Although a number of books have told the story of modern and contemporary art in Eastern and Central Europe, missing from these accounts have been the sources themselves. This book, the result of years of research by an international team of artists, curators, editors, translators, and scholars working with the Museum of Modern Art, presents primary documents drawn from the artistic archives of Eastern and Central Europe during the second half of the twentieth century. Because the practice of criticism in this region was for many years almost completely suppressed, the writings of the artists themselves often fulfill a critical as well as an aesthetic and ideological function. The manifestoes, photo essays, proposals, scripts, and other writings assembled here comprise the first anthology of this material in any language.
The source materials presented—almost all of them previously untranslated into English—are from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The book is introduced by Ilya Kabakov. Each chapter is preceded by a brief introduction and is followed by a case study that chronicles an event or the creation or reception of an artwork, illustrating the issues raised in that chapter.