Dr Klara Kemp-Welch

Reader in 20th Century Modernism

Klara Kemp-Welch works on modern and contemporary art from Eastern Europe. She was educated at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and University College London, where her doctorate (2008) was supervised by Professor Briony Fer. She is the author of Antipolitics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989 (London: IB Tauris, 2014), Networking the Bloc. Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1989 (Cambridge Massachusetts and London, England: MIT Press, 2019) and co-editor of A Reader in East-Central European Modernism 1918-1956 with Beata Hock and Jonathan Owen (London: Courtauld Books Online, 2019). She is now writing a monograph on video art as a lens for understanding migration and mobility in the European Union.

Current PhD Supervision

Alice David, Countercultural Print Tactics: Printing Progress and Anti-Progress in Latin America between the 1970s and 1980s (2019–)

Hannah Healey, Artists for Democracy 1974-1977: International Solidarity in Britain (2022–)

Smaranda Ciubotaru, Threads of Subversion in Romanian Textile Art of the Ceaușescu Era 1965-1989 (2023–)

Rada Georgieva, ‘Parallel Cultures’: Mail Art Magazines and Samizdat Editions from Eastern Europe and Latin America 1970-95 (2023–)

Past PhD Supervision

Katia Denysova, Fragmented Identities: Between Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in Ukrainian Avant-Garde Art (2024)

Anya Smirnova, Net Art East: Postsocialist Artists’ Networks and New Media after 1989 (2024)

Ana-Gabriela Rodriguez, Tracing Puerto Rican Graphic Arts: Bridging Workshops and Crossing Borders, 1940s-1970s (2024)

Wiktor Komorowski, The Reversed Power of the Image: Exhibitions of Graphic Art in Eastern Europe during the Cold War (2023)

Chelsea Pierce, The Gorgona Paradigm: Private Art Practice in Socialist Yugoslavia (2022)

Sofia Gurevich, The Form and Content of the early Soviet Book: A study through the country’s publishing industry institutions of the 1920s and 1930s (2020)

Svitlana Biedarieva, Challenging the Urban Legacies of the Olympics: Mexico City 1968-1994 and Moscow 1980-1991 (2019)

Claudia Zini, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Contemporary Art from a Post-Conflict Society (2019)

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)

Research interests


International relations and the Cold War

Central and Eastern European art and politics

Post-Socialism and moving-image culture

EU mobility and migration

Representations of war in contemporary art



Networking the Bloc. Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1968-1981 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England: MIT Press, 2019)

Antipolitics in Central European Art 1956-1989. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2014; 2016)

Edited Books and Special Issues

Beata Hock, Klara Kemp-Welch, Jonathan Owen (eds), A Reader in East-Central European Modernism (London: Courtauld Books Online, 2019)

Klara Kemp-Welch and Cristina Freire (eds), ‘Artists’ Networks in Eastern Europe and Latin America’, ARTMargins ♯2 (June-October 2012)

Essays and Articles

‘Maria Pinińska-Bereś’s Portable Places’ in Jarosław Suchan (ed.), Maria Pinińska-Bereś (exh. cat. Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, 2024, forthcoming).

‘Just Softly: Gábor Király’s Creaturely Commonality’ in Gábor Király (exh. cat. London: David Kovats Gallery, 2024, forthcoming)

‘Live Information’: Letters to Attalai’ in David Feher (ed), Gábor Attalai (exh. cat. Budapest, 2024, forthcoming).

Katia Denysova, Klara Kemp-Welch et Maria Mileeva, « In the Eye of the Storm », Critique d’art, 60 | 2023, 115-127.

‘Communication at a Distance: Eastern European Art and the “Section des envois” at the 1971 Paris Biennial’ in Elitza Dulguerova (ed.),  La Biennale internationale des jeunes artistes. Paris (1959-1985),  (Paris; editions de l’INHA / Dijon: Les Presses du reel, 2023).

‘Countercultural Misunderstandings: Alternative Art and Cold War Politics’, Art History 45, Issue 5, Special Issue: Red Networks: Postwar Art Exchange (November 2022), 1126-1147.

‘Presence, Radiance, Pulsation: Ilona Keserü’s Restless Objects’ in Ilona Keserü (London: Stephen Friedman Gallery, 2022).

‘Alina Szapocznikow, Lamp-Sculpture, c. 1970′ in Honey Luard and Elaine Tam (eds), White Cube Companion 2 (London: White Cube, 2022).

‘The Art of Heading East on a “Continent Moving West”‘ in Jakub Gakowski (ed.), Die Sonne nie swieci tak jak slonce, exh. cat. (Szczecin: Trafostacja Sztuki, 2022).

‘Painting Blindly: Gili Mocanu and the Circus of Appearance’ in Dan Popescu (ed.), GM (Bucharest: H’art; Editura Velant, 2021).

‘Not Quite at Home: Eastern European Artists at Documentas 1-10’ in Alexia Pooth (ed.), Documenta: Politics and Art, exh. cat. (Berlin: Deutsche Historische Museum, 2021).

‘Night Cleaning at the Bank: Sanja Iveković’s Screen Tests for Invisible Women’ in Peter Osborne (ed.), Thinking Art. Materialisms, Labors, Forms, no. 2 (London: CRMEP, 2020).

‘The Romanians are Coming’. Labour Migration and the Politics of the Observational Documentary’, Third Text vol. 34 (July 2020).

‘Esprit de Corps: Dora Maurer’s Collaborative Activities 1971-1978’ in Juliet Bingham (ed.) Dora Maurer, exh. cat., (London: Tate, 2019).

‘Net: An Open Proposition’, e-flux journal #98 March 2019.

‘Reckoning with History’ in Roxana Marcoci (ed.), 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.

‘Artist Networker / Artist Clerk: Endre Tot’s Zeros and Gladnesses’, Arta. Revista. Arte Visuale. Anul VI, 20-21, 2016, pp. 119-120.

‘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.

‘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.