• 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.


Jiří Kovanda

Jiří Kovanda first appeared on the art scene along with the second generation of Czech “actionism” in the late 1970s. He has recently been discovered in the West through his minimalist actions and “action-interventions,” which might be referred to as protocols of general record. They differ significantly from older Czech Fluxus activities, which had pedagogical and utopian aims, and from those of his contemporaries, whose performances often explored physical and existential frontiers.

Nonetheless, Kovanda was a unique artistic figure in Bohemia, modulating from an approach involving actions and conceptual art to another concerned with new painting and post-conceptual objects in the 80s. His paintings and drawings may be characterized as ironic systems exhibiting a plethora of meanings all bound together without restraints. They involve a language of fuzzy contrasts that engender an infantile microcosmos. The system of his language is always more important than any possible final statement.

Kovanda’s poetic interventions, his minimalization and ephemerization of things and his sullying of the everyday are all strategies for surviving debasement. In truth, they are also political – they stand politically at an aesthetic distance from official institutional art and take a political, anti-metaphysical stance against the morality of unofficial art and any transcendental ambitions it may have.



1953, Praha / CZ, at that time ČSSR



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