• 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.


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