Une fiction reconstruite : Europe de l’Est, post-socialisme et rétro-avant-garde (2005)

Recensione di Franco Torriani

Une fiction reconstruite: Europe de l’Est, post-socialisme et rétro-avant-garde is the French version, recently published by l’Harmattan, Paris, of an intriguing and profound essay of Marina Grzinic, the Slovenian philosopher, indipendent art critic, video and media author. The book starts by analyzing the difference between Eastern and Western Europe, an inner and critical difference echoing the concept of apartheid, as this was suggested by Trinh T.Minh-ha. The time is there to find and/or to write again the paradigms concerning spaces, arts and media productions in what was previously known as Eastern Europe.

The essay is focused mainly on the projects and concepts of a few artists from ex-Yugosliavia: Mladen Stilinovic (Zagreb), Kasimir Malevitch (Belgrade) and the group IRWIN(NSK) (Ljublljana). It is a philosophical dialectical approach spreading from ex-Yugosliavia to Eastern Europe as a whole, which is also an accurate research of the arts and media strategies peculiar to post-socialism.

Among the various authors taken in account by Marina Grzinic:Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Lacan. It is a kind of interval between real and reality where spectres appear to give to “the reality of the real” its character of symbolic fiction ( this explains also the title of this book).

Grzinic deals with new media with the purpose to define again some basic principles in the history of philosophy and theory, from the subjet to the real/virtual relation and the public and media space. This has to be put in relation with the real war as occured in Bosnia and the virtual war in  the virtual environment.

Coined by Peter Weibel in the ’90s during an exhibition in Austria of Stilinovic, Malevitch and IRWIN, the word/definition retro-avant-garde has since been adopted by these artists ( In fact, by this definition Weibel indicated – “from outside” says Marina Grzinic- the territory of ex- Yugoslavia). In Hegelian terms, for her Stilinovic is  the thesis, Malevitch the antithesis, IRWIN the synthesis. In her fascinating and brave research aimed to develop a theory of aesthetics and politics, the artitsts she has selected are emblematic to carry on a reflection on ideology, being ideology – in Grzinic’s words- the matrix of post-socialist artistic projects.

As a non philosopher, I would say Kant is not enough any more, you need the zynischen Vernuft, the cynical reason, that Griznic consider in a complex interpretation of Peter Sloterdijk’s Critic on this topic. In other words, cinism is the end of the critic of ideology.

In a pitiless speech, Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) said that the “second world” was obsolete, that only the first and the third world still exist. Is this “hole” of the second world still unknown as it was in 1997, when Hakim Bey gave his conference in Ljubljana?

This book, published in Slovenian in 1997 (Rekonstruirana Fikcjia, Koda) and in English in 2000 (Fiction Reconstructed:Eastern Europe, post-socialism,retro-avant-garde, Vienna, Selene) is a spring of ideas and a precious antidote to a lot of common “ideological” stereotypes. Introduction and postface from Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki. Danielle Charonnet has translated the essay in a cultivated  brillant French.

download excerpt in pdf>>


Posted in books

Bilokacija (Bilocation) (1990)

Post-socialism + Retroavant garde + Irwin, video, 1997

Deklica z oranžo (The Girl With Orange) (1987)

Moscow Portraits (1990)

Cindy Sherman or Hysteria Production Presents a Reconstruction of Sherman’s Photographs (1984)

Trenutki odločitve (Moments of Decision) (1985)

Labirint (Labyrinth) (1993)