• 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


Ján Mančuška

Ján Mančuška’s works show that potentiality is made real in concreteness. He works with stories that have really happened. They evolve narratively and poetically along the coordinates of individual lives. Only concrete events have their possibilities represented along the coordinates of an individual life. Human perception and memory are selective, and what is characteristic of such impressions and memories is the very fact that people often notice things that are beside, behind, or before the “events” that are actually at issue—those that someone is inquiring about, or are under discussion.

It would seem that it is film which is able to present lived possibilities most naturally, due to the attractiveness of visual narration and the telling of a story, even though it is a temporal—and thus linear—medium. It is interesting that Mančuška’s works, which might be described formally as installations of texts in concrete three-dimensional spaces, often touch upon film—not only with regard to method, but immediately, in their narrative content. “To the Cinema” and “First Minute of the Rest of a Movie” take place in a screening room. The question is to what extent his textual installations might be perceived as or might even serve as specific film scripts.

What goes on, how we make our living and how we ourselves live are presented in Mančuška’s works in terms of possibilities. Numerous film and literary narratives are fascinated by the moment of possibility—what might happen if at some point I reacted otherwise than in the past, and ostensibly, life might have taken a different course. Mathematics and physics would have the moment of potentiality cast into a fractal chaos; the theory of the butterfly effect illustrates how the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in Japan can cause coastal storms in the Caribbean. In the case at hand, we are not interested in the parameters of potentiality, because they are impersonal. “Only if I am not constantly and exclusively in action, but am rather left to some sort of possibility and potentiality; only as long as my experiences and intentions are, each and every time, a matter of living itself and understanding—and thus involve, in this sense, thinking—only then can the form of life become a life-form in its own fractalness and eternity, in which it is never possible to isolate anything like bare life,” says Agamben in “Life-form”. In this text, Agamben formulates life—life-form in his words—as a project in which every individual act, action and decision are perceived as potentiality—something noncommittal. Of course there are innumerable rules, deep-rooted codes, traditions and genetic predeterminations at play here, but Agamben’s view is liberating precisely in that it makes it possible to see them as possibilities—noncommittally.


1972, Bratislava / SK, at that time ČSSR – 2011, Praha / CZ

Ján Mančuška studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Czech Republic) from 1991 to 1998. He has received the “Jindrich Chalupecky Prize” in 2004.


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