Artists & Agents: Performance Art and Secret Services

Artists & Agents: Performance Art and Secret Services

Regular price £32.00 Sale

Spector Books, 2023, Softcover, 685 pages, 21.5 × 17 cm

Contributions by Kata Krasznahorkai, Sylvia Sasse, Madalina Brasoveanu, Liliana Gomez-Popescu, Anna Krakus, Elisabeth Pichler, Tomáš Pospiszyl, Lukas Ronduda, Tamás Szonyei, Anikó Szucs

How Soviet Bloc secret police surveilled performance art and happenings—and how artists responded.

Subversion need not belong to a particular culture: it can come from artists who outwit the state or from intelligence agencies that infiltrate the art scene on behalf of the state. But what happens when the two sides meet? After Eastern Europe’s state security archives were opened, it became possible for this interaction to be studied in detail. Artists & Agents shows how the Stasi, the KGB and other state secret police monitored happenings, performance art and action art, and looks at the debates they had about the new art form; how the police documented artistic actions, how they manipulated them and sought to thwart them; how artists dealt with the possibility that they were being observed by the secret police; and how they now work with the material stored in state archives. Artists & Agents includes work by Sanja Ivekovic, Orange Alternative, Peng! Collective, Daniel Knorr, Cornelia Schleime, Ion Grigorescu and others.