Contemporary Artists and the Contested Past – National Histories, Imperial Memories

The concluding event of our seminar series National Histories, Imperial Memories: Representing the Past in Interwar Central Europe will take place at

18.00 CET on 14 December 2021

on Zoom, featuring the artists

Szabolcs KissPál (Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest)


Martin Piaček (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava)

in conversation with

Edit András (Central European University, Vienna)

The event is free and open to all, but you need to register. Click here for the registration form. See the full seminar schedule here.

The event will consist of a conversation between Szabolcs KissPál, Martin Piaček and Edit András followed by questions from the audience. The aim is to reconsider the topics of our previous seminars and the general theme of historical memory, national identity and visual culture through the lens of contemporary art. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the work of the two artists before the event with the help of the links below.


Watch the session on our Youtube channel:



Szabolcs KissPál lives in Budapest, Hungary. His main field of interest is the intersection of new media, visual arts and social issues. He taught and held master classes in several universities (Slovakia, Germany, France) and he is currently an associate professor at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest. He has presented his works at the Venice Biennial, ISCP and Apexart New York, Stedelijk Museum, Seoul International Media Art Biennale, as well as and other venues. Between 2012 and 2015 he was actively involved in various activist projects.

His project From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy) is made up of two docu-fiction videos: Amorous Geography (2012) and The Rise of the Fallen Feather (2016), and an installation The Chasm Records (2016) that presents a fictitious museum setting. Within a larger historical and cultural framework, the work establishes interconnections between the three major elements of ‘illiberal’ Hungarian state policy and the political and cultural philosophy that operates as its ideological basis: the symbolism of the ‘ethnic landscape’ and political geography; the romantic historiography of national myths of origin; and Turanism, a re-emerging form of political religion. Through counter-fictionalisation (operating as the ‘potential to deconstruct the myth from within’) as its methodology, the docu-fiction project presents an analysis of the formation of national mythologies, their persistence and changing role in both political and everyday representation. You can watch the videos and explore the project here.

Explore other works by Szabolcs KissPál here.


Still from Szabolcs Kisspál's video Amorous Geography

Still from Amorous Geography, a video from Szabolcs KissPál’s From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy)


Martin Piaček is an artist and the head of vvv studio at the Intermedia Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Trained in sculpture, he works with a broad range of media and strategies, trying to reconsider the traditional sculptural techniques and materials. His long-term interest lies in individual and collective memory, national heroes and myths, mostly from modern European history. Examples include the cycle The Greatest Embarrassments of Slovak History (2007–ongoing; explore further works from the cycle here) and the series Very Slovak Hero, which examines the figure of Milan Rastislav Štefánik in Slovak cultural memory. Further works dealing with similar questions can be viewed here.

In recent projects, Martin Piaček has opened his focus towards broader issues of environmentalism. In addition to his art and teaching practices he is involved in many curatorial and organizational projects, providing expertise on public space and the politics of monuments. He has been working on the dramaturgy of the Soft Norm lecture series and most recently, the globally oriented Liquid Dogmas project. He is a founding member of the civic association Public Pedestal, the exhibition format DiStO and a supporter of the KU.BA platform. His works have been presented as solo shows and within numerous group exhibition in Slovakia and abroad. Recently his projects were presented in East Slovak Gallery in Košice (2020), Art Encounters Biennale Timişoara (2019), Karlín Studios in Prague (2018), Futura Gallery Prague (2017) and Kunsthalle Bratislava (2016), among others.


Martin Piaček: Representative Bust, from the series Very Slovak Hero, 2012 – photo:


Edit András holds a PhD in art history from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She is a Senior member of the Institute of Art History, Research Center for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, and a Visiting Professor in the History Department at Central European University, Budapest/Vienna, 2016–2021. Her research interests include Eastern and Central European modern and contemporary art, gender issues, socially engaged art, public art, critical theories, post-socialist condition, and nationalism in the region. She has taken part as consultant and speaker in seminar series organised at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA and New Europe College, Bucharest, amongst others. She was co-curator of the international exhibitions Universal hospitality, AltePost, Vienna, 2016 and Universal Hospitality2, Futura Gallery and MeetFactory, Prague, 2017, and curator of the exhibition Imagined communities, Personal imaginations / Private Nationalism (Budapest, Municipal Gallery, Kiscelli Museum, Budapest Gallery, 2015). She has published numerous essays in collected volumes, catalogues and academic journals, including ARTMargins, e-flux, Idea, Third Text, and springerin. She is editor of the anthology Transitland: Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989–2009 (Budapest, 2009).

This seminar is part of a project that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 786314).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply