Changing public spheres – from Eastern European underground to international platforms


  • Line Ulekleiv Oslo National Academy of the Arts



This essay explores the work of at artists from different generations who have dealt with restrained public spheres, counteracted by their work: Russian Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933), Czech Kateřina Šedá (b. 1977) and the collective digital platform Harabel in Albania. Many artists who worked within the Soviet Union were subjected to extremely deman­­ding conditions. All the same several found ways of collaborating in col­lec­tive strategies, as in the case of Ilya Kabakov, who ‘defected’ in 1989 in New York. In the west the reception of Kabakov´s art has to a large extent been reductionistic in the sense that it was initially culturally biased, tied directly to biography and nationality rather than understood as fundamentally multifaceted. Šedá’s situation is a very different one, working within a social and conceptual conception of art. She has repeatedly engaged a variety of local societies in combining city planning, daily life, politics and the private sphere in her art. In Albania a younger generation of artists has created communication networks across geographic boundaries with a main focus on digital platforms. The question the essay revolves around is the following: How does one conceive of artistic approaches to the collective in the aftermath of totalitarian systems?

Author Biography

Line Ulekleiv, Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Line Ulekleiv is an art historian, critic, writer, and editor. Ulekleiv teaches at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in addition to being an artistic advisor for the Storebrand Art Collection.




How to Cite

Ulekleiv, L. (2021). Changing public spheres – from Eastern European underground to international platforms. Nordic Journal of Art & Research, 10(3).