“Difference is ‘mediated’ to the extent that it is subjected to the fourfold root of identity, opposition, analogy and resemblance.” (Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition)

Minimal Differences is a multimedia exhibition and panel discussion reflecting on the effects of globalization in former Eastern European countries, now known as Central Europe. Through the scope of contemporary artists working in video, installation, photography and performance, the exhibition explores shifting identities that relate to the meaning of this centrality, as well as the influence derived from spectacle on everyday culture, politics and economics.

“Central Europe,” the umbrella term favored among formerly “Easter” European countries, is defined by membership, not by geographical position. Although called ‘central’, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, et al, remain in the periphery of continental Europe, having within their borders great differences in regard to language, religion, ethnicity, economics, and politics. These differences become ironically ‘minimal’ in light of the new economic demands that enable their survival in the global economy. Furthermore, a growing culture of spectacle continues to redefine identities according to stereotypes and self-stereotyping, manipulated according to political and economic agendas and schemes.

Minimal Differences explores two sides of an ironic self-definition: one, which has become ‘central’, therefore losing all the privileges of subversion, resistance and rebellion of its previous state of difference and otherness; and another, still a memory itself, a self-stereotype humoring itself as a parallel reality, a phantom-limb, itching and hurting, but no longer real.

The artists include Pawel Althamer (Poland), Azorro (Poland), Vesna Bukovec (Slovenia), Jiri Cernicky (Czech Republic), Oskar Dawicki (Poland), Katarzyna Kozyra (Poland), Zbigniew Libera (Poland), Joanna Malinowska and Christian Tomaszewski (Poland/USA), Anna Molska (Poland), R.E.P. (Revolutionary Experiment Space) (Ukraine), Slaven Tolj (Croatia), Marek Wasilewski (Poland), Julita Wojcik (Poland), Martin Zet (Czech Republic)

The panel discussion will be held at White Box, on September 16, 2010, from 6-8pm.
Panelists include Jaroslaw Suchan: Director of Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland
Marek Bartelik: art critic, Professor at Cooper Union, New York, and President of the International Association of Art Critics, (AICA)
Michal Kolecek: art critic, curator and dean of Faculty of Art and Design, Purkyne University at Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic
Izabela Kopania: Ph.D., art historian and art critic, independent research affiliated to The Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences
Marek Wasilewski: art critic, artist Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland, the Editor-in-Chief of the bimonthly magazine Czas Kultury
Moderator: Denise Caravalho, art critic, curator, and Assistant Professor at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA), Portland

Differences certainly substantiate polarities, validate clashes, and justify revolutions. A world without differences dissolves into neutrality, succumbs into nihilism.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to funds and support from:

The Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York
The New York Foundation for the Arts
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
The Polish Cultural Institute in New York
The Ministry of Culture Czech Republic
The Czech Center New York
Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem, Faculty of Art and Design, Czech Republic
Media Patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio Bialystock, TVP Kultura