Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s-1980s

Artforum March 2024

AT THE ENTRANCE TO the Walker Art Center’s “Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s–1980s,” viewers are met by Hungarian artist László Fehér’s Underground Passage I., 1975, a black-and-white, hyperrealist painting of passengers ascending the subway stairs as a solitary figure descends. Painted with illusionistic faux creases and tears to suggest a worn photograph, the work alludes in both title and subject to the multiple worlds (public and private, real and imaginary, official and underground) that artists in East-Central Europe continuously navigated during communism. Also portrayed, at least on its surface, is the gray, dreary Eastern Europe of Western stereotypes, a foil for the exhibition itself, which alternatively presents a rich and diverse cultural history through more than 250 works by nearly one hundred artists.

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