Beyond the Divide: European Avant-Gardes from East and West

26 April 2022, 17:00 - 18:30

Panel discussion with Daniel Grúň, Henry Meyric Hughes and Klara Kemp-Welch at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, London WC1X 9EW

Please join us for a panel discussion launching the publication of Tomáš Štrauss: Beyond the Great Divide. Essays on European Avant-gardes from former East and West (eds Daniel Grúň, Henry Meyric Hughes, Jean-Marc Poinsot), which is part of AICA Press / Les Presses du Réel’s series on ‘Art Critics of the World’ (

Beyond the Great Divide is the first English-language anthology of writings by the Slovak critic, Tomáš Štrauss (Budapest 1931 – Bratislava 2013), a key theoretician of the post-war neo-avant-gardes in socialist Central and Eastern Europe. The volume includes essays on Béla Bartók and ethnography, Lajos Kassák, action and conceptual art, phenomenology, and on the question of Ostkunst. The event will serve as an opportunity to take stock of the ongoing relevance of Cold War art historical legacies.

Daniel Grúň is an art historian, curator, and writer, currently employed as Associate Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and the Institute of Art History, Slovak Academy of Science. Grúň studied art history at Trnava University (Slovakia), where he completed his Ph.D. on art criticism of the 1960s in Czechoslovakia in 2009. He is in charge of the Július Koller Society and co-curated the artist’s first international retrospective ‘Július Koller: One Man Anti Show’ MUMOK/Vienna, Museion/Bolzano in 2015-16. His recent publications include: “Active Gaps and Absences in Artist Archives. Stano Filko and Dóra Maurer” in Emese Kürti, Zsuzsa László (eds) What Will Be Already Exists: Temporalities of Cold War Archives in Central-East Europe and Beyond (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2021); Daniel Grúň, Christian Höller, Kathrin Rhomberg (eds), White Space in White Space = Biely priestor v bielom priestore, 1973−1982. Stano Filko, Miloš Laky, Ján Zavarský (Vienna: Schlebrugger, 2021); “Konceptuálne umenie a jeho odložené publikum [Conceptual Art and its Postponed Audience]” in Denisa Kujelová (ed.) ČS KONCEPT 70. let [Czechoslovak Conceptual Art of the 1970s] (Brno: Fait Gallery, 2021); editor of Subjective Histories. Self-historicisation as Artistic Practice in Central-East Europe (Bratislava: Veda, 2020); Daniel Grúň, Henry Meyric Hughes, Jean-Marc Poinsot (eds) Tomáš Štrauss. Beyond the Great Divide : Essays on European Avant-gardes from East to West (Dijon: Les presses du réel, 2020); “Umjetnik Artifex: Vlado Martek and the Transmutation of Poetry” in Alenka Gregorič, Ksenija Orelj (eds.), Vlado Martek: this Book is better than ideal (Ljubljana: Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljana, 2020).

Henry Meyric Hughes, Hon. President of the International Association of Art Critics (Paris), is a curator and writer on modern and contemporary art in Europe. He was British commissioner for the Venice Biennale (1986-92), and founding Chair of Manifesta (1993-2007) and the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) (Shanghai and London, 2014- ). He co-curated the XXX Council of Europe exhibition, Critique and Crisis/The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945 (Berlin, Tallinn, Milan and tour, 2012-15). He contributed a chapter to the special issue of British Art Studies, ‘British Sculpture Abroad 1945-2000’ (London and Yale, July 2016). He is co-editor (with Jean-Marc Poinsot and Daniel Grúň) of Tomáš Štrauss and two other books in the AICA series, Art Critics of the World.

Klara Kemp-Welch is Reader in 20th Century Modernism at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she teaches the art history of the Cold War, Eastern Europe and Latin America. She is author of Antipolitics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence Under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989 (London: IB Tauris, 2014); Networking the Bloc. Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1968-1981 (Cambridge Massacusetts and London, England, The MIT Press, 2019). She is currently working on a monograph on contemporary art, mobility and migration in the EU.

The event is organised by Klara Kemp-Welch (Courtauld Institute of Art), with the support of AICA-UK.

Places are free but limited in number. Booking is essential through Eventbrite: