08.10.2020 - 17.04.2021
Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
Special opening day: October 8, 4 pm–9 pm
Jiří Kovanda’s work is typified by several trademark aspects which manifest themselves continuously, from early actions and installations through postmodern drawings and paintings, collages, assemblages and objects of the 1990s to the current interventions, installations and performances: inconspicuousness, efforts at contact, humbleness, simplicity, spontaneity, sensitivity, humour and manipulation with ego.
The austere rendering of low-key, almost indiscernible installations and interventions is already apparent in Kovanda’s early actions in which he examined the most elementary possibilities of nonverbal communication. Back in the 1970s, the philosopher and art theorist Petr Rezek pointed out an interesting fact, saying that Kovanda’s actions signified, above all, a desire for contact. At the same time, they are set not to be fulfilled: they were often conceived so that they forced the artist to work with his natural shyness and to go beyond this mental barrier. The participants were placed in unknown situations outside the framework of art, or situations which through their non-diversion from normal behaviour remained invisible for viewers, and were only made visible by their subsequent documentation by means of photography and presentations in gallery contexts.
Photodocumentation was crucial in the next phase of Kovanda’s work in which his physical presence was gradually replaced by mere records of his activity. With installations intervening in private and public environments without the presence of viewers, photography presented the only possibility of recording the artist’s traces in the form of various objects of daily use and trivial materials installed completely inconspicuously in different places, both outdoors and indoors, also regarding the indiscernibility and ephemerality of these interventions. The artist already articulated his completely natural strategy of creating an unexpected context for an object and leaving a trace of his activity in his early works such as fallen leaves stuck to the ground with a sellotape, wooden wedges inserted between cobblestones and a pile of pine needles and nails in the forest, or interventions in interiors, for example, a flower pot hidden behind a pillar, a string tied around the same pillar two months later and a white string stretched across a room in Kovanda’s home.
Kovanda’s actions frequently involved banal situations, ordinary activities and mundane tasks that we do automatically, yet acted out in a shifted context. Likewise, in his installations and interventions the artist shifts ordinary, routinely used objects to a completely new, unexpected level by removing them from their original situation and taking away their primary utility function. Thanks to his work in the National Gallery depository Jiří Kovanda first started to use in his installations material related to installation practice in the everyday gallery run, for example strings, paper, glass and wooden wedges. He also employs things of daily use and household objects including foods in his current installations and interventions, along with objects typical of a particular place. Through them he makes a space more visible and defines its individual parts, and thus also slightly manipulatively determines how a particular space and its layout is perceived by viewers and sets a new manner of movement in this space. Jiří Kovanda’s installations are not rooted in an idea of a certain place suitable for or adjustable to a particular work; instead, he executes an idea and the preparation of a situation which is to make up the base of a new project, or of the employment of some of his older works, directly on the spot. This is also the case with the central installation Gold Ring which, perhaps most of all the works on display, prompts a reflection of values, in a metaphorical comparison of a string and a ring, an ordinary thing and an exceptional object. Everything has the same value, all depends on context and interpretation.
A virtual tour of Jiří Kovanda's exhibition - Ten minutes earlier can be found here.
 It was a provisional gallery space in Provaznická Street. The basement room of the Odeon publishers where Jan Mlčoch worked from 1978 was originally designed as an archive, and until Mlčoch’s resignation in 1980 was used by three Prague body artists (Karel Miler, Petr Štembera and Jan Mlčoch) as a meeting place. They staged there their own performances as well as those by their close friends, including Jiří Kovanda.
 In this respect, a key role in Kovanda’s art was played by Marcel Duchamp’s exhibition in the Václav Špála Gallery in 1969, prepared by the chief curator Jindřich Chalupecký in collaboration with the Milan art collector, gallery owner and art theorist Arturo Schwarz.
 In 1977 Karel Miler got Kovanda a job in the National Gallery in Prague; he was responsible for a depository housed in the Municipal Library. Kovanda worked there until 1995 when he became an assistant professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, in a studio headed by Vladimír Skrepl.
 Not surprisingly, the artist’s installations tend to be confused with ordinary things accidentally left in a space, and as such must be carefully protected from the over-enthusiastic cleaning staff.
Božetěchova 1, Brno
22/3 – 16/5/2014
Opening: 20/3/2014 at 7pm
Curator: Denisa Kujelová
The Collector's cycle that Fait Gallery prepares in cooperation with other private collectors in the Czech Republic and abroad, offers the possibilityti the public for insight into the private collections that have never yet been made public. In comparison to classic single artisto r group exhibitions, there is of course, a change in the perspective for the viewer and the art works are also able to be perceived in the overal context of collection. For some very large collections there will be, depending in specific situations, selected key works of the collection or there will be selected examples to demonstrate the width of the collector's interest.
The name ONE MOMENT refers to the uniqueness of the moment and at the same time to the frailty of the relatively short period of time when the collections, mainly bought directly from artists' studios and are therefore (except for a very few exceptions) so far unpublished, become published and then again dissapear from the reach of a wider audience.
The story of the first collection belonging to a married couple in Brno and shows virtuous the classical model of collectong on personal level. For the two art loving partners it was crucial to meet a Brno collector who then became their artistic mentor. The profile of this extensive collection, growing for almost four decades is not determined by a period, groups, medium (although it should be appreciated that this is more of classic mediums) or other fixed criteria, although initially there might have been some logical intent.
It's first acquisitions are works of the original members of Group 42, especially Bohumír Matal, František Gross, Jiří Kolář amd Kamil Lhoták, from the seventies, when the collecion of a young couple started. Bohumír Matal, one of the closest family friends of the couple, is especially widely represented in the collection over two decades. Another possible fixed point in the collecton is the representation of numerous members of UB 12, mainly Adriena Šimotová, Alena Kučerová and especially the Janouškovi couple. The large representation of the couple's works of art shows the personal level of relationship they have with the authors and their partners with whom the couple kept and still maintain close frindships that are also incribed by dedications on the reverse of some art pieces.
The collection has been build based on contacts, referrals and visits to studios, especially in the context of Brno, byt visits to Prague studios were no exception as well as acquisitions from abroad. Clearly at it's core are pieces from the seventies and notably the collection continues to the present day, and, although the couple does not have much room, they still follow their passion for collecting and carry on buying art works for their extensive collection.
The selected pieces in this presentation of the couple's collection (anonymous as requested by the owners) were therefore chosen to represent the whole range from initial acquisition to current purchases and to demonstrate the extent of thr mediums ad particular painting, drawing and sculptural approaches collected thus far.