Artists & Agents - Performance Art and Secret Services

HMKV Ausstellungsmagazin 2019/2

Image gallery

- From the series HMKV   Dortmund

- Performance art from the 1960s to the 1990s in Eastern Europe and beyond

“Artists & Agents” puts the spotlight on a neglected aspect of performance art from the 1960s to the 1990s: the interaction between secret services and performance art – an art form which the secret service agencies of communist Eastern European countries considered especially dangerous. Eastern Europe is one of the few places where archival records have been made public, and they reveal how these agencies acted to “undermine” and “eliminate” dissident artists. To achieve this objective, however, the agents themselves sometimes had to become “performance artists.”

Building on in-depth research into the archival records of secret services in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Germany, this publication shines a light on the files which the secret services of these countries kept about such artists. It showcases instances of artistic subversion and agent infiltration, some of which have not been disclosed before, while more recent works demonstrate that the issue of ramping up intelligence gathering operations in politics and everyday life is highly topical. This catalogue includes a comprehensive introduction, an extensive glossary explaining secret service terminology, entries on the relevant works of art, and background information on all of the files presented.

Featured artists: Alexandru Antik (RO), Tina Bara & Alba D'Urbano (DE), Kurt Buchwald (DE), György Galántai / Artpool (HU), Ion Grigorescu (RO), Sanja Iveković (HR), Voluspa Jarpa (CL), Jens Klein (DE), Daniel Knorr (RO/DE), Csilla Könczei (RO), Korpys/Löffler (DE), Jiří Kovanda (CZ), Károly Elekes / Árpád Nagy / Gruppe MAMÜ (RO), Simon Menner (DE), Arwed Messmer (DE), Clara Mosch (DE), Orange Alternative (PL), Peng! Collective (DE), Józef Robakowski (PL), Cornelia Schleime (DE), Nedko Solakov (BG), Gabriele Stötzer (DE), Tamás St.Turba (NETRAF-agent) / Gábor Altorjay (HU)

Files: Politische Polizei, Switzerland; Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), GDR; Służba Bezpieczeństwa (SB), People’s Republic of Poland; Štátní bezpečnost (ŠB), ČSSR; Komitet gosudarstvennoj bezopasnosti (KGB), USSR; Belügyminisztérium (BM), People’s Republic of Hungary; Securitate, People’s Republic of Romania; Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), Chile; Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), Netherlands; Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany

18,00 €
incl. VAT plus shipping costs

Edited by

Inke Arns, Kata Krasznahorkai, Sylvia Sasse, HMKV (Hartware MedienKunstVerein)


German, English






17 × 24 cm



Published in

July 2020