Art in the Periphery

The adorable Foteini Vlachou who sadly passed away in summer 2017 organised for many years a seminar called Art in the Periphery.  In March 2017 I was honoured to present about my on-going work on mural paintings in one of the last seminars to take place. 

My presentation was a near complete failure (I lost sense of time, I was over-confident and in the end didn't really grasp from which page I was supposed to read), but the feedback from Foteini was something I could take with me for many years to come. 

Preview of my presentation:

Gregor Taul, "Twentieth-century mural painting from Socialist and Capitalist Peripheries", Lisbon Consortium

The situation of monumental painting was repeatedly discussed at the congresses of the Artists’ Association of Soviet Estonia from the 1950s to 1980s. The central problem of the synthesis of the arts, which in hindsight rather resembles a calming mantra, makes us wonder whether this was just for form’s sake? Was the synthesis of the arts, including the issue of mural painting, merely a mental framework forced on them by higher authorities or was it the artists’ sincere wish to prove and test whether creative work in a socialist country really belonged to the people and could influence society? Was mural painting actually central or peripheral activity? At any rate, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, both the general public and art historians have forgotten these murals. Is it because murals constituted the official art of the occupation regime or due to the international decline of the mural tradition? The presentation aims to question the legacy of post-war mural painting, drawing on examples from soviet Estonia and capitalist Finland.

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