This book identifies a number of radical art practices that first appeared in totalitarian Communist states. Eda Cufer traces their genealogy and legacy through detailed psychoanalytic, philosophical, and cultural analyses of works and statements by specific artists/authors. Following a trajectory from Kabakov’s Russia to “Borat’s” America, she argues that these artists constructed their work by excessive imitation or over-identification with the images and languages of the hegemonic systems (institutions, corporations, states, bureaucracies, belief systems) within which they operated. One of the first to use such an aesthetic instrument was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who invented an uncanny theatrical device in order to entrap the murderer (King/spectator). He called this subversive mechanism a mousetrap. Cufer’s story of art begins there, continues with Collective Action and Laibach, and ends with The Yes Men, Andrea Fraser, and Ali G. Eda Cufer was co-founder of the NSK art collective and is a board member of Project Relations, an initiative of the German Federal Foundation. Her recent text, “Enjoy Me, Abuse Me, I am Your Artist: Cultural Politics, Their Monuments, Their Ruins,” was included in East Art Map: Contemporary Art in Eastern Europe, published by Afterall Books/Central St. Martins College of Art & Design. “A Journey from the East to the West” was included in Participation, edited by Claire Bishop and published by Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2006. Cufer is an Adjunct Professor of Art History at the Maine College of Art.
2006 — Book
Art as Mousetrap