Star City: The Future Under Communism

Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
  • Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
  • Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.

How was the future imagined under Communism – and why is that vision so important to us today? These are the questions that Star City, named after the USSR’s secret cosmonaut training base, sets out to explore.

It features the work of leading artists who grew up in the former Eastern Bloc and have emerged as international artists during the last decade – Althamer, Kusmirowski, Macuga, Mir. Star City also includes leading figures of the Eastern and Central European avant-garde from the 60s and 70s – Filko, Kabakov, Koller - together with other leading contemporary Western artists who have worked behind the former Iron Curtain – Jane and Louise Wilson, Otolith Group.

The 60s Space Race was a fierce propaganda battle between communism and capitalism, as much as a technological competition. Space in all its manifestations – technological, political, imaginary - is an important part of Star City.

Pawel Althamer’s record of his “alien’ explorations, together with the golden clad fellow residents of his Soviet-style apartment block in Brodno, Poland, includes an “expedition” to Brasilia, the massive, modernist Post-War capital of Brazil. Look out for lost golden space people around the exhibition.

Downstairs in The Space you can explore the innards of Mother, Earth, Sister, Moon (2009), an enormous homage to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space and the deity of our exhibition, here fallen to earth with what looks like a thud. Futuristic fashion shows will be staged inside her. The spiritual aspect of space exploration, tapping into an older Russian religious mysticism, are further explored in Aleksandra Mir’s collages of religious icons, coupled with Cold War space ships.

The exhibition also contains real objects and propaganda of the period, including USSR Space Race posters, a life-size replica of a Sputnik, space food and a collection of Polish space toys.

Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.
Star City: The Future Under Communism, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo by Andy Keate.

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