Klara Kemp-Welch

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Klara Kemp-Welch

Lecturer in 20th-century Modernism
Klara Kemp-Welch photo

Klara Kemp-Welch was educated at University College London and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (BA French and Art History, 1999; MA Russian and East European Literature and Culture, 2001; PhD History of Art, 2008). Her doctorate on East-Central European Conceptualism was supervised by Professor Briony Fer. Before joining The Courtauld as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in 2009, she lectured at University College London, the University of the Arts London (Camberwell), and the University of York. While working on her current research project, Networking the Bloc. International Relations and Experimental Art in Eastern Europe, she has benefited from an AHRC Early Career Fellowship and an Igor Zabel Working Grant.


  • MA History of Art: Central European Art and Culture 1918-1956: A Minor Modernism?

PhD students


  • Malgorzata Misniakiewicz (AHRC), ‘(Art) Solidarity – An International Project: Polish Mail Art Exchanges with Eastern Europe’
  • Svitlana Biedarieva, ‘Challenging the Urban Legacies of the Olympics: Mexico City 1968-1994 and Moscow 1980-1991’.
  • Julia Maria Secklehner (CHASE), ‘“Czechs” vs. “Austrians” National Identity in Caricature 1918-193’.
  • Claudia Zini (CHASE), ‘Post-War Negotiations: Art from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Global Field’.
  • Sofia Gurevich (Tate CDP / David King Collection), ‘The Form and Content of the early Soviet Book: A study through the country’s publishing industry institutions of the 1920s and 1930s’.
  • Wiktor Komorowski (CHASE), ‘The Reversed Power of the Image: Graphic Art Biennials in Eastern Europe during the Cold War’.

Recently completed

  • Marko Ilic (AHRC), ‘For a ‘Self-Managing’ Art: The ‘New Art’ Seen through Yugoslavia’s Student Cultural Centres’
  • Sylwia Serafinowicz, ‘More than Documentation: Photography in the Polish People’s Republic Between 1965 and 1981’

Research interests

  • Artists’ networks
  • Experimental art and archives
  • International relations and the Cold War
  • East European art and politics
  • Latin American art and politics
  • Post-socialism and globalization

Recent publications


  • KKW book cover Kemp WelchAntipolitics in Central European Art 1956-1989. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule (London: IB Tauris, 2014). Paperback forthcoming 2016.

Edited Special Issue

  • Klara Kemp-Welch and Cristina Freire (eds), Artists’ Networks in Eastern Europe and Latin America ARTMargins♯2 Special Section, Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press June-October 2012.

Book Chapters

  • ‘International Relations at the Foksal Gallery’, in Galeria Foksal 1966-2016, Warsaw: Galeria Foskal, 2016 (forthcoming)
  • ‘Impossible Interviews with Ceausescu: Ion Grigorescu and the Dialogic Imagination’, in Alina Serban (ed.), Ion Grigorescu. The Man with a Single Camera, Berlin and New York: Sternberg Press, 2013, pp. 158-184.
  • ‘Autonomy, Solidarity and the Politics of NET’, in Bozena Czubak (ed.), NET. The Art of Dialogue / NET. Sztuka Dialogu, Warsaw: Fundacja Profil, 2013, pp. 34-56.
  • ‘Art Documentation and Bureaucratic Life: The ‘Case’ of the Studio of Documentation, Activities and Propagation’ in KwieKulik, Lukasz Ronduda and Georg Schollhammer (eds), Vienna: JPR Ringier, March 2013, pp. 515-517.
  • ‘Emancipation and Daydreams: Kantor’s Happenings’ in Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius (ed.) An Impossible Journey: The Art and Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor, London: Black Dog Publishers, 2011, pp. 140-147.
  • ‘Articulating the Between: Henryk Stażewski’s Critical Spaces’, in Gabriela Switek (ed.), Avant-garde in the Bloc, Warsaw: Fundacja Galerii Foksal; Vienna, JPR Ringier, 2010, pp. 294-317.
  • ‘Jiří Kovanda’s Collisions’, in Margaret Iversen, (ed.), Chance. Documents of Contemporary Art Series, London: Whitechapel Gallery; Cambridge Mass. and London: MIT Press, 2010, 147-149.
  • ‘Attacking Objectification: Jerzy Bereś in Dialogue with Marcel Duchamp’ in Mel Jordon and Malcolm Miles (eds), Art Theory and Post-Socialism, Bristol UK and Portland USA: Intellect Books, 2008, pp. 21-31.

Catalogue Essays

  • Species of Spaces in Eastern European and Latin American Experimental Art’, Transmissions, MoMA, 2015.
  • ‘Jordan McKenzie and the Rhetoric of Power’ in Jordan McKenzie, exh. cat., London: Arts Council of England; York: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2014.
  • ‘KwieKulik’s Monument without a Passport (1978)’ in Critique and Crisis. European Cultural Discourses since 1945. XXX Council of Europe Exhibition, electronic catalogue, Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum, 2012.
  • ‘Who’s Afraid of Neo-Socialist-Realism?’, in Stefan Constantinescu. An Infinite Blue, exh. cat., London: GALERIE8, 2011, pp. 43-56.
  • ‘S.O.S. Socialist Occupation of the Subject’, in Lukasz Ronduda, Alex Farquharson, and Barbara Piwowarska (eds), Star City. The Future under Communism, Warsaw: MAMMAL Foundation; Nottingham Contemporary;, 2011, pp. 70-80.
  • ‘Understanding Jerzy Bereś’s Manifestations’ in Jerzy Bereś: Sztuka zgina życie / Art Bends Life, exh. cat., Kraków: Bunkier Sztuki, 2007, pp. 23-31. (bilingual Polish / English)
  • ‘Jerzy Bereś’s Radical Expansion of the Readymade Event’, in Jerzy Bereś: Sztuka zgina życie / Art Bends Life, exh. cat., Kraków: Bunkier Sztuki, 2007, pp. 35-53. (bilingual Polish / English)

Journal Articles

  • ‘Impossible Interviews with Ceausescu: Ion Grigorescu and the Dialogic Imagination’ (Romanian and English). shortened version of 201s Sternberg Press essay), Revista Arta 14-15, 2016, Performance in Eastern Europe, pp. 52-58.
  • ‘Affirmation and Irony in Endre Tót’s Actions of the 1970s’, in Art History & Criticism 3, Art and Politics: Case-Studies from Eastern Europe, ed. Liniara Dovydaityte, Kaunas: Vytautas Magnus University, 2007, 136-144.
  • ‘Excursions in Communist Reality: Tadeusz Kantor’s Impossible Happenings’, Object: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture, no. 8, London: University College London, 2005/2006, pp. 45-65.

Review Articles

  • ‘Czech Action Art: Happenings, Actions, Events, Land Art, Body Art and Performance Art Behind the Iron Curtain’, Umění/Art no. 5 LXIII, 2015, pp. 417-420.
  • ‘Resurrections (Kabakov’s Slippers): Moscow Conceptualism for Delayed Audiences’, Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 35, Issue 2, June 2012, pp. 298-301.
  • Transitland. Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe’, Artmargins, May 2011.
  • ‘Polish Conceptualism: Expanded, Politicised, Contested’, Artmargins, February 2010.
  •  ‘Taking Women’s Rights Seriously? Sanja Ivekovic. Urgent Matters. BAK, Utrecht / VanAbbe Museum, Eindhoven’, Third Text, Vol. 23, Issue 6,  November 2009.
  • Aernout Mik. Shifting, Shifting, Camden Arts Centre, London’, Object: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture, no. 10, London: University College London, 2008.

Recent/major grants

  • Leverhulme Easly Career Fellowship 2009-12
  • Igor Zabel Association Working Grant 2012
  • AHRC Early Career Fellowship 2012-13

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