservative role constraints that soon also became the topic of artworks. A critique of chauvinist, militaristic, misogynist and xenophobic ideologies were expressed in the context of feminist theory. Homosexuality began to be brought up. Clichés about motherhood and traditional religious-inspired ideals of femininity and patriarchal power structures came under critique. To underline the political and public significance of female identity, allusions came to be made to historical allegories of femininity.

A Short List of the Artists:
Anri Sala, Anita Arakelyan, Anna Koushar, Ismet Mujezinovic´, Šejla Kameric´, Alla Georgieva, Sanja Ivekovic´, Tomislav Gotovac, Be?la Kolár?ová, Veronika Bromová, Mare Tralla, Cornelia Schleime, Fritz Skade, Emese Benczúr, Orshi Drozdik, Tibor Hajas, Erzen Shkololli, Aija Zarin¸a, Zenta Dzividzinska, Egle Rakauskaite, Sofija Veiveryté, Zaneta Vangeli, Valentina Rusu-Ciobanu, Jelena Tomaševic´, Wojciech Fangor, Katarzyna Kobro, Katarzyna Kozyra, Alexandra Croitoru, Ion Grigorescu, Lia Perjovschi, Anna Alchuck, Oleg Kulik, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Marina Abramovic´ , Tanja Ostojic´, Anetta Mona Chisa/Lucia Tkacova, Jana Želibská, Tadej Pogac?ar, Duba Sambolec, Arsen Savadov & Oleksandr Kharchenko, Boris Mikhailov and many more.

Countries and Researchers:
Albania (Edi Muka), Armenia (Eva Khachatryan), Bosnia und Herzegovina (Dunja Blaževic´), Bulgaria (Maria Vassileva), Estonia (Katrin Kivimaa), Germany (Angelika Richter), Georgia (Lali Pertenava / Nino Tchogoshvili), Kosovo (Erzen Shkololli), Croatia (Ivana Bago), Latvia (Mara Traumane), Lithuania (Laima Kreivyte), Macedonia (Suzana Milevska), Moldova (Lilia Dragneva), Montenegro (Bojana Pejic´), Poland (Izabela Kowalczyk), Rumania (Alina Serban), Russia (Keti Chukrov), Serbia (Branislav Dimitrijevic´), Slovakia (Zora Rusinova), Slovenia (Urška Jurman), Czech Republic (Martina Pachmanová), Ukraine (Hedwig Saxenhuber), Hungary (Edit András), Belarus (Almira Ousmanova).

The symposium Reading Gender. Art, Power and Politics of Representation in Eastern Europe took place November 13 and 14, 2009 in the auditorium of MUMOK. International experts spoke about the role of feminist theories in Eastern Europe with respect to a western context, about the significance of transgender positions as well as the new definition and revision of canonic ideals of gender. Further Information: www.gender-check.at.

Gender Check was initiated and supported by the ERSTE Foundation: www.erstestiftung.org, www.gender-check.at.

Tanja Ostojic (Serbia), Looking for a Husband with EU passport / Suche nach einem Ehemann mit EU Pass 2000-2005, Participatory web project / Combined media installation / Onlineprojekt / Verschiedene Materialien Installation, Courtesy of the artist, © Tanja Ostojic.

Kriszta Nagy (Hungary / Ungarn)
200.000 Ft, I - VI. / 200.000 Ft, I - VI., 1997, Digital print / Digitalprint , 80 x 50 cm, Edition 3 / 3, Courtesy Collection of Zsolt Somlói and Spengler Katalin, Budapest, © Kriszta Nagy.

Katarzyna Kozyra (Polen / Poland), Olympia / Olimpia, 1996, 3 Fotos, Video am Monitor / 3 photos, video on monitor, National Museum in Krakow, © Katarzyna Kozyra.


Michails Korneckis (Latvia / Lettland)
Saturieties, meitenes / Let’s go Girls / Mädchen, packen wir es an, 1959, Oil on canvas / Ol auf Leinwand, 190 x 160,7 cm, Courtesy Latvian National Museum of Art, © Normundus Braslins.