I am currently working on the project Continuity or Rupture? Art and Architecture of Central Europe: 1918-1938 (CRAACE), funded by the ERC, together with Prof. Matthew Rampley and two other researchers. The project focuses on the impact the year 1918 had on artistic life in a selection of states that came out of Austria Hungary (Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria), questioning its habitual association with a moment of rupture and discontinuity. Instead, we look at deeper continuities and link the art and culture of Austria-Hungary with that of the new nation states. My focus is on state sponsorship of art and architecture at international exhibitions and world’s fairs and the ways identity politics was displayed to global audiences at these venues.
Outside of this project, my interests are the visual arts of modern Central Europe in relation to identity formation and the politics of displays. My recent monograph Modernity, History, and Politics in Czech Art (Routledge, forthcoming in 2019) analyses how Czech artists, art critics and art historians formulated the notion of modern Czech art in their theoretical and historical debates between 1895 and 1939. I examine contemporary writing and exhibitions on the background of political, social and cultural changes in Central Europe, specifically, the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation of the new democratic state of Czechoslovakia. I argue that modernism was given a nationalising role in the formation of the modern Czech nation which was deliberately associated with the modernist project. At the same time, Czech authors routinely nationalised modernism by identifying what original and “authentic” Czech art could bring to the modernist project.
I also edited a volume on international exhibitions Cultures of International Exhibitions 1840-1940: Great Exhibitions in the Margins (Routledge, 2015) which explores the network of smaller-scale industrial and trade exhibitions around the world and focuses on their contribution to global exhibitonary cultures.