Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere is the first interdisciplinary analysis of performance art in East, Central and Southeast Europe under socialist rule. By investigating the specifics of event-based art forms in these regions, each chapter explores the particular, critical roles that this work assumed under censorial circumstances.

The artistic networks of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, East Germany and Czechoslovakia are discussed with a particular focus on the discourses that shaped artistic practice at the time, drawing on the methods of Performance Studies and Media Studies as well as more familiar reference points from art history and area studies.

chapter |15 pages


part I|55 pages

Geopolitics and transnationalism of art production

chapter 1|13 pages

Beyond “East” and “West” through The Eternal Network

Networked artists’ communities as counter-publics of Cold War Europe

chapter 2|13 pages

Tactical networking

Yugoslav performing and visual arts between East and West

chapter 3|15 pages

Connection with the world

Internationalism and new art practice in Yugoslavia

chapter 4|12 pages

Questioning the East

Artistic practices and social context on the edge

part II|91 pages

Locating the second public sphere

chapter 5|13 pages

Basements, attics, streets and courtyards

The reinvention of marginal art spaces in Romania during socialism

chapter 6|14 pages

Performing the proletarian public sphere

Gender and labour in the art of Tomislav Gotovac

chapter 7|13 pages

Outside by being inside

Unofficial artistic strategies in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s

chapter 8|12 pages

From a local to a national to a transnational public sphere

The emergence of solidarity in Poland from a theatrical perspective

chapter 9|11 pages

Surveilling the public sphere

The first Hungarian happening in secret agents’ reports 1

chapter 11|13 pages

Escape into nature!

The politics of melancholy in Czechoslovakian performance art

part III|71 pages

Facets of gender in the second public sphere

chapter 13|18 pages

Decision as art

Performance in the Balkans

chapter 14|17 pages

Communities of practice

Performing women in the second public sphere

part IV|15 pages

Post-socialist performance

chapter 16|13 pages

Socialist performance replaced

Re-enactment as a critical strategy in contemporary East European art