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steirischer herbst publishes catalogue and reader for 55th edition, A War in the Distance

A War in the Distance

The interdisciplinary festival of contemporary art steirischer herbst, based in Graz and Styria, Austria, is pleased to announce the publication of the catalogue of its 55th edition, A War in the Distance, as well as that of the accompanying reader.

The exhibition A War in the Distance, the central project of the 2022 edition of steirischer herbst, took place at Neue Galerie Graz / Universalmuseum Joanneum and invited visitors to engage with historical and contemporary works directly or indirectly about wars past and present. Confronting lesser-known 19th- and 20th-century paintings from Neue Galerie Graz’s collection with works made by artists today, it uncovered hidden stories from the uncomfortable past. Throughout, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine was ever present, like a filter, impossible to erase or forget.

“In one of its key theoretical positions, modernism insists upon the impossibility of historical painting after the early 20th-century aesthetic turn toward the abstract and the self-referential. The reactivation of history in this show was motivated by a strong polemic against this quasi-religious modernist belief (which at times conveniently served the agenda of art’s depoliticization in favor of concrete political interests).” —Ekaterina Degot, introduction to the catalogue

The richly illustrated catalogue A War in the Distance documents this exhibition, its Ukraine-focused prologue, as well the surrounding festival program of performances and further exhibitions.

Short texts by the curators are accompanied, among others, by essays by Alice Crary, Gudrun Danzer, Heimo Halbrainer, Tom Holert, Günther Holler-Schuster, Éva Kovács, Daniel Muzyczuk, and an interview with Manfried Rauchensteiner.

Published in parallel, the reader A War in the Distance: Ukraine and the Return of History confronts Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine as the wake-up call that it is. There is no way to ignore the deep seismic waves it has spread beyond the region and throughout the world; its impact will be epoch-making and global. steirischer herbst ’22 looked at what Russia’s war of aggression might mean in a postfascist, postimperial, neoliberal Europe. Combining essays and shorter literary texts, the festival’s reader delves into the histories it activates, and the futures it might decide.

The reader contains contributions by Keti Chukhrov, Maja Haderlap, Dana Kavelina, Olexii Kuchanskyi, Michael Marder, Boris Nikitin, Martin Pollack, Syargey Prylutsky, Galina Rymbu, Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, Ostap Slyvynsky, and Oxana Timofeeva.

Both publications were designed by the Ljubljana-based collective Grupa Ee (Mina Fina, Damjan Ilić, and Ivian Kan Mujezinović).

Ekaterina Degot, David Riff, and Christoph Platz (eds.). A War in the Distance. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2023. ISBN 978-3-7757-5476-7. 23 x 28 cm. 320 pp. 160 ill. Hardcover. 50 EUR

Ekaterina Degot and David Riff (eds.). A War in the Distance: Ukraine and the Return of History. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2023. ISBN 978-3-7757-5497-2. 11.80 x 21.90 cm. 208 pp. 9 ill. Softcover. 25 EUR

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