• 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.


Zbigniew Libera

Zbigniew Libera’s early work simultaneously investigated the distinction of existence and the distinction of art. Both of these were defined by cultural, religious, and aesthetical determinisms or the lack thereof. The artist’s radical “heresy” of the 1980s was quite a unique marriage of the spiritual and the critical. It oscillated between Kultura Zrzuty [Chip-In Culture], “embarrassing art,” gnosis and punk. Kultura Zrzuty was a Łódź-based artistic and anarchistic formation active mostly between 1981–1987; it was tied to the group Łódź Kaliska and maintained a close relationship with the Workshop of the Film Form. Chip-In Culture utilized the famous gallery-venue Strych in Łódź, where Libera began his artistic career with his first solo show in 1982. That same year, he was imprisoned for his involvement in Solidarity and the illegal printing of flyers during martial law. Following a year of imprisonment, he went to Zakopane to convalesce from an illness, and there he discovered the existence of the video recorder and the VHS format. Around that time, he also “inherited” American NTSC equipment due to the death of a relative in USA: he asked his family to buy him equipment rather than send money, and thus became one of the first Polish artists to use a video camera. Libera began experimenting with this new tool, testing the medium’s formal possibilities with reference to the Workshop of the Film Form (since he was familiar with work of Paweł Kwiek and Józef Robakowski). He combined this initial experimentation with his investigations on human beings’ existence, failure, annihilation of the subject, “Sein-zum-Tode” [“being-to-death”], and his own transitional experiences. Libera’s first videos ended up being his most famous: Intimate Rites (1984) and Mystical perseveration (1984) with his grandmother Regina, as well as How to train little girls (1987), which resulted from one of his family’s meetings. The “cemetery series” of short films (Me Aluś…, Spark II and Kakos Daimon / Bad God), shot in cemeteries in his hometown of Pabianice between 1988 and 1990, was the direct continuation of his existential and eschatological-gnostic interests; the filming work for these included shoots at a Catholic cemetery where members of his own family were buried. In the 1980s, Libera collaborated closely with Jerzy Truszkowski (including on their newly founded punk band “Sternenhoch”) and began a life-long artistic collaboration and friendship with Zofia Kulik and Przemysław Kwiek, at whose house in Dąbrowa he lived from 1988 to 1990. At that time, Libera acted as a model for Kulik’s famous photographic collages, which possibly framed his search for subjectivity during the 1980s-decade that concluded with his year-long trip to Africa.


1959, Pabianice / PL



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