Jiří Kovanda “On Air”
[Image: Pictures and abbreviations, 2014 Courtesy of the artist, SVIT(Prague)]
This event has ended.
Czech Centre Tokyo and Aoyama Meguro are pleased to announce that we are simultaneously holding two solo exhibitions of a Prague-based artist Jiri Kovanda (born 1953) for the first time in Japan.
Kovanda is a self-taught artist and started his career in the middle of the 1970s with no private studio.During the period, he carried out self-effacing style of actions in crowd, street, public spaces and etc. in Prague; they were documented through black and white photos and compiled into leaflets along with simple scenario (on what to do and how to do it). Actually, these inconspicuous actions were intended to spread their effect to urban space in an undisturbed manner.
These performances include “Untitled (On an escalator … turning around, I look into the eyes of the person standing behind me …), September 3, 1977,” “Untitled (I’m crying. I gazed at the sun for so long that I have started to cry.), 1977,” and “I take some water from the river in my cupped hands and release it a few metres down the river, May 11, 1976, Strelecky Island, Prague.” Presumably, under the social circumstances at that time, he neither put an emphasis on introducing his activity to many people as “work of art,” nor on making himself popular.
His delicate, unnoticeable activity can smoothly blend with surrounding situations and its powerlessness positively helps to heighten the preciousness of an individual.Kovanda has a stronger sense of purpose rather than the one who expresses social rebellion and the abundant potential of his performance makes it hard to define with language or be understood in the context of conceptual art. His silent but determined actions cannot be suppressed under any political circumstances and contain powerful force as if it were an anthem of anonymous people.
The simple impression of his actions can also be perceived in his paintings, drawings, and sculptures and installations which are carefully situated in space. These artworks quietly indicate that no matter how things are transient, emotions and circumstances of everypeople are valuable, every material is rich, and every time and space is plentiful.
Since the 2000s, Kovanda’s artistic activity was rediscovered by researchers and other interested people.He has participated in important international exhibitions and been widely influential while pursuing his career through active creation.
In the two exhibitions which will be held simultaneously, performances based on the artist’s text instruction sent from Prague are planned to take place at both venues.
*1 Untitled (On an escalator … turning around, I look into the eyes of the person standing behind me …) (3 September 1977)
*2 Untitled, 1977, (I’m crying. I gazed at the sun for so long that I have started to cry.)
*3 I take some water from the river in my cupped hands and release it a few meters down the river. 11 May 1976, Strelecky Island, Prague
from December 19, 2020 to February 14, 2021
Closed on 12/28 to 1/6. Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open 12:00-18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.