Impossible Dialogues. Contested memories, conflicting presences

We proudly announce the 2nd edition of Impossible Dialogues that will take place on Thursday 26th May at Framer Framed. For this edition we have invited scholars and curators Timea Junghaus (Budapest), Roma Sendyka (Krakow), Zuzana Štefková (Prague) to discuss particular ‘impossible dialogues’ from the areas of their expertise and based on case studies of artistic work from their contexts. All three talks address the relationships between everyday life and art, and will further unpack the complex meanings of time in the Eastern European context that shapes majority/minority relationships. Their contributions articulate local mechanisms of maintaining fears towards particular Others, and negotiate possibilities to establish dialogue as a way to challenge enduring silences. The discussion will be moderated by Tina Bastajian.

Welcome to join the discussion!

Timea Junghaus will present her research, that looks at how the situation of minority artists and cultural producers in Central Europe has declined significantly in the past decade with the evolution of nationalist cultural propaganda in the region. Roma tangible heritage is in actual danger, literarily rotting in public collections, where they are not exhibited and are completely inaccessible for the public. In this context Roma contemporary art itself is even seen as a measured and creative method of Roma resistance, a well-established form of cultural survival and a demonstration of ethical and political commitment to the future of the Roma community. For exposing the Roma struggle and for finding inspiring models for the Roma transformative subject being, initiating dialogues with other subaltern groups and transnational networks, and establishing contact zones with the majority societies are principal strategies of the Roma cultural movement. What is the possibility or impossibility of establishing new political tectonics through these connections, and through the exposure of the struggle is an eternal question…

Roma Sendyka will address the impossible dialogue between artists working in post-1989 Poland and the past Jewish minority of Poland, which perished in the Shoah. The recent research on the “unseen Holocaust” or “dispersed Holocaust” revealed a new dimension of the genocide – local, everyday, seen by many, unlike that of the closed life in the ghettos and camps. The artistic response to this is the effort to face “absence/presence” of those who died in the “Holocaust by bullets” or during the phase of the “Judenjagdt”. The buried, ghosts, dybbuks, walking deads, hybrid plants: contemporary art uses discourses of hauntology, post-humanities, ecocriticism and pop culture myths to wrestle with the paradoxes of “absent loss” and “present dead” moving from metaphors to forensic materiality. Art works by Andrzej Kramarz, Wojciech Wilczyk, Elżbieta Janicka, Łukasz Surowiec will be discussed alongside visual comments by international artists.

Zuzana Štefková will deal with the reception of feminism in the Czech and Slovak art worlds during the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, where feminism is still dominantly perceived as a Western import and/or an aggressive ideology. Bringing examples of exhibitions, performances and video works that reflect on gender themes and address the uneven position of men and women artists, she will discuss the related themes in art pedagogy. Her examples present the work of Tamara Moyzes, Michal Šiml, Michelle Adlerová and a performance by Kača Olivova in which Zuzana has taken part herself.

About Impossible Dialogues:

Impossible Dialogues takes the differences between memories/heritage of Eastern and Western Europe as its starting point. These differences are based on radically different geopolitical, social and cultural developments during the 20th and 21st centuries. As a part of this project we address the traveling and migration of these differences across the “two Europes”, the contradictions and misunderstandings they create in everyday life, while touching upon the subjects of temporalities, minority rights, and radically different understandings of the past, as well as the present. The project brings together scholars, curators and artists who deal with Eastern European history in The Netherlands and invites speakers from Central and Eastern Europe to hold lectures on the themes of their expertise.

As a part of this project we will explore how holding discussions about Eastern Europe in The Netherlands could contribute to bringing to the fore new facets of old conflicts and difficult memories that often remain unarticulated on local level, due to their sensitive and conflicting nature. How can interdisciplinary spaces be used for addressing these sensitive topics? What can we learn from particular local impossible dialogues? Could these experiences of learning be “translated” into other contexts? And what does it mean to curate / moderate conflicts in an era of mobility?

The long-term interdisciplinary research project Impossible Dialogues is curated by Margaret Tali, Katia Krupennikova and Inga Lace, and co-developed with Framer Framed. The event is part of a program by Framer Framed and Erste Stiftung, aimed at bringing discussions about Eastern Europe outside of Eastern Europe itself.

Biographies of the speakers:

Tímea Junghaus is an art historian and contemporary art curator based in Budapest, Hungary. She is of Roma/Sinti origin. Since 2010 she is the research fellow of the Institute for Art History, at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her curatorial initiatives include the founding and exhibitions of the Budapest based János Balázs Roma Gallery (2004), the Roma component of the Hidden Holocaust- exhibition in the Budapest Kunsthalle (2004), and the First Roma Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007). Her recent curatorial works include the Archive and Scholarly Conference on Roma Hiphop (2011) The Romani Elders and their Public Intervention for the Unfinished Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Murdered Under the National Socialist Regime in the frame of the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), Roma Body Politics (2015) and (Re-)Conceptualizing Roma Resistance (2016). Junghaus is the founding director of the European Roma Cultural Foundation an independent foundation, which established Gallery8 – Roma Contemporary Art Space( She has researched and published extensively on the conjunctions of modern and contemporary art with critical theory, with particular reference to issues of cultural difference, colonialism, and minority representation.

Roma Sendyka. Associate Professor, Center for Anthropology of Literature and Culture Studies at the Polish Studies Department, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. Head of the Research Center for Memory Cultures. Specializes in visual culture studies, criticism and theory (affective turn, memory studies, cultural analysis). Works on relations between images, sites and memory, currently developing a project on non-sites of memory in Central and Eastern Europe. More information on:

Zuzana Štefková. has earned a PhD in Art History at the Charles University, Prague with her dissertation on Gender Aspects of Embodiment in Czech Contemporary Art. She teaches courses at the Charles University and at the Academy of Art, Architecture, and Design. She also works as a freelance curator and art critic. Together with Tamara Moyzes she has curated two exhibitions Czechpoint, dealing with political art, and Middle East Europe presenting art reflecting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She curates exhibitions for the Artwall Gallery Prague. Her publications include Testimonies: In a Female Voice. She co-founded c2c Circle of Curators and Critics.

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As side-events of the project two of our speakers will give lectures in Amsterdam:

26.5. 16:00-17:30 Zuzana Štefková will give a lecture “Queerly There? Queer Art in Czech and Slovak Context” at the AUC, New Democracy Dome

27.5. Roma Sendyka will give a lecture “Contested sites, contaminated landscapes and Eastern-European “bloodlands”” at the AUC, Common Room

Postitas Solveig Jahnke
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