Accepted paper:

"Amateur art" from Poland in post-communist Europe


Uta Karrer (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the change in the perception of “amateur art” created between 1949 and 1989 in the Polish People´s Republic after the end of the communist era.

Paper long abstract:

The promotion of amateur art was one of the main cultural policy objectives of communist governments. Under the support and supervision of the Polish Peoples Republic numerous works of so called "amateur art" and "folk art" were created, which were to become part of European public museum´s and private collections. During the communist time they were presented to the public in large exhibitions and publications, which took place in Poland as well as other European countries, particularly in Western Germany. This paper aims to analyze the consequences of the political transformations between 1989 and 1991 on the visibility and perception of these art objects. Based on case studies on public and private collectors and collections in Western Germany, the paper demonstrates how the different actors of the art world- artists, collectors, gallerists and vendors as well as ethnographers- adapted their strategies of valorization of the objects to the new political situations. Furthermore, the influence of collectors and curators is discussed. The paper examines which kinds of objects and groups of artists gained visibility while others lost public attention and to what extent this process is connected to a depoliticization of objects and producers and an insertion in new contexts.

panel SPS004
Socialist heritage, memories, realities