• 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.


Željko Jerman

When Željko Jerman began his daily ritual of taking photographs and making notes, his position as an artist was already clearly defined. There was a decade of intense work behind him; he took up photography after years of playing the guitar in a rock band and watching Antonioni’s film Blow Up. His early works follow the classic conventions of photography: they are properly composed, concentrated on the figure or the face and technically well executed. But Jerman, as a committed member of the rebel generation resented social models and consciously chose to be an outlaw. And while most of the other rebels soon gave in to the establishment in search of career opportunities, Jerman’s artistic and existential outlawry has lasted to the present day. It is therefore natural that after proving to himself that he was capable of taking and producing ‘nice’ photographs, a phase of defiance and the need for a different aesthetic model ensued. Each individual mark and gesture is the result of a determined and conscious decision. For Jerman existential reality is artistic reality, there is no distance, no mediator. Although the spontaneous and unconscious element sometimes prevails in his work, the result is subsequently evaluated, considered and publicly displayed. In the alternating ritual of creativity and destructivity, the rational and the irrational, Jerman uses the alchemy of photography to maximum effect.   

            Starting off from this aesthetic position Jerman found people of similar ideas and artistic practice in the group of friends/artists who did not put their collaborative work above their individual activities. Six artists (Jerman, Boris Demur, Vlado Martek, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović and Fedor Vučemilović) were united in creative action. The idea, stemming from their dissatisfaction with the cultural situation they encountered, was realized in the form of independently organized exhibitions-actions. These exhibitions-actions liquidated the mediating role of the cultural infrastructure (a poorly developed, politically controlled, unquestioning, boring cultural infrastructure; a culture of tacit silence, misinterpretations, and a strict extra-artistic hierarchical value system, etc.) in favor of direct presentations, communication and information.


Excerpt taken from: Darko Šimičić. “Having been there.” in: Željko Jerman. Moja Godina 1977 / My Year 1977. Darko Šimičić (ed.), Zagreb: Meandar, 1997. p. 397.


1949, Zagreb / HR, at that time Jugoslavija – 2006, Korčula / HR


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