Maja and Reuben Fowkes / Green Dreams and Red Realities on the Blue Planet

Maja and Reuben Fowkes_©Cecylia Malik 365 Trees_2010

Ecological Perspectives in East European Art

16 February 2016, 5 pm, Berlinka, Slovak National Gallery
Square Ľudovíta Štúra 4, 81102 Bratislava

A collaboration project between and Studio IN (Department of Intermedia and Multimedia, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava) in the context of the Open Studio program.

The first images of Earth seen from space brought a shift in planetary sensibility that coincided at the end of the 1960s with a growing awareness of environmental issues that could be felt across geopolitical divides and in both the sciences and the arts. Today, human intervention into the natural processes of the Planet has escalated beyond geography or biology to the geological scale of Earth’s deep history, bringing a new wave of anxieties about global warming, mass extinction and environmental degradation. How are changing perceptions of the Planet and our place in the Cosmos manifest in East European art, both around the political, cultural and ecological turning point of 1968 and in today’s Anthropocene world? What would constitute a planetary history of East European art and how would such a project reconfigure traditional artistic paradigms framed in relation to political history? How do East European artists contribute to an emerging environmental art history that looks beyond nations, regions and the anthropocentric globe, to the ecological materiality of the planet?

The lecture is followed by a launch event for Maja Fowkes’s The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism (New York/Budapest: CEU Press, 2015) with a response by art historian Daniel Grúň.

Art historians and curators Dr. Maja Fowkes and Dr. Reuben Fowkes are founders of the Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art, a centre for transnational research into East European art and ecology in Budapest that operates across the disciplinary boundaries of art history, contemporary art and ecological thought. They teach an MA course on Visual Cultures of the Anthropocene at Central European University, as well as running a Seminar on Art and Ecological Crisis at Translocal Institute in cooperation with the Hungarian University of the Fine Arts and the Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design. Recently publications include River Ecologies: Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities on the Danube (2015) and Maja Fowkes’ The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism (2015). They are also the curators of the exhibition Walking without Footprints currently on show at

Image: © Cecylia Malik: 365 Trees, 2010