The paper analyses one of the most stunning controversies in the 1970s: the solidarity with Angela Davis in Eastern Europe; solidarity used as state propaganda on the one side and as subversive artistic action against the state on the other. Both intended to criticize current power relations.
Two moves of appropriation of the figure of Angela Davis are in focus: Erich Honecker who staged himself as part of a huge mass-propaganda with Angela Davis, and Tamás St. Auby who showed solidarity with Davis in a happening in Hungary criticizing exactly those socialist power relations that Honecker celebrated.
The State Security measures taken against St. Auby imply, that from the perspective of the state, the appropriation of Angela Davis by non-state artists posed a major threat to the order of the socialist society—showing that state suppression is never black or white, also not in dictatorships.
The paper also responds to the method of researching in State Security Archives. It shows how these documents can reconstruct operative practices of disruption and disinformation related to artists. All the more those who had the same figure of reference as the official state propaganda–Angela Davis.
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Aktionskunst jenseits des Eisernen VorhangsKünstlerische Kritik in Zeiten politischer Repression