How can we define and understand freedom?
The international exhibition of contemporary visual art titled Faces of Freedom is organised by the Nitra Gallery in cooperation with the Divadelná Nitra Association on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain (in former Czechoslovakia known as the Velvet Revolution), whose primary contribution to our society is freedom.
How can we define and understand freedom? How do people of different nationalities and social groups perceive it? What does it mean to us? Do we need to fight for it? And how, by which means? What do we do when it is exploited? Where does the freedom of speech end in a world full of conspiracies, hoaxes and fake news? Today, freedom sometimes seems to resemble a jungle fight for survival rather than idealistic notions of peaceful and prosperous cohabitation, which can lead to nostalgic memories of the totalitarian golden cage in many of the post-socialist countries. What are the dangers of forgetting our past and the resulting relativism of undemocratic regimes?
The artists have been selected from an open call which received 180 submissions from all over the world. The exhibition presents 25 artists and artist groups from 15 countries, mostly of the former Eastern Bloc. Countries that have been under the control of the Soviet Union since the end of World War II until the fall of the Iron Curtain. These countries and its people share similar experiences: the long-ruling authoritarian regime, the euphoric arrival of freedom in 1989 and the subsequent transformation period of the 1990s when many considered freedom superior to any and all laws…
Nitra Gallery’s Representative Halls will showcase paintings, prints, photographs, artistic books, objects, installations and videos. The public space at the Svätopluk Square will host installations and performances during the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra. The artists respond to various related topics: the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Iron Curtain, the lack of freedom in totalitarian regimes, emigration, freedom of speech and the press. They also deal with political, family, personal, religious, sexual, professional and artistic freedom. The gallery and the festival visitors alike are invited to express their opinion and ask themselves the question: What does freedom mean to me?
The closing event will offer the curator’s tour of the exhibition, performances, a performative lecture and a discussion with some of the exhibiting artists about the events of November 1989 from their perspective and their activities during the revolutionary events.
Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council. The Council is the leading partner of the project.