• 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


Milan Adamčiak

At the beginning of Milan Adamčiak’s lone self-search was “ignorance, insolence, and a desire for knowledge.” As a conservatory student in Žilina, Slovakia, he wilfully prolonged his trip to the Warsaw Autumn festival (1964) where he got to know New Music. In the context of a gradually relaxing atmosphere in art, he followed the line of discovering experimental poetry, happenings, and the Fluxus movement – and he listened to a radio report on John Cage’s visit in Prague. To the young tireless seeker, and an author whose focus was polyhistoric and polymusical – one might say intermedial – from the very start, this discovery opened a path from which nothing would lead him astray.

Adamčiak began creating first abstract drawings intended for acoustic decoding and did not care whether this would happen only in the imagination, in the audience’s minds, or in reality. He did not need traditional performers to confirm the performability of his drawings that are a form of visualizing music. After all, they can certainly be performed if at least one person succeeds in performing them. He carried out various acts of “rebellion” or engaged in action-filled commentaries of everyday situations in a real environment. Adamčiak’s later endeavors include events, instructions, collages, visual poems, phonic/sound poetry, conceptual texts, stamp poems, scores, intentiongrams, drawings for acoustic interpretation (graphic scores), acoustic books, and volumes of experimental poetry. With Jozef Revallo, they founded Ensemble Comp. and performed with it for 1. večer Novej hudby (1st Night of New Music, 1969) and Vodná hudba (Water Music, 1970). Working with Robert Cyprich, who was fluent in English and French, and Adamčiak in Russian and German, they started corresponding with artists from around the world, such as Max Bense, Marshall McLuhan, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Dick Higgins, Joseph Beuys and many others. They distributed their works by mail, and by the late 1960s, already became part of a highly active international scene and represented the youngest among Slovak neo-avant-garde artists. They were among the performers at the – considered legendary today – I. Otvorený ateliér (1st Open Studio) in Rudolf Sikora’s house in Tehelná Street in Bratislava.

In 1969, to demonstrate his attitude at a critical time in his nation’s history, Adamčiak joined the hunger-strike on behalf of Jan Palach, which took place in the entrance hall of Comenius University in Bratislava, where 19 students took part. In the course of the 1970s and 1980s, Adamčiak’s name gradually disappeared from exhibition projects, which was partly caused by the political situation in those times, when hardline Communists dominated Czechoslovakia. In the late 1970s, he formed a close relationship with Július Koller who regularly invited him to meetings of non-professional/amateur artists mentored by him; Adamčiak agreed to join three of Koller’s summer symposia, and he exhibited as an amateur graphic artist. This was at a time when academic artists like him were prevented from exhibiting officially – however, their work could be seen at amateur photography exhibitions, which gave rise to a strong generation of Slovak conceptual photography artists that significantly influenced the history of Czechoslovak photography.



1946, Ružomberok / SK, at that time ČSSR – 2017, Banská Belá / SK
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