Farewell to a Myth

On Close Relationships between Modernism and Totalitarianism

  • Piotr Juszkiewicz (Autor/in)


Regardless of changing historical situation in particular countries of the Eastern bloc modernism is usually referred to as a distinct artistic choice implying moral and political protest against totalitarian Stalinist power in favor of the cultural and democratic values of the West. Such a myth of modernism as a tool of resistance has shaped the worldview and intellectual perspective of many artists, art historians and critics from Central and Eastern Europe and can be found even in those studies whose authors realize that in some Eastern bloc countries modern art was officially tolerated (in Poland for example) and manipulated by the regime. This paper shows how a specific combination of modernism and many aspects of communist ideology (a kind of Socialist modernism) which impacted culture of Central and Eastern Europe Countries after WW II, confronts this mythical modernism with its own historical and ideological foundations and political history of the region.