All talks will take place in the Talks Area of viennacontemporary (Booth C21) and will be hybrid and accessible online.

Click here you want to attend the talks online:


Central and Eastern European ART: Beyond Social Utopia

After many attempts to define the geography of contemporary art – especially after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe – it seems increasingly clear that it is impossible to define the geography of art outside the global map of the neoliberal distribution of power. Many theoreticians, curators, art researchers, and producers – especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – politicized the paradoxical situation of being redefined by the post-historical and post-ideological geopolitical signifiers of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Critical geographies of art became the main issue of recent art histories, particularly those which rejected nationalist canons and neoliberal attempts at transitional regionalization. Dealing with the ideology of geopolitical positioning of contemporary art within the art system, all those debates between Former West and Former East – in the meantime – have ended up as global debates between center and periphery. Shifting between local and global priorities of the present, this series of talks focuses on structural and emancipatory ways of belonging, beyond geopolitical zones of discomfort within so-called CEE.


ArtTech Talks

Technology is influencing how we think, act, and relate to creativity. This series of talks looks at the different ways technology and creative culture intersect. Technology is a great shifting influence on how and where audiences now discover art. 2020, in particular, has seen a huge shift of understanding and desire to access art online. Online exhibitions and viewing rooms, the prevalence of visual platforms and social media, artworks as computer games, and active engagement with how technology functions have exploded as a result of the international lockdowns. Screens have become cultural lifelines and increasingly connected to our emotional, psychological, and conceptual experience. Digital and new technologies are often embedded into artworks that function beyond the screen. These talks examine how artists, curators, and thinkers are responding to these new directions and the opportunities for our creative, digital future.


Media & Partner Talks


Friday, 25 September 2020

3:00–4:00 pm
ArtTech Talk: Digital Curating

How should curators be exhibiting work online? Is it possible to create shows that have the impact of a real space? What new platforms are emerging that give new audiences access to art? What routes are working and which online exhibitions fail? This round table conversation will explore online exhibitions and the process of curating for digital and remote spaces.

Corina Apostol, curator, Tallin Art Hall, Estonia
Lucia Gregorova Stach, chief curator, Slovak National Gallery Bratislava
Valentina Bruschi, curator and writer, Italy
Moderated by Francesca Gavin, art theorist, curator and writer

5:30–6:30 pm


The geographical and historical indications of contemporary art in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe still remain blurry, confronting and undefined. From today’s perspective of dealing with this geo-political space through art-historical writing and institutional curating, invited speakers will discuss shifting and impossible narratives around those exhausted art geographies. From politically exotic ways of making art in the 90s to precarious and vanishing conditions of producing art today (functioning through a kind of imaginary nostalgia towards the communist or socialist past), this talk will focus on ways of art production and its presence within and beyond art systems of the CEE space.
Zdenka Badovinac, curator, writer and director, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana
Ana Janevski, curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sebastian Cichocki, writer, art critic and chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
Moderated by Jelena Petrović, art theorist, curator and researcher, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

Saturday, 26 September 2020

1:30-2:30 pm

Russian Art Focus: New Glocalization: Local Initiatives with Global Vision

Propelled by the restrictions of health and climate crises on international travel, local initiatives seem to experience a rebirth. Even though glocalization is not a new concept, more and more art initiatives are now seeking to embrace the local context while keeping the global vision. Can the art world find new ways to connect “art centers” with so-called “art peripheries”? As local initiatives rise in prominence, will this result in a more balanced, fairly distributed cultural offering or spread the already overbooked calendar of art lovers even further?

Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director Serpentine Galleries, London
Jean-Hubert Martin, art historian, curator, Paris
Nikolas Iljine, advisor to the General Director of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Katerina Chuchalina, chief curator at the V-A-C Foundation (Moscow and Venice), co-curator of Manifesta 13 in Marseille
Hedwig Fijen, founding director of Manifesta
Anna Somers Cocks, OBE, journalist, founder-editor, The Art Newspaper, London

Moderator: Christianna Bonin, Art historian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

3:00-4:00 pm

ArtTech Talk: Gameplay
We have come a long way since Pacman. This discussion looks at artists drawing on computer games as a structure and space for art making. The aim is to examine what is interesting about the computer game in an art context conceptually, physically, in terms of audience, and access. The conversation will focus on the work of British artist Thomas Webb, whose online artwork was just launched by Koenig Galerie, and American writer, artist, and curator Nicholas O’Brien, who has a broad experience of how art and gaming culture intersect.

Thomas Webb, British artist
Nicholas O Brien, American writer, artist and curator
Moderated by Francesca Gavin, art theorist, curator and writer

Saturday, 26 September 2020

5:30-6:30 pm


The act of exposing and being exposed to the public space through contemporary art is often related to certain values and attentions, but also to many different affects and experiences. The ways how we create social and geopolitical spaces of art exposure – from must-see contemporary art galleries and contemporary art shows to must-visit biennales and art fairs – shape geopolitical standards of art production and its market values, too. A usual question – what does it mean today to produce state, national or local contemporary art (infra)structures and to have national or local artists? – will be followed by a discussion on ways of creating new art geographies within this still unsettled zone of art in CEE. The relation between different ways of exposure to art and its possible future economies will be contextualized by local vs. global distributions of power.

Maria Hlavajova, general & artistic director, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht
Róna Kopeczky, curator and co-founder of the platform Easttopics, artistic director, acb Gallery, Budapest
Raino Isto, independent scholar, curator, and artist, founding member of the Laboratory for Albanian Art and Culture (LACA) and editor-in-Chief, ARTMargins Online, Oregon
Moderated by Jelena Petrović, art theorist, curator and researcher, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

Sunday, 27 September 2020

1:30-2:30 pm

ArtTech Talk: Technology Off Screen

Artists are increasingly using new techniques and materials that address our relationship to a technological world. Artist Aleksandra Domanovic emerged with work that directly addressed a screen context with her collaborative project before establishing a largely sculptural practice that incorporates 3D printing and ideas around the use of technology and biological innovations. Aram Bartholl is a Berlin-based conceptual artist whose work unpicks the digital and the physical in inventive ways.

Aleksandra Domanovic, artist
Aram Bartholl, artist
Moderated by Francesca Gavin, art theorist, curator and writer

Sunday, 27 September 2020

3:00-4.00 pm


As the one of art research bases that last several years explores inherited Eurocentric, patriarchal and hegemonic mythological formulas since the ancient times, The notion EUROPA ENTERPRISE is used as a starting point of this talk to open the question about art imagination of our geo-social reality. Transgressing the borders between civil and non-civil, hegemonic and subaltern, men’s and women’s worlds, between nature and society, and all those colossal binarities on which neoliberal patriarchy and colonialism rest today, diverse contemporary art and curatorial practices which trigger an active, de-colonial, feminist and new materialist imagination of a future society will be the focus of this talk. Strategies of survival, different perspectives of living and working between dissimilar places, nomadic experiences, and critical confrontations with forced displacements or movement restrictions will be discussed from the viewpoint of perceiving CEE as a zone of geopolitical discomfort.

Lala Raščić, visual artist, Zagreb/Sarajevo/New Orleans
Inga Lāce, C-MAP Central and Eastern Europe Fellow, MoMA
Sabina Sabolović / WHW, director Kunsthalle Wien
Moderated by Jelena Petrović, art theorist, curator and researcher, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

Sunday, 27 September 2020

4:30-5:30 pm

Verein K – Partner Talk: An Outsider’s Look at Art in Austria: Visiting Critics Vienna

What is specific about art in Austria? How does the Austrian context compare to art in other cities and countries? What are the highlights of this year’s Steirischer Herbst and of Curated By? And what is the role of art criticism in 2020? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this panel discussion.

Visiting Critics Vienna is a program organized annually by Verein K. Every year, four relevant international art critics are chosen by an international jury in collaboration with the International Association of Art Critics, AICA, to discover the Austrian art scene within this program supported by the Federal Chancellery of Austria and the City of Vienna. At the end of their 10 day residency in Austria – after seeing Steirischer Herbst, Curated by and viennacontemporary, after meeting artists, curators, theorists, and visiting numerous museums, galleries, and off-spaces – the «Visiting Critics Vienna 2020» meet at viennacontemporary to talk about their experience of the Austrian art scene, how it compares to others and about their role as critics.

Cindy Sissokho, cultural producer, curator and writer, France / UK
Emily McDermott, writer and editor, Berlin /USA
Valentinas Klimašauskas, curator and writer, Lithuania
Cathrin Drake, freelance writer and editor, USA
Moderated by Klaus Speidel, curator, critic, art theorist, and co-founder of Verein K.