Poetry and Performance. The Eastern European Perspective

27 Mar 2020 – 8 Jun 2020

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00

Cost of entry

5-10 PLN, free admission on Thursdays

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Wrocław Contemporary Museum invites to the exhibition entitled "Poetry and Performance. The Eastern European Perspective".


In Eastern Europe, we can observe peculiar sensitivity both to the power of language and its fragility and vulnerability, which has been developing over many decades. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and visual artists in Eastern Europe in particular took 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 made-ness of language, its materiality and mediality, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. Poetic performance makes the limits of language and speakability tangible. 

In the socialist states of Eastern Europe, with all of their differences, poetry and performance are characterized by a double subculturality: on the one hand, they undermine the conventional perception of script and words as neutral means, which, on the other hand, was unacceptable against the cultural-political backdrop, forcing them into the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The exhibition “Poetry and Performance. The Eastern European Perspective” evokes subversive artistic attitudes directed against authoritarian regimes of the past yet it also applies to contemporary political rhetoric: the manipulation of, with and through language. Now and then, poetry and performance take on an exceptional significance in periods of socio-political crises, as these ephemeral and flexible art forms enable the reflection on relations and contexts that remain otherwise undiscussed. Currently, it is also essential to pay attention to the changes of the language and the character of relations with text and words up against new technology, as well as notice a shift towards emotions. For a young generation, poetry and performance are no longer just a weapon to fight the system, but a tool for exploring their own experiences or identities of various kinds. 

The show is composed of unique and coexisting exhibits: text scores, interactive objects, sound and video recordings, films and installations of performance documentation. Together, they present artists from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance, showing the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and the normative communicative here and now. 

The presentation of the exhibition in a place of performative and poetic actions as renowned as Wrocław requires emphasizing the local background. The facade of Wrocław Contemporary Museum with Stanisław Dróżdż’s hourglass of words, meaningfully located in a post-German air shelter, is articulated even stronger in this context. The fragility of language meets the power of materiality of words, visible and always present. 


The exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Institute of Slavic Studies of the University of Zurich and riesa efau. Kultur Forum Dresden, with the financial support of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Wrocław. 

It was produced in collaboration with Dubravka Ðurić, Daniel Grúň, Emese Kürti, Claus Löser, Pavel Novotný, Branka Stipančić, Darko Šimičić, Māra Traumane.

Exhibition arrangement and visual identification: Hubert Kielan.


Artists: Academy of Movement, Nikita Alekseev, Gábor Altorjay, Pavel Arsenev, Damir Avdić, Wojciech Bąkowski, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Exterra XX, Else Gabriel, Dorota Gawęda / Eglė Kulbokaitė (Young Girl Reading Group), Rimma Gerlovina, Jelena Glazova, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Durs Grünbein, Gino Hahnemann, Tibor Hajas, Jörg Herold, Vladimir Kopicl, Jiří Kolář, Dávid Koronczi, Barbara Kozłowska, Romuald Kutera, Katalin Ladik, Juri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Via Lewandowsky, 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), Paulina Ołowska, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Andrzej Partum, Ewa Partum, Liliana Piskorska, Agnieszka Polska, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Pussy Riot, Lev Rubinstein, Gerhard Rühm, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Slobodan Tišma, Raša Todosijević, Dezider Tóth (Monogramista T.D), Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch, Honza Zamojski. 

Curators: Tomáš Glanc, Sabine Hänsgen, Agata Ciastoń.


Agata Ciaston

Sabine Hänsgen

Tomáš Glanc

Exhibiting artists

Slavko Matkovic

Agnieszka Polska

Naško Križnar

Josef Hiršal

Kirill Medvedev

Dmitrij Prigov

Group of Six Artists

Jan Měřička

Honza Zamojski

Pavel Novotný

Romuald Kutera

Bogdanka Poznanovic

Dávid Koronczi

Paulina Olowska

Attila Csernik

Tibor Hajas

Else Twin Gabriel

Srečo Dragan

Orange Alternative

Andrei Monastyrski

Young Girl Reading Group

Jiří Valoch

László Szalma

Katalin Ladik

Collective Actions Group

Exterra XX

Nuša Dragan

Ľubomír Ďurček

Jaromír Typlt

Andrey Silvestrov

Gabriele Stötzer

Andrzej Partum

Roman Osminkin

Jelena Glazova

Pussy Riot

Bohumila Grögerová


Gerhard Rühm

Dezider Toth

Pavel Arsenev

Imants Žodžiks

Rimma Gerlovina

Dorota Gawęda

Nikita Alekseev

Via Lewandowsky

Tomislav Gotovac

Liliana Piskorska

OHO Group

Balint Szombathy

Tamás Szentjóby

Jörg Herold

Ewa Partum

Egle Kulbokaite

Academy of Movement

Slobodan Tišma

Damir Avdić

Jiří Kolář

Wojciech Bąkowski

Mladen Stilinović

Gino Hahnemann

Barbara Kozłowska

Ladislav Novák

Durs Grünbein

Lev Rubinstein

Juris Boiko

Vladimir Kopicl

Raša Todosijevic

Jurij Leiderman

Hardijs Lediņš

Vlado Martek


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