Trauma & Revival: Contemporary Encounters. A project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the EU

Aria Spinelli
to be defined
11 Sep / 30 Sep, 2017
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: Trauma, East-West cultural connections, Revolution, Mediation, Cold War, Consumption, Desire, Political history, Art movements, Cultural diplomacy.
Module outline

Developed under the framework of “Trauma & Revival. Cultural relations between Eastern and Western Europe”, this residential three-week module is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union (2015-2018).

Coordinated by kim? Contemporary Art Centre and Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto, in cooperation with BOZAR, the residencies in Rīga (Latvia) and Biella (Italy) propose workshops, lectures, master-classes, discussions, encounters, debates, and open studio events gathering emerging artists and researchers from Eastern and Western Europe, including Russia. Thanks to its content, themes, and showcased artists, the travelling exhibition “Facing the Future: Art in Europe 1945-1968” (curated by Peter Weibel and Eckhart Gillen) will serve as a point of departure for all residency participants, because of its historical and inspiring perspective on the above mentioned issues. A range of interdisciplinary tutors and presenters will follow, support and contribute to the creation or learning process of the participants during their residencies.

Both residencies will focus on the series of discussions, talks, lectures and presentations directed towards the development of a unique body of work – artistic interventions that will be further considered and potentially included in a contemporary art exhibition that will be erected at kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow and Center for Fine Arts (Bozar), Brussels in 2018.

This initiative wishes to showcase and reflect on the East-West cultural connections since the Second World War by bringing together artworks and artists from both the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, from the past and present. The project echoes the context in which Europe currently stands, and it will specifically reflect on artistic movements and cultural exchanges between the West and the East, since the Cold War until today.

From an art-historical point of view, this project aims at problematizing the accepted canon of modern art enhanced by Western European museums, many of which, up till now, continue to fade out the artistic creation, discoveries and history of Eastern European art. By giving young artists and policy-makers the chance to rethink existing East-West cultural relations and synergies, in particular with Russia, this project is an opportunity to engage with a largely unknown historic journey into Europe’s recent artistic past.

The challenge is to raise awareness about our ‘shared cultural heritage and history’ and its current impact on the everyday. Both Eastern and Western Europe need to cast a light on this part of our history, in order to better apprehend the present, and embrace cultural exchanges and opportunities between young artists. Given this context, one may wonder about the current status of cultural relations, the dialogues between Western and Eastern Europe, which includes countries such as Russia. Are these exchanges between artists more frequent and more inspiring? Are both sides still influencing each other? How do citizens see this joint past and how do they consider the present? And can policy-makers raise the awareness about the need for more exchanges in this field. This project will address these questions.

Through various shared actions and knowledge exchanges, the project will invite participants to reflect on a series of fundamental questions raised during the Cold War that are perhaps still relevant today. Do those values, utopias and questions asked by artists working between 1945 and 1968 differ from those posed today? How do young artists from the East and the West understand the art movements from that period? And do artists and citizens experience current tensions in the same way their predecessors experienced them during the Cold War? During the 60’s the social, cultural and political revolutions nurtured artistic practice. Does the current global crisis equally impact young creativity? And what do contemporary artists need to inspire others and bring forth practical challenges? More globally, the project will also reflect on the importance of cultural diplomacy today in Europe.


To be defined



Aria Spinelli is an independent curator and researcher and a co-founding member of Radical Intention. She holds a BA (University la Sapienza, Rome 2005), and MA (Naba, Milan 2008) ad is currently conducting a PhD at Loughborough University (U.K). Her investigation is on the relations between art and activism with a focus on the work of Greek-French philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, in particular on his concepts of the radical imaginary and the radical imagination. As co-member of the Politicized Practice Research Group of the School of Arts, she organised Castoriadis Revisited: Questioning the radical imaginary in contemporary art and curatorial practice (Loughborough University, June 17th 2015). She lectured at Loughborough University and contributed to conferences on art and activism (Who is afraid of the Public? at ICA, London 2013; CADN Conference at OCAD, Toronto, Canada 2014). She conducts workshops for artists and organises events on art and activism (Curating as a form assembly, 2015; Elapsing Time in an Expanded Artwork, 2016 at Pistoletto Foundation in Biella, Italy; Artistic Strategies & Workers Struggles, MayDay Rooms in London U.K. 2015).

For applications and eligibility criteria please refer to the OPEN CALL area of this website