As a rule, the pedestal is insufficient on its own, it is always missing something. Taken as such, it is effectively the sign of something lacking, of a defect. Nonetheless, it says nothing about what stands over it or of what might occupy its space. It is something that lies on the edge, a limit and an object supplementary to the work.
Published for “Il Piedistallo Vuoto – Fantasmi dall’Est Europa / The Empty Pedestal – Ghosts from Eastern Europe” – presented at the Museo Civico Archeologico in Bologna from January 24 to March 16 and organized by Arte Fiera – this book accompanies a project that traces recent developments in the art scene of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. On view are a hundred works (from leading Italian private art collections) by over forty artists, ranging from members of the younger generation, such as Petrit Halilaj, Gintaras Didžiapetris and Evgeny Antufiev, to recognized masters like Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Marina Abramović, and Miroslav Tichý. “None of these so-called archeologists”, writes exhibition curator Marco Scotini, “is practicing an art of ruins: they all act upon time but also ‘against’ time, in favor of a time to come. Neither do they aim to predict anything. All they do is allow the unknown knocking on the door to enter”. Alongside a compendium of images, the book presents a selection of essays by philosophers, art critics and curators that illustrate and comment on certain key concepts examined in the show, including the notions of “East” and “West”, and of “democracy”, “struggle”, “History”, and “site-specificity”.