DORTMUND | until Mar 22, 2020


Artists & Agents, Performance Art and Secret Services

The exhibition, developed in cooperation with the Slavic Seminar of the University of Zurich, is curated by Inke Arns, Kata Krasznahorkai and Sylvia Sasse.

The exhibition focuses on the interaction between secret services and performance art – an art form that was considered particularly dangerous.

Archives are accessible almost exclusively in Eastern Europe and reveal the "disruption" and "liquidation" of critical artists by state security services. For this, however, some of the agents had to become 'performance artists' themselves.

Artists & Agents presents examples of artistic subversion and secret service infiltration, some of which have never been shown before. Recent works show: The question of the increasing use of secret service methods in today's politics and everyday life is highly topical.

The exhibition is featuring works by artists from Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and the USA.

After 1990, many intelligence archives of the former Eastern Bloc countries were opened up for scientific research. This made it possible for the first time to examine the documentation of art through agents and the influence of the intelligence services on artistic work. Above all, the exhibition intends to show the interaction of intelligence actions and performance art in particular, which the totalitarian states of Eastern Europe were most afraid of.

To illustrate the relevance of these issues for the present, the 2019 exhibition is taking place in the year which marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. In the GDR, it was the democratic opposition (including many artists) who stormed the Stasi headquarters in 1989 in order to stop the further destruction of the files. In the run-up to the exhibition, extensive and targeted research was carried out in intelligence archives in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Germany. The exhibition will focus on examples from these countries from the years 1960-1990.