We’ll be back with a regular 4Columns issue on September 7. In the meanwhile, please enjoy our second summer missive: an archival tour of Eastern European culture.
As she prepares to visit her ancestral Polish home, along with Romania, and other points nearby, managing editor Ania Szremski looks to our archives (and beyond):
In Aruna D’Souza’s review of Geta Brătescu’s joyful exhibition at Hauser & Wirth last year, we find a nonagenarian Romanian artist who practices resistance as a form of energizing play. The artist’s crafty propositions created under Ceausescu’s oppressive regime delight as they disrupt.
Albanian author Ismail Kadare’s novel, A Girl in Exile, on the other hand, is a profoundly melancholy tale of loss during Enver Hoxha’s tyrannical rule. Jean-Christophe Castelli’s review of the book reminds us that in Communist Albania, there were no degrees of separation between love, art, and politics.
Shifting to more recent times, Rachel Haidu took a deep dive last summer into Polish curator Adam Szymczyk’s controversial Documenta 14, a provocatively Eurocentric exhibition that shook the very edifice of the European order.
And finally, we look forward to the US publication this August of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, a masterful exploration of wandering, and winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. (Notably, this is the first time the prize has been awarded to a Polish author.)