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  • Probe 1 – The Story of Slovak (Post)Conceptual art
    12 Dec 2018 − 24 March 2019

    Prague City Gallery / Stone Bell House Curated by: Vlado Beskid and Jakub Král Loans by Kontakt: Ján Mančuška, Julius Koller, Stano Filko, Roman Ondak The exhibition will introduce Czech public into one of the crucial tendencies found in modern and contemporary Slovak art. It will focus on the origination and development of Conceptual and post-Conceptual Art within the horizon of the past fifty years in Slovakia, i.e. from the alternative, unofficial scene of the 1960s to the post-1989 legal artistic platform. The oeuvres of two generations of artists, such as Viktor Frešo, Jozef Jankovič, Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkáčová, Martin Kochan, Július Koller, Marek Kvetan, Ján Mančuška, Roman Ondák, Boris Ondreička, Monogramista T.D, Rudolf Sikora, Pavla Sceranková, Peter Rónai and Jaro Varga, will serve to present particular forms of Conceptual artistic morphology, as it was shaped by the new aesthetic criteria with their codes, in the context of time. The exhibition, held as a specific contribution to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the existence of Czechoslovakia, will go hand in hand with interventions by several Czech artists (Jan Brož, Alice Nikitinová, Vít Soukup, Pavel Sterec, Antonín Střížek, Michaela Thelenová) who will loosely contextualize selected historical, social, economic and world-view facets of our history. Their main subject of interest is the transformations of the internal social paradigm, presented the loss of the utopian outreach of our thinking in connection with the declining big ideologies. http://en.ghmp.cz/exhibitions/probe-1-the-story-of-slovak-post-conceptual-art/

Artists

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Július Koller

From around 1960, in response to the modernist mainstream in Slovak art, Július Koller began to develop his aesthetic position of the “anti-happening.” Like the postwar avant-gardes with their critique of Modernism, Koller wanted to oppose the cynical, technophile fantasies of omnipotence harbored by the Socialist state apparatus by giving a direct experience of the reality of the artwork back to the individual. Taking this idea as his point of departure, he continues to this day to work on an oeuvre whose compelling and peculiar nature make it one of the most incomparable and rigorous in contemporary European art.

His strategy consists in using real objects and everyday life as the predefined program for an aesthetic operation: from 1965, in texts rubberstamped on paper that refer to the context of the “anti-happening,” and then in 1967/1968 in pictures for which Koller used white latex paint instead of oils and which saw the first appearance of the question mark – the symbol of Koller’s brands of naming, or “making known,” that was later to undergo many mutations in various media and states of aggregation. From 1968/1969, these “anti-pictures” also took the form of one particular variation: as Textextily, text images on textiles.

The “invitation cards for an idea”–as Koller called the text works relating to the “anti-happenings”–and the palimpsests and serial arrangements of the “anti-pictures” set themselves apart from the academicism of Modernism in more than just formal terms. Koller forgoes every form of technical mastery. The “anti-pictures” are amateurish in style, ensuring that they fulfill their task, defined by Koller as “engaging rather than arranging.”

In 1970, two years after the dreams of a possible third way for Socialism in Czechoslovakia had been crushed by the tanks of the Warsaw Pact, Koller introduced a new conceptual field into his work denoted by three letters: “U.F.O. - Universal Cultural Futurological Operations.” Over more than 30 years, Koller then created the complex of the same name that is his chef-d’oeuvre.

 

G.S.

1939, Piešťany / SK, at that time ČSSR – 2007, Bratislava / SK

 

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
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  • Photo: Milan Sirkovský
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