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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 74 | volume XIII | September-October, 2010



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 74September-October, 2010
Gallery Reviews

Vivez Sans Temps Mort

/10
p. 1
Mira Keratová

On the park pavement the actor runs with his mouth and nose covered (they are covered by a scarf). After the air has run out and he has no more strength to run, he rips the scarf off and exhales deeply. His move is in no way documented.
    (Description of the action for 3SD. Ján Budaj, 1980)

The beginning of the so-called normalization in Czechoslovakia is defined by the events of the Prague Spring of 1968. The period of political liberalization ended with the entrance of the occupational forces as per the Warsaw Pact in August of 1968. For a long time afterwards, the last event initiating mass mobilization of people was the self-sacrifice of Ján Palach who on the 16th January 1969 set himself on fire in Prague, in the Wenceslas Square. The pacifist character of the collective resistance to the occupation was followed up in November of 1989 with the so-called Velvet Revolution that brought about the fall of the Communist regime. The professed consolidation of Czechoslovakia was definitely introduced after 1972 (at the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the issuing of the document Lessons of the Crisis Development in the Party and in Society). Václav Havel called the “normalization” of the 1970s a stage of post-totalitarianism, when the system had already been through its heroisms, and the stabilized society did not hide its pragmatic agendas. People were not asked to believe in the socialist ideals. It was enough to pretend to believe. More than censorship, the issue of self-censorship was imposed. The one controlling absolutely everything no longer exists; the control mechanism is distributed in space. When discussing the normalization, one speaks of apathy, asocial behaviour, plunder of socially owned property, alcoholism, absence form work, emigration, and the like. The real-socialist period seemed endless.
    

    State cultural policies after 1972 began following Communist Party directives. After the second congress in November of the Slovak Artists’ Association art was expected to abide by the established canon. The oppressive system came into existence in order to meet these demands. The art scene was divided into formal and informal, with the mass mainstream in between. Alternative art operated in isolated dissident communities, with no institutional base. Considering the minimal exhibiting possibilities, in the Slovak engaged art there developed specific forms of land art and body art, the ethical and processing qualities of art were stressed, and group projects were






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