• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Kateřina Šedá

The principle according to which Kateřina Šedá works consists in selecting a particular field of society and a particular issue in order to initiate a playful situation, her intent being to catalyze communication via an artistic process together with small or large groups of individuals, thereby questioning and possibly altering certain patterns of behavior. The smallest social units with which she has worked have been family members, like her grandmother or her parents; larger ones have included groups like the inhabitants of a village or of a housing development. For her project Je to jedno (It Doesn’t Matter [2005–2007]), the artist persuaded her grandmother Jana Šedá—who, after a lifetime of hard work, had grown completely inactive and would respond to every request or question with a simple “It doesn’t matter”—to mobilize her memories of working for a large metal goods dealer in Brno, listing the objects she had dealt with there. The result was a pictorial shop inventory of sorts that consisted of hundreds of pages of drawing paper upon which Jana Šedá, in her very own unpracticed yet precisely characterizing strokes, had drawn countless tools and kitchen utensils—an artistic legacy of a grandmother to her granddaughter, the artist.

Šedá’s idea is based on the structural research that she conducts in order to establish her objective for each project, in the interest of subsequently having the individuals she is working with enter into a playful process of realization—with the intended effect of ultimately rendering the artist unnecessary. It is with the greatest possible commitment that Šedá sets the stage for and initially guides her participants’ activities, but she subsequently withdraws and lets things take their course. The concept according to which she accomplishes all this rests upon methods that are defined with great clarity, and it also involves exacting organization and (in most cases) highly elaborate, quasi-bureaucratic forms of implementation. For the exhibition space, these methodical steps and the processes and results that they produce are then partially abstracted and made both visible and comprehensible using diagrams, photos, texts and diverse forms of symbolization, objects, drawings, and even videos and publications; these “postproductions” also see the involvement of Šedá’s protagonists to a certain extent. The gallery space then provides the final place of communication planned by the artist as part of her participatory project. For Da ist Nichts (There is Nothing There [2003])—the title refers to villagers’ resigned characterization of their uneventful village—the artist had the villagers in question do all their daily errands like shopping, lawn mowing, cycling, etc. at the same time. This playful and utterly novel strategy led to entirely different forms of exchange, encounter and diversion. Šedá: “When everybody emerged from their houses in the morning, it was as if something indescribable had opened up. All at once, ‘everything’ was visible—and strangely enough, I wasn’t the only one to perceive it. That evening at the beer meeting, people began to share their impressions and experiences with me.”1






1 Kateřina Šedá, Nic Tam Není, There is Nothing There, catalog, Brno-Líšeň, 2005.



Born in Brno, Czech Republic, 1977.

Šedá studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Czech Republic) from 1999 to 2005. She has received several grants and awards, including the “Jindřich Chalupecký Award” (2005), the “Essl Award” (2005) and the “Contemporary Art Society Award” of Great Britain (2010).

Lives and works in Prague and Brno, Czech Republic.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Talk to the sky ‘Cause the Ground ain’t listening’“, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland

2011     “Kateřina Šedá / Die Suppe ist gegessen”, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, Germany 

2010     “MAM Project 13: Kateřina Šedá”, Mori Museum, Tokyo, Japan

2009     “Der Geist von Uhyst”, Über Tage, Uhyst, Germany

2008     “Kateřina Šedá: It doesn't matter”, Renaissance Society, Chicago, USA

2007     “Kateřina Šedá: For every Dog a different Master”, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2006     “Arrivals: Czech Republic - Kateřina Šedá”, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Spotlights – Video“, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria

2011     “Sounds. Radio – Kunst – Neue Musik“, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

2010     “Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” New Museum, New York City, USA

2008     “Cutting Realities Gender Strategies in Art”, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York City, USA

2007     documenta 12, Kassel, Germany

2006     “Grey Zones“, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany

2005     Prague Biennale 2, Prague, Czech Republic

2003     “Dům umění (House of Art)”, Brno House of Art, Brno, Czech Republic

2002     “Ticho prosím, maluji! (Quiet, Please! I’m Painting)”, Galerie u Prstenu, Prague, Czech Republic

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Böttcher, Stefanie, Šedá, Kateřina, eds. 2011. I am trying to steal it back. Text by Aleš Palán. Berlin: Revolver [Exhib. Cat., Künstlerhaus Bremen (Mar. 12-May 8, 2011)]


Peško, Radim, ed. 2010. Over and over. Kateřina Šedá. Zurich: JRP Ringier Kunstverlag.


Peško, Radim, ed. 2008. For every dog a different master. Zurich: JRP Ringier.


Havránek, Vít, ed. 2007. Kateřina Šedá: 1977. Kateřina Šedá. Zurich: JRP Ringier.


Kateřina Šedá. 2007.


Kateřina Šedá: Na co to je? = What's that for? 2007. Zurich: Tranzit.

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