Horizontal art history: problems and prospects of Piotr Piotrovsky’s concept
Review on Jakubowska, A., & Radomska, M. (Eds.), 2022, Horizontal art history and beyond: Revising peripheral critical practices. New York and London: Routledge.
In the article, the author examines the approach to writing art history - horizontal history, proposed and practiced by Piotr Piotrovsky since 1998. Horizontal art history is another paradigm for writing the art history of Central and Eastern Europe, according to which the art of this region is not analyzed in a center-periphery hierarchy/vertical. The methods applied by Western theory to the study of the art of this region must also be reexamined. Piotrovsky criticizes the inclusion of the art history of Central and Eastern Europe in the universal (in fact Western) canon. The 2022 book Horizontal «Horizontal art History and Beyond: Revisiting peripheral critical practices» consists of four chapters that address the practice of horizontality (democracy, localization), challenges and internal contradictions of the concept, and alternatives to horizontal history. The author of the review does not focus on the description of the chapters of the book, but analyzes the horizontal history according to the topics raised by the authors of the collection in various essays, without taking the place of the essay in the structure of the book as the main criterion. Borrowing some positions from postcolonial theory, horizontal history approaches the decolonial turn, because according to it, a different paradigm for the production of knowledge about the art of Central-Eastern Europe should be developed. Nationalism and national history are considered as the main obstacles to horizontality. The author grouped the alternatives of horizontal history (material analysis as a method of horizontal art history, laterality and a digital approach to art history) and the possibilities of using horizontal history in other disciplines proposed by the researchers of the book. The application of the horizontal art history approach has the potential to liberate the history of Ukrainian art from the dominance of the center (the West, Russia) and develop a different paradigm for writing the art history of Eastern Europe.
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