A solo show by Jiří Kovanda
From January 22th to February 26th, 2011
The public perception of Jiří Kovanda’s work often focuses on his early interventions in the public space, where during the second half of the 1970s, he implemented a series of performances in Prague that examined the socially familiar that hovered on the edge of invisibility, probing the leeway everyday life leaves the individual. For instance, he would stare, as though spellbound, in the eyes of people standing behind him on an escalator, or stand, arms spread wide, on the city’s central Wenceslas Square. In other works, he staged arrangements of perfectly humble materials - piles of leaves or small towers made of sugar cubes placed, seemingly casually, at selected sites in the city.
After focusing on creating collages and assemblages during the1980s and 1990s, he has in recent years increasingly returned to ephemeral and situation-specific actions and installations. In Kissing Through Glass (2007), for instance, visitors at the Tate Modern, London, were invited to interact with the artist in the way indicated by the title. Jiří Kovanda likes to place, with an almost offhand gesture, various objects—though mostly taken from domestic life. During the opening of Fiac with gb agency in 2007, he smuggled candies into visitors’ handbags. In occasion of his exhibition in CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, he cut an antique round table into four parts, which he fitted into the corners of the room (2008). In these presentations, Kovanda applies the poetic-Surrealist principle of transforming objects and situations by means of small alterations that displace them into more open significant contexts.
Recently, Jiří Kovanda developed several exhibitions made only with objects found on site, with no predetermined ideas about the objects before the beginning of their installation and subsequent exhibition. For his new show at gb agency, Jiří Kovanda moves forward with these improvisational strategies: for the opening the artist proposes and empty space, forming or finding works as the evening progresses. Wishing not to announce more details about his coming show, except that it might include some objects, installation pieces or events, the artist titles this exhibition….‘Wait, please, she will come’.
Jiří Kovanda was Born in 1953, he lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic.