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Nicoletta Rousseva successfully defends her dissertation “Bad Comrades: Art and Answerability after Socialism”


Congratulations Nicoletta!

Here is a short description of her project:
Bad Comrades: Art and Answerability after Socialism
This dissertation examines visual continuities and critical affinities between contemporary art and histories of socialism in southeastern Europe. Across three chapters, I study how artists Igor Grubić (b. 1969 in Zagreb, Croatia), Anri Sala (b. 1974 in Tirana, Albania), and the artist collective IRWIN (founded in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1983) return to socialism’s art forms, lived experiences, and institutional models searching for answers and insights that probe as much into the system’s future viability as they do its past failings. Combining close analysis of artwork with research into the political transformations, aesthetic motivations, and philosophical problems that have shaped visual art in Albania, Croatia, and Slovenia since 1990, I identify within this tendency to repeat and return to socialism’s memories and motifs neither longing nor nostalgia. For each artist, repetition and return instead open the door to new possibilities that stave off capitalism’s amnesiac proclivities, test Old Left convictions, and cultivate political alternatives shaped by the lessons of history and the experiences of past generations.