T.R. Project

Daniel Nagy’s exhibition T.R. Project will be opened on Thursday, the 28th of March at 17.00 and will stay open until the 21st of April. The exhibition focuses on the forbidden political jokes of the Eastern Block and Soviet Union.

What is the definition of Capitalism? The exploitation of man by man. What is the definition of Communism? The exact opposite. – Karl Radek

T.R. Project is an abbreviation for Tiny Revolutions Project, which comes from the expression used by George Orwell in a 1945 essay, in which he says that “every joke is a tiny revolution”. It is often linked to jokes from the Soviet era. Any kind of criticism against the system or political leaders was strictly forbidden. This created a huge amount of underground jokes told around the kitchen table, laughing at all aspects of life. Since critical thinking was banned in the public sphere, the jokes’ function was to show the truth behind propaganda and dismantle lies that the party promoted.

The jokes were a social protest that showed the otherwise untouchable leaders as human. Joke tellers were one of the only active oppositions to the one-party rule. Political jokes were common in the Soviet Union, even though telling them was risky. It is even said that Communism was laughed out of existence. The authors of these jokes are often unknown, as they spread orally, making them a kind of neo-folklore. One of the known joke tellers was Karl Radek, a first-line Bolshevik who dared to laugh at Lenin and Stalin.

“These works contain bits of contemporary, cultural, popular and political characters. Historical facts are updated to fit into our present day”, describes the artist.

Daniel Nagy (b. 1981) is a Romanian artist living in Finland who has held exhibitions in Romania, Estonia, Sweden and Finland. He studied at the University of Arts and Design of Cluj-Napoca in Romania and has been apart of The Artists’ Association of Oulu since 2007.