Trauma & Revival: Contemporary Encounters. EU project

Aria Spinelli
Alexei Penzin, Anna Zafesova, Viktor Misiano, Jesús Carrillo Castillo, Kuba Szreder, iLiana Fokianaki
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.

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.

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.

Considering the time lapse of the 1945-1968, the residency at Cittadellarte - Pistoletto Foundation will proceed by focusing on how artistic and curatorial practices performatively participates in social and political processes through the frameworks of desire/utopia/alternative, rupture/revolution, mediation/language. The notion of performative is here inspired by American philosopher Judith Butler, who identifies the concept of performativity as constructive process of identity activated through embodiment. This residency will look at several areas of research, in which invited experts will guide a critical discussion by relating their contributions to modalities in which art performatively participates social and political processes. Through our public program, and together with the participants we will be analysing philosophical, social and political contexts of the aesthetics during the Post-WWII period. We will be focusing on how arts and culture played important role in large process of social transformations in Europe and Russia. We will be finally analysing curatorship and sociological interpretations of art. In all three areas of research presented by our lectures, the participants will have the chance to engage with research and proposes ideas that will be at the basis of their final presentation at the end of the residency.


SCHEDULE (to be completed)

September 11th / 15th, 2017
Week 1: Grounding the research
September 11th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte (Curated by Elena Rosina), including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions. Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy.
Lecture By Aria Spinelli: “The Performativity of Art”.
Presentation of the programme and introduction to the main themes.
Presentation of mentor Aria Spinelli and participants.
• September 12th
Lecture by Aria Spinelli: “The Performativity of Art – I. Cultural Relations Post-WWII in Iran: the Iranian cultural scene in the sixties through the eyes of Forough Farrokhzad”.
• September 13th -14th
WORKSHOP with Alexei Penzin and Anna Zafesova
Lecture by Alexei Penzin: “The ‘Crisis of Ugliness’: Post-WWII Critique of Western Modernism in Soviet Marxism and Aesthetics (Mikhail Lifshitz and Evald Ilyenkov)”
Lecture by Anna Zafesova: “Russian approaches to the West between 1945 and 1968”.

September 18th / 22nd, 2017
Week 2: Artistic practices in expanded territories
• September 18th
MASTERCLASS with the guests Viktor Misiano and Jesús Carrillo.
Lecture by Viktor Misiano:“INTERPOL: Network versus Autonomy, Scandal versus Event”.
Lecture by Jesús Carrillo: “Amnesia, disagreements and the power of memory in contemporary Spain (1975-2017)”.
• September 22nd
Lecture by Aria Spinelli: “The Performativity of Art – II. Cultural Relations Post-WWII in Cuba: Artistic perspectives on Culture and Politics after the Cuban revolution”.

September 25th / 29th, 2017
Week 3: OpenLAB
• September 28th
OPEN LAB, lectures and studio visits with Kuba Szreder and iLiana Fokianaki.
Lecture by Kuba Szreder: “The Art Worlds of Real Socialism”.
Lecture by iLiana Fokianaki: “Curating Citizenship”.


The mentor and guests will prepare a reader for participants with key texts, some of which will be discussed during the week. The reader will include pieces by authors, artists, curators and intellectuals.



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).



Dr. Alexei Penzin is Reader in Art at the University of Wolverhampton, Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and part of the Russian art group CHTO DELAT. He received his PhD from the Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. His research centres on contemporary interpretations of Marxist thought, continental philosophy and critical theory, contemporary art theory, and Soviet and post-Soviet intellectual and cultural history. Penzin has published his research in numerous journal articles in such journals as Rethinking Marxism, Mediations, South Atlantic Quarterly, Manifesta Journal, as well as in many edited collections. His essay “Rex Exsomnis” (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012) was part of the dOCUMENTA13 series. Currently, he is preparing his book Against the Continuum: Sleep and Subjectivity in Capitalist Modernity, for publication by Bloomsbury Academic in 2017. He has also presented papers and given lectures at many international conferences and academic and cultural venues, including Historical Materialism annual conferences, ‘Former West’ congresses, dOCUMENTA13 in Kassel, the Goethe Institute, Serpentine Gallery, Yale University, and the University of Oxford.

Anna Zafesova is a Russian journalist who writes for the Italian daily La Stampa. From 1992 to 2004 she was the newspaper’s Moscow correspondent, since 2005 she has lived and worked in Italy. She is the author of E da Mosca è tutto (2005).

Viktor Misiano, curator and writer, lives in Moscow and in Ceglie Messapica, Italy. He was a curator of contemporary art at the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (1980–90) and the director of the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC), Moscow (1992–97). In his freelance practice, Misiano was on the curatorial team for Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996) and curated the Russian section of the 3rd Istanbul Biennial (1992), the 46th and 50th Venice Biennale (1995, 2003), the 1st Valencia Bienal, Spain (2001), the 25th and 26th São Paulo Bienal(2002, 2004), the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), “Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia”, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007–08), and “Progressive Nostalgia: Art from the Former USSR”, Centro per l’arte contemporanea, Prato (2007, traveled to Athens; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki). In 1993 he was a founder of the Moscow Art Magazine and has been its editor-in-chief ever since; and in 2003 he was a founder of the Manifesta Journal: Journal of Contemporary Curatorship (Amsterdam-Ljubljana) and since then has also been an editor there. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Helsinki University for Art and Design.


Jesús Carrillo Castillo has been a lecturer at the Art History Department of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid since 1997, Head of the Cultural Programs Department of Reina Sofía Museum from 2008 to 2015, and General Director of Cultural Programs of Madrid City Council from 2015 to 2016. He graduated in Art History (Murcia University), he had M.A. in Historical Studies (The Warburg Institute) and PhD in History (Cambridge University, King’s College). He has been Research fellow at the Huntington Library, Jonathan Brown Library, and the Anthropology Department, CSIC (Madrid), Tomás Harris Lecturer at UCL in 2003, Member of the Project team and editorial board of L’Internationale network from 2013 to 2015. He combines the history of early modern representations of nature and technology and their relationships with imperial powers, with the critical analysis of contemporary art institutions and narratives. His selected writings are: Arte en la Red (Madrid: Cátedra, 2004), Naturaleza e Imperio (Madrid: 12 calles, 2004) and Tecnología e Imperio (Madrid: Nivola, 2003), Oviedo on Las Casas (Turnhaut: Brepols, 2000). He is editor of: Modos de hacer: arte crítico, esfera pública y acción directa (Salamanca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Salamanca, 2001), Tendencias del Arte. Arte de Tendencias (Madrid: Cátedra, 2003), Desacuerdos: sobre arte, políticas y esfera pública en el Estado español vols 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 (Barcelona: Macba, 2004-2015), Douglas Crimp: Posiciones críticas (Madrid: Akal, 2005), Martha Rosler. Imágenes Públicas (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2008).


Kuba Szreder developes his research on independent curatorial practice. He is Lecturer at the department of Art Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Graduated in Sociology at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow), he received PhD from the Loughborough University School of the Arts. In his interdisciplinary projects he carries out artistic and organizational experiments, hybridizing art with other domains of contemporary society. In 2009 he initiated Free / Slow University of Warsaw, with which he completed several inquiries into the political economy of contemporary artistic production, such as "Joy Forever. Political Economy of Social Creativity" (2011) and “Art Factory. Division of labor and distribution of resources in the field of contemporary art in Poland” (2014). Hehas been editor and author of several catalogues, readers, book chapters and articles. In his most recent book ABC of Projectariat (Polish edition, 2016), he scrutinizes economic and governmental aspects of project-making and their impact on an 'independent' curatorial practice.


iLiana Fokianaki (born in 1980, Thessaloniki) is a writer and curator based in Athens and Rotterdam. In 2013 she founded State of Concept Athens, the first non-profit gallery in Athens that promotes Greek and international artists through solo exhibitions, but also invites international curators to create exhibitions that comment on the current socio-political landscape. She has worked with artists Laure Prouvost, Hito Steyerl and Keren Cytter among others. State of Concept is also focusing on a pedagogical program that enables Greek art students and artists through free consultations, to further their studies and develop their projects. It has also been operating as an open platform that hosts fellow curators and artists for talks, events and presentations. In 2016, together with Antonia Alampi she founded Future Climates, a platform that aims to propose viable futures for small-scale organizations of contemporary art and culture, which will firstly manifested in Athens between March-July 2017 with a three-month school. Since March 2017 she is curator of Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp, Belgium. She has taught and lectured and taken part in panel discussions in various independent spaces and institutions worldwide (DAI, UMPRUM, IASPIS a.o). iLiana is a contributing author of the book The International Art Markets published by Kogan Page (London, New York, 2009) and the book Visions: Art as Transference (Plethron, Athens, 2005) and has written for e-flux, Frieze, LEAP, Art Papers, artagenda, Apollo, MetropolisM and Monopol, whilst extensively writing on culture and current affairs in Greek media between 2005-2015 as journalist. She holds an MA in Arts Criticism from City University London under the supervision of Juliet Steyn and Judith Williamson. Her PhD research is focused on the synapses between art, identity, politics and economy.

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