Art East Central
Art East Central is an English-language, open access, peer reviewed international journal publishing articles on architecture, design and the visual arts in central Europe from 1800 to the present day.
This article focuses on the Austrian contribution to the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris and the role of the modern woman designer (Kunstgewerblerin) in light of the exhibition's focus on the modern female consumer. Tracing how women's contributions were seen as significant only when emphasising the pavilions shortcomings in offering truly modern (meaning practical and functional) design solutions, the article draws on debates about gender and the purpose of modern design, about the luxurious nature of the decorative arts in Vienna, and about the contested figure of the Kunstgewerblerin as a profession and a type of modern femininity. It argues that the 'female factor' in Austria's participation in Paris epitomised a moment when women's contributions to interwar Austrian design were being renegotiated in relation to the social, cultural, and economic concerns after the First World War
Curating national renewal : the significance of arts and crafts in the construction of Soviet identity at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris
At the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris in 1925, the newly recognised Soviet Union was given a platform to present its ideology through art. It constructed an official narrative of national renewal through a sophisticated exhibition concept that complemented contemporary art (particularly constructivism) with arts and crafts. This article sheds light on why the Soviet officials chose this specific approach and how their strategy was rooted in the earlier exhibition experience of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Focusing on the two sections of arts and crafts presented in Paris – the Kustar goods of Soviet Russia and folk art from other Soviet Republics – the article examines their significance for the carefully constructed Soviet identity of the time. Furthermore, it analyses the contributions of individual organisers to these sections in light of their statements and writings, their professional positions and their prior experience. By illuminating the human factor behind the official narrative, the article exposes a parallel level of interpretation in order to further a more nuanced understanding of the Soviet contribution.
In 1937, at the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris, the Soviet pavilion featured a rich variety of arts, including handicrafts. This article explores the endeavors of the Scientific Research Institute of Art Industry to arrange a collection of Soviet crafts for international display. Throughout the article, the preparation work is contextualized in relation to the other cultural and political processes of the mid-1930s. It further highlights the role of the Institute's experts in translating the ideological guidelines of the Fair Committee into the language of artistic practice. Based on analysis of archival documents, the article argues that in addition to the short-term goals of preparing for the exhibition, the Institute used this opportunity to expand its network of contacts and establish closer links with artisans all around the Soviet Union. The co-operation of experts and the artisans during the preparatory phase helped to build a common ground for planning further reforms in the industry. Finally, the articles seeks to determine how the motivations of the collectives and individuals corresponded to the official goals and state narratives of the Soviet participation in the 1937 Paris World's Fair.
Arma Veritatis : Poland and the World Exhibition of the Catholic Press (Esposizione mondiale della stampa cattolica), Vatican City, 1936
The World Exhibition of the Catholic Press held in the Vatican City from mid-May 1936, though not a 'universal' exhibition, but – seemingly – an internal affair of the Catholic Church, attracted representations of 45 states of Europe and America and 53 regions of the remaining three continents. True to its motto, its aim was propagandistic, directed against the current communist and liberal tendencies. The present paper, which looks at the exhibition from the perspective of the Polish room, is based on documentary materials left by its prime mover, Fr Stanisław Adamski, bishop of Katowice, responsible for the mass media in Polish episcopate. An interesting paradox is that it was not Poland as a state, but the representation of Polish Church that participated in the event. The state authorities were contacted only as much as political correctness and diplomatic courtesy required, or with the prospect of some financial support. They seemed to be indifferent and, at any rate, unwilling to spend any money on the exhibition, even though it was advertised by the Church as an excellent promotional opportunity. Bishop Adamski almost single-handedly devised the Polish exhibit, including the iconography and political message of a painting entitled Polonia – Sanctorum Mater et Scutum Christianitatis ('Poland – Mother of the Saints and Shield of Christianity'), which depicted important personalities from Polish history, including – tellingly – the figures of King John III Sobieski and Marshall Józef Piłsudski.
Flowers and windows : the first art exhibitions in Prague in the nineteenth century and the shaping of modern exhibition spaces
The staging of art exhibitions has been a decisive factor in the formation of the modern art scene since the beginning of the 19th century at the latest. The art exhibition served as a space that facilitated regular viewing and discussions of contemporary artistic production. In the Spring of 1832 an art exhibition opened in Prague that provided an alternative to the official academic exhibition held annually since 1821. The show attracted critical opinions both inland and abroad. For this reason, its analysis can provide an insight into early concepts and ideas of an art exhibiting, which can be regarded as a space of contest among the artists and of encounter between the artists and the public, as well as a site of development of modern audiences and their sensitivity.