• 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.


Julije Knifer

In the 1960s, aiming at the anti-painting, Julije Knifer created minimal means of expression using the method of reduction and, accordingly, chose a meander as a definitive form of his paintings. He used black-and-white contrasts, relations between the verticals and the horizontals in order to create a monotonous rhythm which for the artist represented the simplest and the most expressive rhythm.

Though very similar, Knifer's meanders were interpreted differently due to the period in which they appeared: first in the context of geometric abstractions and neo-constructivism of the New Tendencies of the 1960s, then their asceticism and interest for the absurd present in the anti-art of the neo-avantgarde group Gorgona (which was active in the 1959-66 period in Zagreb and under the auspices of which Gorgona no. 2, an artist’s magazine was realized) was emphasized. Minimalism and conceptualism changed conditions under which his paintings were supposed to be interpreted in the same manner as subsequent approaches would reveal numerous new connotations. However, his work envisaged and realized consequently could not belong to a single trend because Knifer constantly shifted from those painters who were formally similar to him. Knifer's work is based on an obsessive repetition of a single selected motif, realized via a longer time period, in numerous variations. It reflects the Sisyphean path which he has consciously chosen, an endless patience, and in the wording of the author himself a "non-development". He belongs to the circle of those distinctive artists who have incorporated in their work their attitude towards time and repetition in art: such as Roman Opalka, On Kawara or Hanne Darboven.

In his Notes (1977), Knifer writes the following: "In my case, time plays no role and I do not care when I made specific paintings. The chronology of my works is not important. I might have already painted my last painting and have not even made my first."



1924, Osijek / HR, at that time Jugoslavija – 2004, Paris / FR



Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Courtesy Insitute of Art History, Zagreb, Photo: Branko Balić
Browse All