• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Jiří Kovanda

Jiří Kovanda first appeared on the art scene along with the second generation of Czech “actionism” in the late 1970s. He has 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 1980s. 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

Kovanda is a self-taught artist. Since 1995 he lectures at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Czech Republic) in the studio of Vladimir Skrepl. Kovanda is one of the avant-garde artists from the second generation of the Czech “Actionism”. In 2007 he was awarded the “Michal Ranný Prize”.


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