Art of the East German Uprising

As Stalin grew ever more paranoid and unpredictable in the final months of his life, the ailing dictator demanded that Walter Ulbricht’s Communist government in the German Democratic Republic consolidate its control over the country by intensifying the process of Sovietization. In the summer of 1952, land confiscations, tax hikes, and a public pay freeze […]

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Ridiculing the Regime

As communist governments across Eastern Europe floundered in the 1980s, strange creatures began to be seen behind the Iron Curtain. Mischievous little gnomes with cheeky smiles and pointy hats first appeared in the southern Polish city of Wrocław, and then began to pop up on the walls of cities across the country. But despite their comical appearance, these gnomes had a serious purpose – using surrealism as … Continue reading Ridiculing the Regime

The Trauma Art of Thailand’s Forgotten Massacre

A brutal but largely forgotten episode from recent Thai history has united several contemporary artists to produce a ‘trauma art’ to comment on the loss of collective memory. The Thammasat University Massacre on 6 October 1976 was a shocking moment. The violence took place in the midst of an anti-communist crackdown in Bangkok, provoked by fears of a communist takeover following the recent Fall of … Continue reading The Trauma Art of Thailand’s Forgotten Massacre

Erró: Iceland’s Cold War Artist

The artist formerly known as Guðmundur Guðmundsson, who goes by the more pronounceable alias Erró, has been inspired by the Cold War throughout a long and varied career. Erró’s riotous canvases reflect his eclectic personal history, from his birth in 1932 in Iceland, to his travels across Europe and his current residency in Paris, Thailand and on the island of Formentera. Developing his artistic practice in … Continue reading Erró: Iceland’s Cold War Artist

What & Where: Prague’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism

There are few more magical sights than the view from the top of Petřín Hill in Prague, looking down over the rooftops of the Czech capital in the shadow of Petřínská rozhledna, the Czech answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower. But taking the scenic walk down, lost in Bohemian reverie, visitors are suddenly faced with an altogether less picturesque vision. Six bronze figures descend the steps, … Continue reading What & Where: Prague’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism