Klara Kemp-Welch - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Klara Kemp-Welch

Search for:

Dr Klara Kemp-Welch

Head of MA Programme

Klara Kemp-Welch specialises in intersections between art and politics in the 20th century with a particular focus on modern and contemporary art from former Eastern Europe. She was educated at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and University College London, where her doctorate on East-Central European Conceptualism was supervised by Professor Briony Fer. Before joining The Courtauld in 2009, she lectured at University College London, the University of the Arts London (Camberwell), and the University of York. Her publications include Antipolitics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989 (London: IB Tauris, 2014) and Networking the Bloc. Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1989 (Cambridge Massachusetts and London, England: MIT Press, 2018). She is currently writing a monograph on Art, Labour and Migration in a ‘Two Speed’ Europe.

Teaching 2018-19

  • BA1 Topic Course. Avantgardes and Neoavantgardes
  • BA2 Frameworks
  • BA2 Cold War Cultures: Art in a Divided World 1945-1989
  • MA History of Art: Countercultures. Alternative Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1959-1989

PhD Supervision

  • Svitlana Biedarieva, ‘Challenging the Urban Legacies of the Olympics: Mexico City 1968-1994 and Moscow 1980-1991’.
  • Claudia Zini, ‘Post-War Negotiations: Art from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Global Field’.
  • Sofia Gurevich (Tate CDP), ‘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, ‘The Reversed Power of the Image: Graphic Art Biennials in Eastern Europe during the Cold War’.
  • Gergely von Kovacs, ‘Graphic Magazines and Poster Art in Inter-war Hungary’.
  • Chelsea Pierce, “We are not Gorgona”: Defining the Spirit of the Gorgona Group 1959-1966
  • Ana-Gabriela Rodriguez, Social Realism in Puerto Rican Graphic Arts and the Mexican Taller de Gráfica Popular

Recently completed PhDs

  • Malgorzata Misniakiewicz, ‘(Art) Solidarity – An International Project: Polish Mail Art Exchanges with Eastern Europe’ (2018)
  • Julia Maria Secklehner, ‘“Czechs” vs. “Austrians” National Identity in Caricature 1918-193’ (2018)
  • Marko Ilic, ‘For a ‘Self-Managing’ Art: The ‘New Art’ Seen through Yugoslavia’s Student Cultural Centres’ (2016)
  • Sylwia Serafinowicz, ‘More than Documentation: Photography in the Polish People’s Republic Between 1965 and 1981’ (with Sarah Wilson, 2014)

Research interests

  • Experimental art and archives
  • International relations and the Cold War
  • Central and Eastern European art and politics
  • Latin American art and politics
  • Post-socialism and globalisation



  • Networking the Bloc. Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1968-1981, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: MIT Press, forthcoming Nov. 2018.

    Networking the Bloc

  • Antipolitics in Central European Art 1956-1989. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule, London: IB Tauris, 2014 (paperback 2016).

    KKW book cover Kemp Welch

Edited volumes

  • Beata Hock, Klara Kemp-Welch and Jonathan Owen (eds), A Reader in Central European Modernism 1918-1956, London: Courtauld Books Online, forthcoming December 2018.
  • 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.

    Artmargins 2


  • ‘Reckoning with History’ in Roxana Marcoci, Writings on Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Anthology, New York: MoMA, 2018.
  • ‘Soft-Spoken Encounters: International Exchanges and the Hungarian “Underground’’’ in Edit Sasvari (ed.) Art in Hungary 1956-1980. Doublespeak and Beyond (London: Thames and Hudson; Vince Books, 2018), 273-291.
  • ‘Roundtable’ in Richard Gregor (ed.) BAC Bratislava Conceptualism. Bratislava: Slovenské centrum vizuálnych umení Dom umenia/ Kunsthalle, 2016.
  • ‘Artist Networker / Artist Clerk: Endre Tot’s Zeros and Gladnesses’, Arta. Revista. Arte Visuale. Anul VI, 20-21, 2016, pp. 119-120.
  • ‘Autonomy, Solidarity and the Antipolitics of NET’, in Extending the Dialogue. Essays by Igor Zabel Award Laureates, Grant Recipients and Jury Members 2008-2014 (Ljubljana: Archive Books. Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, 2016).
  • ‘International Relations at the Foksal Gallery’ in Justyna Wesolowska (ed.), Galeria Foksal 1966-2016, Warsaw: Galeria Foksal, 2016.
  • ‘Species of Spaces in Eastern European and Latin American Experimental Art’, MoMA online, December 2015.
  • ‘Jordan McKenzie and the Rhetoric of Power’ in Jordan McKenzie, exh. cat., London: Arts Council of England; York: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2014.
  • ‘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. (republished in shortened form in Revista Arta 14-15, 2016, pp. 52-58).
  • ‘Autonomy, Solidarity and the Antipolitics 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 Lukasz Ronduda and Georg Schollhammer (eds), KwieKulik, Vienna: JPR Ringier, 2013, pp. 515-517.
  • ‘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; transit.at, 2011, pp. 70-80.
  • ‘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.
  • ‘Understanding Jerzy Bereś’s Manifestations’ and ‘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. 23-31; 35-53. (bilingual Polish / English)
  • ‘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

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close