Eastern Sugar Book Cover

Eastern Sugar

Editors: Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Ilona Németh
Publisher: Slovak National Gallery and Sternberg Press
Content: 304 pages
ISBN: 978-3-95679-573-2
Year: 2021

Contributors: Edit András, Rado Baťo, Fedor Blaščák, Johann Bockman, Kathrin Böhm, Anetta Mona Chişa, Cooking Sections, Annalee Davis, Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Ferenc Gróf, Dušan Janíček, Katarína Karafová, Peter Liška, Jason W. Moore, Ilona Németh, Michael Niblett, Raj Patel, Józef Rosta, Joanna Sokołowska, Olja Triaška Stefanović, Imre Szeman, Raluca Voinea

Eastern Sugar is an international, interdisciplinary, contemporary visual art project with strong focus on artistic research. Project reflects the recent facets of European history through the case of sugar industry in Central Europe.

Publication by Ilona Németh with the same name Eastern Sugar was published in February 2021 by Slovak National Gallery and the Sternberg Press.

Publication Ilona Németh: Eastern Sugar. Photo: Martin Deko, SNG
Publication Ilona Németh: Eastern Sugar. Photo: Martin Deko, SNG

Eastern Sugar was the name chosen by Générale Sucrière and Tate & Lyle for their joint venture to acquire sugar factories across Central Europe after the fall of communism in 1989. In the mid-2000s, the Franco-British consortium cashed in its investment to take advantage of a European Union compensation scheme and permanently shut down its sites. This book takes as its starting point artist Ilona Németh’s extensive research into the history of sugar production in the region, from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century, when northern sugar beet emerged as a competitor to southern sugar cane, to the social impact of the rapid decline of the industry in the era of peak globalization. The fate of Eastern Sugar is explored as a microcosm of the mechanisms of postcommunist transition across Central Europe from the opportunism of financial speculators to the endemic corruption of privatization, posing the question of whether neoliberal marketization was the only viable exit strategy from state socialism. Contributions dealing with the social and environmental legacies of Caribbean sugar plantations situate the sugar histories of Eastern Europe within the spread of a monocultural system based on (neo)colonial extractivism.

The project Eastern Sugar runs from 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2021, and includes activities implemented in six European countries in collaboration with five foreign partners. 

More information about the project and its exhibitions please visit Eastern Sugar upcoming page.

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.