This October, collectors Irmina Nazar and Artur Trawinski will launch the European ArtEast Foundation, an organization that will promote and support exhibitions of Eastern European art. The foundation will be registered in London, where its director, Jonathan Tybel, will be based, and it will launch there to coincide with the opening of the Frieze Art Fair.
Much of ArtEast’s efforts will be put toward shows of Eastern European art from the 1950s and ’60s. “The foundation is aiming to promote research for a period that was ignored in Eastern European art history—namely, after the changes following World War II, when all these Eastern European countries turned to communism,” Maria Rus Bojan, a curatorial adviser to the group, told ARTnews. “There were lots of artists who embraced this new ideology, therefore there were many artists during the ’50s and ’60s who were simply doing their job. But, because it was a period that was so contaminated with propaganda, nobody would touch that area.”
With institutions around the world reexamining the history of postwar art, Rus Bojan considers the foundation a way to think about what role Eastern European artists played in that trajectory. “Now it is our turn in Eastern Europe to assess what postwar art is for us,” she said, adding that she hopes the foundation will ultimately be able to create a network of museums in the region.
The European ArtEast Foundation will provide grants to museums putting on exhibitions of Eastern European art around the world, and will also put money toward the production of catalogues and books related to those shows. Loans from Nazar and Trawinski’s collection will also be overseen by the foundation, which has already helped stage one notable project: “Effigies of Life, A Tribute to Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017),” a 120-work retrospective dedicated to the recently deceased Polish sculptor that took place at several venues in Wroclaw, Poland. In addition to its support for postwar Eastern European art, ArtEast also has plans to help fund work by younger artists from the region.