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 Street 1 (entrance from Metodějova Strret), Brno
21/9 – 1/12/2012
Opening: 20/9/2012 at 7 pm
Curator: Petr Vaňous
Lubomír Typlt proves that an image is a synthetic medium that can hardly ever by completely used up. Functional principle of a continuous renewal of this means of expression is put into communicating vessels of authorship and an era. An era requires images and evaluates them in terms of chronology. Authorship frees the works of art of a time line and breaks the space-time in a completely different way which can be described as cyclical or ritual. Therefore Lubomír Typlt can return back to figurative painting and recycle seemingly used up figuration without repeating himself in his paintings. He updates the figure but his act makes present, in a certain generalization, current feeling.
In the set of figurative paintings, Typlt works with an extreme dynamic nature of means of expression. Expressive abbreviation is gradated by diffusive emotional colorfulness. The author thematizes, it seems, primarily the laws of painting as such. Because what else is painting than an expressive grouping of colors. In exhibited works there are adolescent characters everywhere but they are mainly carriers of colorful spots rather than thematic references. The color models, gives the characters life, makes them visible. The color tells stories. It itself is a narrative medium which becomes independent and frees the figure of its role of literary server. Painting is an energy metaphorically translated into color sharpness and vibrancy of young bodies. Groups of people running against the horizon still acquire critical drive in the paintings. Waste of energies. Effort to stay in the running group. Absurd and meaningless changes of direction. Constant monitoring of terrain. Repetitive motion without beginning and without end. Running without rest. Also the age of figures conveys experience with socialization, integration into society. It is here where the first collectives full of cruelty and injustice arise. It is here where the characters are sown and modeled. In a game that is no longer childish, but not yet associated with full responsibility. Typlt generalizes the dividing-line between curiosity, uncouscious and awakening which can even have destructive character
The name of the exhibition, Dalekou neutečou / They won’t escape far mocks the simple defensive reaction of a child, who, by measuring the distance, measures the quality of security. We won’t be able to escape the image and painting, if they rise from their present. The sight of them is only for the strong ones. To stare into the face of futility is the first and necessary step to understanding our own inevitable mortality. There’s no other way.