Celebrated Russian philosopher Boris Groys and Georgian artist Andro Wekua were convened for this publication to compare and discuss their experiences of contemporary art: the Soviet era, the contemporary conditions of production and the concerns of a new generation of artists born in the 1970s. Wekua’s two large installations “Wait to Wait” and “Get Out of my Room” serve as touchstones for these topics. As Groys and Wekua also explore their generational differences–Groys recalling the critical and social solidarity of Russian art circles in the 1970s, Wekua noting the nomadism and ubiquity of “scene” for his generation–broader themes of loneliness, doubles, repetitions and waiting emerge, which are punctuated in the book by images of the two installations and several collages by Wekua.

otal Enlightenment is a superb and much-needed survey of the Conceptual movement in late- and post-Soviet Russia, a movement which even today remains still relatively unknown in the West. The book owes its title to a 1974 essay by the influential theorist Boris Groys, in which he asserted that Moscow artists held a unique relationship to the traditional art of Russia, which set them apart from their Western role models and contemporaries. He also noted that, for these artists, who were laboring under the censorious gaze of the government, the political content of their work constituted a genuine risk-taking. This volume features key works and paintings, drawings, photographs and installations by some of the most important artists of this era: Erik Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov, Komar & Melamid, Alexander Kosolapov, Igor Makarevich & Jelena Jelagina, Andrej Monastyrskij, Boris Mikhailov, Dmitri Prigov, Leonid Sokov and Vadim Zakharov.

The religious movements of today no longer depend on the handselling of literature such as bibles, pamphlets etc, but instead operate predominantly with electronic picture media such as video and television that can be disseminated much more widely, and which are capable of enormous rhetorical impact. Medium Religionapproaches religion as a media phenomenon, whose expressions are subject to the same laws of reproduction as any other consumer entity, and focuses particularly on geopolitical religious hotspots like the Middle East, Asia, Russia, North America and South America. It contains commentary by (among others) such notable thinkers as Boris Groys, Peter Sloterdijk and Slavoj Zizek; contributing artists include Adel Abdessemed, Oreet Ashery, Maja Bajevic, Paul Chan, Omer Fast, Barbad Golshiri, Kajri Jain, Vitali Komar, Alexander Kosolapov, Nira Pereg, Dorna Safaian, Anri Sala, Michael Schuster, Wael Shawky, Joshua Simon and Jalal Toufic.

The all-encompassing mass culture of today is not an invention of the late 20th century. Contrary to what might be assumed, given the capitalist under- and over-tones of contemporary mass media, our visual culture has its roots in the totalitarian regimes of the 20s and 30s. Back then, the main venue for visual communication was the reproduction and circulation of pictures via posters and films. Fascism and communism made radical use of these new opportunities for the consistent transformation of culture, even to the point of co-opting such traditional media as painting and sculpture. The centrally organized Soviet mass culture of the Stalin period is one of the foremost example of these highly effective propaganda machines. Beginning with the late realist works of Kasimir Malevich, Dream Factory Communism presents the macrocosm of Soviet art in the Stalin era–still little known in the West–as a unified aesthetic phenomenon that transcended individual media. The later works of Soz-Art, a style in which characteristics of socialist realism are combined with Pop Art, provides a running visual commentary and a critical take on the aesthetics of totalitarianism. The inclusion of works by contemporary Russian artists such as Erik Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov and Komar & Melamid marks the chasm that separates today’s artists both aesthetically and politically from their predecessors. Essays by Boris Groys, Oksana Bulgakova, Katya Djogot, Hans Günther, Annette Michelson, Alexander Morosov and Martina Weinhart ~Introduction by Max Hollein.

Some 240 of the most original and important works by 150 artists have been selected from the largest private photographic collections of our time, owned by Germany’s DG Bank and are published in this book.. In addition to classical photography, the photographic works of painters and sculptors are the focus of this collection, in which the diverse trends in contemporary art are concentrated and readily identifiable. Artists such as Gerhard Richter, Robert Rauschenberg, Magdalena Jetelov and John Chamberlain have regarded photography as an indispensable supplement to their own pictorial language. However photography is also employed in conjunction with new media by such artists as Anton Corbijn, Valie Export and Marie-Jo Lafontaine. John Baldessari and Barbara Kruger use photography to examine the mass media critically. Examples of digital techniques and conceptual movements complement this collection.

Douglas Gordon has proven himself a master of adaptation, bending the works of other artists through his own refractive lens. One of the most decorated artists of his time, he has stretched Hitchcock’s Psycho from two hours to twenty-four, he has set Taxi Driver‘s unsettling “You talking to me?” scene into a two-screen projection, and now, he’s taken his obsession with a novel by Scottish writer James Hogg (1770-1835) to new lengths. Gordon’s Confessions is an immersive environment based on The Memoirs and Private Confessions of a Justified Sinner, a narrative of shifting perspectives that traces a strict Calvinist young man’s descent into a series of murders. Gordon’s ingenious and disturbing work used the three levels of the Kunsthaus Bregenz, where it first appeared, to explore different sensory experiences of the story, from a printing room that produces the story’s pages on an industrial-age offset press to a black-light-shrouded space where the viewer only hears the story to an installation of large-format and silent film projections on the front and back of a diaphanous screen.

This catalogue, designed by Bruce Mau, echoes the format of the exhibition with three slipcased volumes that give the reader an experience comparable to that of the show.

For 20 years, Parkett has presented unparalleled explorations and discussions of important international contemporary artists by esteemed writers and critics. These investigations continue in issue No. 72, which features collaborations by Urs Fischer, Richard Prince, Monica Bonvicini, and in a special 20th anniversary section, Alex Katz. In Issue No. 72: Come into Swiss-sculptor Urs Fischer’s house of mirrors, among his oversized raindrops, chairs, and cigarette cartons, and ponder his spatially jarring world. Also, go on a guided tour up Richard Prince’s driveway, past a parked 1973 Dodge Barracuda, where you’ll get a close peek at his anti-monument of countercultural ephemera–a partially renovated, partially ramshackle house-work “painstakingly crafted to be almost impossible to find.” Read about Italian-born artist Monica Bonvicini who refuses to be confined by the architecture of her surroundings, but offers in her radical gestures, her own menu of obstacles. Also in this issue, adjust your eyes to Alex Katz’s flirtatiously awkward visions of reality until the details in his paintings emerge as indelible markings of timeless style. Pour into Katz’s cool poetic pictures as if into a perfect fitting suit. Authors include, Beatrix Ruf, Benjamin Weissman, Brenda Richardson, Vincent Procoil, Alison Gingeras, Dike Blair, Juliane Rebentisch, Jorg Heiser, Lars Lerup, Anselm Franke, Ena Swansea, Bruce Hainley, Boris Groys, Daniel Kurjakovic, Douglas Fogle, Marc Gloede, Stephanie Smith, and Hans Rudolf Reust.

Jeff Wall adopts the 19th-century poet Baudelaire’s famous description of one of his painter contemporaries as a “painter of modern life” to describe his own very different work: huge transparencies mounted onto light boxes which diffuse a brilliant glow of white light evenly through his photographs of contemporary urban scenes and “constructed” social situations. Jeff Wall is foremost among the pioneering artists who since the late 1960s have brought photography to the forefront of contemporary art. His construced images employ the latest sophisticated technology in the creation of compelling tableaux which are evocative of subjects ranging from Hollywood cinema to 19th-century history painting. When exhibited in their glowing light boxes they evoke both the seduction of the cinema screen and the physical presence of minimalist sculptures such as Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light installations or Donald Judd’s metal and perspex wall reliefs. All of these elements – traditional figurative painting, cinema, Minimalism, Conceptual art, documentary photography – are consciously evoked and explored in Wall’s work. Associated closely since the late 1960s with Conceptual artists such as Dan Graham, with whom he collaborated on “The Children’s Pavilion” (1988-93), Wall has engaged at a sophisticated level with theories of representation and its social dimensions both as an artist and as a theoretical writer on contemporary art and culture. Wall’s own writings and the Survey essay by one of Europe’s most distinguished contemporary art critics, Thierry de Duve, are complemented in this revised expanded edition by an update essay from the French art critic and historian of photography Jean-Francois Chevrier, who examines Wall’s work from 1995 to the present.

Central terms from alchemy and cryptology, magic and projection, guerrilla filmmaking and time machines fundamental, in the research project conceived and initiated by Siegfried Zielinski, to developing an archaeology and variantology of media are presented in this critical encyclopaedia by around 100 keywords. An introduction by Zielinski, as well as entries written especially for this book by numerous prominent international media theorists and philosophers such as Hans Belting, Boris Groys, Erkki Huhtamo, Werner Nekes, Otto E. Rössler, and Peter Weibel, represent an indispensable compendium for the understanding of the associated terms.

A monograph on the acclaimed French-Albanian artist Anri Sala, whose multichannel installations explore the perception of sound and images in relation to architectural spaces.

Since his debut film, Intervista (Finding the Words) (1998), to his recent installations that explore spatial and temporal manipulations of music, Anri Sala has developed a widely acclaimed multimedia practice founded in the interplay of images, sound and architectural space. Probing notions of memory and time—both personal and historical—Sala’s works engage the viewer’s awareness of being present while calling attention to the political dynamics of space.

Anri Sala: Answer Me is an overview of Sala’s career to date. Essays by Natalie Bell, Tacita Dean, Mark Godfrey, Boris Groys and Christine Macel, and an interview with the artist by Massimiliano Gioni, offer new perspectives on Sala’s oeuvre and guide readers through the development of his practice.

What happens to a country when it undergoes change on a revolutionary scale? And how does one grasp such monumental transformation? In over 200 entries, the Atlas of Transformation offers a massive glossary of key terms for the effects and consequences of social political change, based on the transformations seen over the past two decades in Eastern Europe. These terms are explicated in extended essayistic entries, and describe themes obviously associated with large-scale change, such as adaptation, collectivity, demolition, ecology, immigration, ownership and privatization–but also explore somewhat more oblique themes such as iconoclasm, pornography, punishment and schizophrenia. Including relevant historical texts alongside new writing, among the authors contributing to the Atlas are Timothy Garton Ash, Hakim Bey, Homi K. Bhabha, Deleuze and Guattari, Boris Groys, Karl Holmqvist, Frederic Jameson, Franz Kafka and Slavoj Zizek.

This publication presents the first comprehensive overview of the German collaborative Fischer/El Sani. Nine of their most important films, installations and photographic works are featured, all of which emphasize the duo’s ongoing commitment to dismantling and re-appropriating Modernist architecture. Included are texts by, among others, critics Boris Groys and Jennifer Allen.

There is a crisis in the archives. Contemporary protocols for archiving and accessing increasingly vast amounts of materials present unprecedented possibilities and problems for the production, classification, and use of knowledge. Surveying the jagged edge between memory and forgetting, revealing the force and scope of some of memory’s losses–its technical drop-outs, its lacunae, burials, omissions, eclipses, and denials–Lost in the Archives explores the thesis that memory is productively read from its failures and absences, in the not-yet or impossible archives, in archive fevers and dementias, in all the places archives cannot or have not looked. Investigations on the limits of memory are instigated by over 70 artists and writers, including Jacques Derrida, Atom Egoyan, Gustave Flaubert, Boris Groys, Candida Höfer, Rem Koolhaas, Sol Lewitt, Bruce Mau, and Jeff Wall. Like a purloined letter, the shelved and forgotten book wields its most virulent power precisely in being unread. Unread, if not indeed illegible, what is lost in the archive may prove to exert the most shocking force. Edited and with an introduction by Rebecca Comay. Series Editor John Knechtel. Art Director Gilbert Li.

Can the museum be viewed as a conceptual structure capable of liberating itself from visual and imaginary content? To address this question, a group of well-known philosophers, theorists, and artists undertook a critical examination of collection and exhibition concepts, especially of those that are orientated toward market success. With current trends toward global museum mergers, large-scale exhibitions, and “art light,” the participants of this symposium, held at the MAK in Vienna, discuss the possibilities for daring curatorial policies dedicated to presenting art within critical aesthetic contexts and point the way to possible future forms of the museum. Participants include Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Bazon Brock, Boris Groys, Magdalena Jetelova, Gerhard Merz, Peter Noever, and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

This catalogue-reader accompanies Armando Lulaj’s project for the 56th Venice Biennale. Curated by Marco Scotini, Lulaj’s exhibition in the Albanian Pavilion is a time capsule of the country’s past, presenting strange memorabilia and trophies that tread the line between fact and fiction. Combining evocation and documentation, Lulaj concentrates on a historic-political phase that was extremely important for building an identity that was not just Albanian but also international. On display are three videos and archival materials, as well as an enormous whale’s skeleton, which is both protagonist and silent witness—an incarnation of the giant Leviathan, the Hobbesian principle of sovereignty. Parallel to the exhibition, this collection of essays, film stills, and original and archival photographs ruminates on communism’s mechanisms of power and socializing myths through the lens of Albania’s geopolitical situation. The publication in turn offers another process of mythologizing.
Curator Marco Scotini’s essay overviews Lulaj’s political task and his use of unusual emblematic forms to represent one of the most internationally isolated political states of former Eastern Europe. Historian Elidor Mëhilli’s text offers a history of the Communist Party of Albania, acknowledging that the mechanism of propaganda worked best when it did not entirely erase the record, but selectively altered it. Boris Groys further enriches the discussion by expanding the relationship of the Albanian Trilogy to the local situation of Albania to view the communist project as a model for society very much cultivated in relation to the outside world, the “West,” as another mythology. A conversation between Hou Hanru and Armando Lulaj, along with Edi Muki’s reading of the trilogy, focuses on the methods of historical reconstruction as cross-disciplinary and located between the role of the artist and the social archaeologist. A film analysis by Jonida Gashi examines the three works through Lulaj’s focus on the unseen figure as way of critiquing the production of the social body—the extras in cinema being analogous to the people in history.
Jonida Gashi, Boris Groys, Hou Hanru, Armando Lulaj, Elidor Mëhilli, Edi Muka, Marco Scotini

This two-volume, slipcased set presents the first complete overview of iconic New York-based, Russian-born artist Ilya Kabakov’s paintings. Centered around 130 works produced by Kabakov in Moscow between 1957 and 1987–when he used imaginary characters in his paintings to portray the banality of everyday life in the Soviet Union, providing both a parable on humankind and sardonic commentary on the system’s unfulfilled promises and undelivered utopias–this comprehensive catalogue raisonne follows the publication of a two-volume catalogue raisonne of Kabakov’s installations in 2004 and includes important essays by curator and critic Robert Storr and acclaimed late-Soviet Postmodern art and literature expert Boris Groys.

To celebrate the fortieth issue of Parkett, the editors present a special thematic issue. When beauty reemerges from Postmodernism, what does it look like? And how, when contemporary life demands so many different things from contemporary art, do we strike a balance between history and presence, politics and humor? Taking the children’s game of Snakes and Ladders as a guiding metaphor, this gala issue offers six mini-collaborations: Holland Cotter on Francesco Clemente; Boris Groys on Peter Fischli and David Weiss; David Rimanelli and Max Weechsler on Gunther Förg; Gordon Burn on Damien Hirst; Joan Simon on Jenny Holzer; and Gilbert Lascault on Rebecca Horn. Also in this issue: Dave Hickey on magic, Vik Muniz on apparitions, Jeff Perrone on boards and borders, Roger Denson on nomadic critical theory, and much more.

Ilya Kabakov (b.1933) is recognized as the most important Russian artist to have emerged in the late twentieth century, with installations that speak as much about conditions in post-Stalinist Russia as they do about the human condition universally. His work has been exhibited at such major international venues as The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1991), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1995) and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1995). Kabakov’s installations are, in some instances, akin to theatrical mise-en-scenes, reproducing a cramped communal apartment or a flooded art museum as a site of schadenfreude-like comedies on human struggle and doomed aspirations. Alternating between light-hearted irony and deeply poignant tragedy, Kabakov evokes a shadowy world in which fable-like miracles might occur: a homespun cosmonaut may fly into space or the radio/television aerial may spell out a poem against the sky. Boris Groys, an art critic and philosopher, surveys the artist’s long career and analyses its philosophical and formal dimensions in terms of art history as well as the artist’s own biogaphy. In the Interview, David A. Ross discusses the artist’s practice and its bridging of Eastern and Western contemporary art. Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, concentrates on the artist’s contribution to the 1997 Skulptur Projekte in Munster, Looking up. Reading the Words, a sculpture that dares to offer ‘the very best thing that you have ever done or seen in your life’. An extract from the short story ‘The Steppe’ by Anton Chekhov comprises the Artist’s Choice. The Artist’s Writings range from extracts from his Kafka-esque The Life of Flies, to fictional letters of complaint on communal life in the Soviet Union, to texts on the significance to the artist of the legacies of Cezanne and Malevich.

More than any of their contemporaries, Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are challenging the boundaries between architecture and art. Natural History explores that challenge, examining how the work of this formidable pair has drawn upon the art of both past and present, and brought architecture into dialogue with the art of our time. Echoing an encyclopedia, this publication reflects the natural history museum structure of the exhibition which it accompanies, organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Models and projects by Herzog & de Meuron, as well as by other artists, are structured around six thematic portfolios that suggest an evolutionary history of the architects’ work: Appropriation & Reconstruction, Transformation & Alienation, Stacking & Compression, Imprints & Moulds, Interlocking Spaces, and Beauty & Atmosphere. Each section is introduced with a statement from Herzog, and more than 20 artists, scholars, and architects have contributed essays, including Carrie Asman, Georges Didi-Huberman, Kurt W. Forster, Boris Groys, Ulrike Meyer Stump, Peggy Phelan, Thomas Ruff, Rebecca Schneider, Adolf Max Vogt, and Jeff Wall.

Following the exhibition held at Nottingham Contemporary in 2010, this publication is the second part of the ‘Star City’ project. It documents the interaction of the post-communist era with the Khrushchev Thaw of the 1950’s and early ‘60s, and the Soviet avant-garde of the Revolutionary period, with special attention given to the utopian, religious and scientific thought of the Russian Cosmists and the 19th and early 20th centuries. With texts and interviews by David Crowley and Boris Groys, among others, the investigation travels through colourful propaganda, archival photos, lost architecture and conceptual artworks from a range of locations behind the Iron Curtain.