Columbia College Chicago

Unfree Freedom


An Exploration of Identity in Central Europe
Fall Spotlight Exhibition

Curated by Janeil Engelstad
October 28 – December 10, 2011

Opening reception: saturday, october 29, 3–5pm

One of the defining events of the twentieth century was the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. For many Central and Eastern European artists the political and social changes that followed the break-up of the Soviet- bloc, fundamentally changed the subject and style of their work. This Spotlight Exhibition examines how blacklisted artists responded to the restraints imposed on them under communist regimes and how their worked changed when those systems fell apart. Featured artists include former dissidents who took the view that being blacklisted was a refuge away from the government mandate of making work in the Socialist Realism style . . . a place and state of being that Slovak artist Rudolf Sikora termed, an “unfree freedom.” The exhibition also includes work by young, emerging artists who are responding to a new set of freedoms and constraints, brought about by democracy, capitalism and globalization. 


UNFREE FREEDOM is being produced in conjunction with Voices From the Center: Central Europeans Reflect on Life Before and After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, a project and exhibition produced by Janeil Englestad at threewalls from October 28 – December 10.

Research for Unfree Freedom has been partially funded from a generous contribution from the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

The Spotlight Series is dedicated to the co-location of exhibitions of artists’ books, ephemera, handmade paper and other media in partnership with exhibitions and events happening at cultural spaces throughout Chicago.

(Image credit) Rudolf Sikora, Exclamation Mark, 1974, photo collage, paper, 19" x 27"


Gallery Hours

Tues-Sat, 12-5pm
Thur 12-7pm



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