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Lost in Europe: in the wake of Britain’s inner emigration


Project curator: Richard Appignanesi; On site curator: Gülsen Bal

With Raphael Appignanesi; Bruce Barber; Haim Bresheeth & Yosefa Loshitzky; Joan Key;

Oliver Ressler, Murray Robertson; Gregory Sholette; Amikam Toren; Margret Hoppe

Mekan 68, Neustiftgasse 68/1, 1070 Vienna

19 October – 9 November 2018


Thematic Survey

Theme 1: Inner Emigration

Britain has entered on the civil strife path of secession from the European Union. The consequences of nationalist-inspired secession have always been historically troubling and of uncertain forecast — a self-fulfilling prophecy of understatement, to say the least.

The exhibition project is not primarily interested in the pro-or anti- ‘Brexit’ issues but rather in the peculiar fait accompli, as it is, that Britain has undertaken a species of inner emigration.

Inner emigration in the past referred to a condition of some German writers, artists and musicians who, although said opposed to Nazism, opted to remain in Germany after 1933.

Inner emigration in the present instance is literally the Brexit condition. A different situation, of course, in which the issue of moral dubiety formerly attached to individual choice in 1933 does not apply here. Or does it?


Theme 2: Lost in Europe

No doubt, my contentious terminology adopted from a dark history casts its shadow across the nation, as I intend it to. The point is — for those artists and writers who might be willing to respond to the invitation premise — where will inner emigration take Britain? Somewhere, paradoxical though it may seem, lost in Europe.


Theme 3: Nearly America

Separatism is incited by fears of impingement, which are inescapable in our global circumstances of social, cultural and economic inequalities. The greatest impinger of all by dint of cultural stealth or outright inflicted power is America — the far-reaching American Dream — even apparently diminished as it might now appear. ‘Nearly America’ is our own encroaching shoreline. I heard it measured in my native separatist Quebec in the 1960s.

Dans ma ville grise de Presqu’ Amérique

Je m’ennuie


Un pouce et demi en haut des Etats-Unis…

In my grey city of Nearly America

I grow bored


An inch and a half up from the United States…

Presqu’ Amérique, ‘almost but not quite America’, as the Quebecois poet and chansonnier

Robert Charlebois ironically complains, ‘an inch and a half from the United States’ on the map, only a thumb’s length away from being culturally and economically squashed to extinction.


This exhibition was conceived by Richard Appignanesi and Gülsen Bal to coincide with the appearance of a special issue of the art journal Third Text (published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, UK) under the same title, Lost in Europe: in the wake of Britain’s inner emigration, edited by Richard Appignanesi. Gülsen Bal is also a member of the Third Text Advisory Board.


For more information on the artists and art works involved, see here


Supported by:
Stadtteilkultur, Interkulturalität und Internationale Angelegenheiten
Magistratsabteilung 7 – Bildende Kunst
ERSTE Foundation

In kind support by:
ARUCAD – Arkin University of Creative Arts and Design



Bruce Barber,
Variable wall-size projection (2017)