Milan Knížák

Milan Knížák’s attitude toward art is of utmost importance, and it can be deduced from the situation of the 50s and 60s, mainly from his Fluxus attack on the Czech milieu, which rid the local scene of the anxious experience of a threatened identity.

At the beginning of the 60s, he created an installation on the street from discarded items, and by spontaneously combining them saw a provocative short circuit and not a deep existential experience. The cockiness of his unusual combination of objects, materials, media, approaches and processes brought everything into motion. This strange catalyst of connection was called Fluxus in the West, but Aktual in Czech, which, according to Knížák meant: a different „life of conflict“. In Knížák’s conception there was at the time a large dose of utopia which related to the pursuit of a happy life within a commune and with his messianic attitude. His body of work encompasses all genre and media in combination: painting, design, music, poetry, architure, as an element of a grand action concept. At the same time, his non-hierarchical community has an important social-critical function. It distances itself from the privileged official rhetoric and does not allow any field to be exempted from the game. Cities under water or on cushions of air, destroyed and scorched clothing, burning furniture and jewelry are meant to answer the new lifestyle. The aesthetic function dominates, having taken over the former role of practical function.



1940, Plzeň / CZ, at that time ČSSR


Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Courtesy the Artist, New York 1968
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  • Courtesy Badischer Kunstverein, 2008