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Jiří Kovanda: In front of the Museum at Four ?

Solo exhibition by Jiří Kovanda
gb agency
From November 8, 2012 to January 12, 2013


“Today, people show a lot of interest to the political aspect of my works from the 70s. At that time that aspect was indeed a fact but what mattered more was a personal and psychological dimension. Today the political issues have taken over and so the priorities have been reversed. When I was doing these works, my main concern was that they might be understandable by everyone. That was my goal : the accessibility and the readability of my work. I do believe that what influences human beings and their construction are profound and intimate things, rather than the social and political context.”
Jiří Kovanda

Extract from an interview with Guillaume Désanges (2007)

Jiří Kovanda
Partial view of exhibition In front of the Museum at Four ?
gb agency, Paris, 2012

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Partial view of exhibition In front of the Museum at Four ?
gb agency, Paris, 2012

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Partial view of exhibition In front of the Museum at Four ?
gb agency, Paris, 2012

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Between Sun and Moon, 1980

Installation
Anything round & flat, divided to two halves and two halves of walnut shell
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Slug, 1989

Installation
A short bread with two colored needles
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
White Birds, White Frogs, 1989

Installation
An audio tape in a heap of salt
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Sugar House, 1989

Installation
A house made of sugar cubes
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Back to the Tradition, 1989-2012

Installation
26 bricks as a column
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Please, Let the Rubbish on Place, They Make Small Paper Ships and It’s all, 2012

Installation
A piece of foam, two tiny colored paper ships
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Belvedere, 2009

Installation
Pedestal with a hole, lamp inside
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Material for a Belvedere I, 1980

Installation
Two bundles of wooden sticks on the floor
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Window, 1980

Installation
Glass pannel fixed exceeding on a wall
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
On the Other Side of the World, 1980

Installation
Anything round & flat, divided to two halves and two halves of walnut shell
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Petra said : I Found an Hazelnut in Pine Forest, 2012

Installation
A shoebox filled with pine neddles, a chestnut
Unique piece
Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Material for a Belvedere II, 1980-2012

Installation
Two bundles of wooden sticks on a bench
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Drawing I, 1980

Installation
An A4 blank sheet of paper, 5 pins, string
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Drawing II, 1980-2012

Installation
An A4 blank sheet of paper, 5 pins, string, plinth
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

Jiří Kovanda
Glass Heart, 1989

Installation
An empty glass with a tiny red ball
Unique piece

Photo : Marc Domage

GD : Jiří, do you consider humor as a material ?

JK : Yes, this is very important. Humor and irony are essential. And the fact that I am using means of expression that are not officially recognized as art contributes to this dimension.

GD : I think your work is operating more precisely as a series of anomalies : slight changes to the ordinary flow of things but without being extraordinary or provocative for all that. Shifts that are almost invisible, but nevertheless undoubtedly deliberate and absolutely not accidental.

JK : Exactly. And the more this anomaly gets closer to the invisible, the not perceptible, the better it is. These modifications are not very strong nor agressive.

GD : One of the most important things for me and the reason why I love your work, is its particular economy. That is, how to get a maximum of sensitive or conceptual effects with the minimum means. You make all your performances and all your works without any tools or props, using only very simple gestures, more or less instinctive. To not use any new object, to use what is already there, recycle things or gestures : could we in fact talk about an “ecology” of work rather than an economy of work ?

JK : Yes, absolutely, and this is for me one of the most important things. The use of the most common and accessible things. This is what excited me the most when I discovered conceptual art : the fact that we don’t need any material or specific skills to create something. From the beginning, the starting condition was : I will use nothing but my own body. The question of recycling is what makes the link between all the things that I’ve done : to always use already existing things but transforming them. It was already the case in my early works, paintings I was making using drawings taken out from art magazines or science books, for example. It was already the reuse of a quote or of someone else’s way of doing.

GD : Your work often sets limits between art and life in terms of visibility, economy, audience, etc. What makes it art and not an attitude ?

JK : When I was doing these actions in the 70s, even if there was almost no audience, even if they were almost invisible, there was no doubt for me that it was art, that I wanted to do art. It’s this intimate belief, very profound and very assertive which makes it art. I believe this is enough.