Former Uncertain Indicated
National Gallery Prague, Adam Budak
Giardini – Czech and Slovak pavilion
Former Uncertain Indicated
Since the early 1960s, Stanislav Kolíbal has a highly individual creative style, combining minimalism and conceptual art. His two- and threedimensional works blur the borderlines between painting, drawing, sculpture and architecture. The title of the exhibition, Former Uncertain Indicated, is derived from Stanislav Kolibal´s conceptual installation conceived in the mid-1970s.
The exhibition in the Czech and Slovak pavilion will combine an outside spatial drawing, related to the modernist façade of the pavilion, with a large-scale wall drawing inside the building. Both are created specifically for this occasion. Stanislav Kolíbal will also present two of his early pioneering series: white sculptures from the 1960s and four minimalist conceptual wall-installations from the 1970s made out of found materials.
Former Uncertain Indicated is a conceptual response to the theme ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ set by Ralph Rugoff, the curator of the Art Biennale 2019. The poetic and ambiguous character of Stanislav Kolíbal’s artistic work is unquestionably determined by the ‘most interesting times’ he experienced in Czechoslovakia since the early 1940s. The exhibition in Venice is a critical response to the challenging political and social context in his country.
Stanislav Kolíbal was born in Orlová (former Czechoslovakia) in 1925, and currently lives and works in Prague. He studied graphic design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, and scenography at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. His works have been included in major international exhibitions, for example Between Man and Matter (Metropolitan Art Gallery Tokyo, 1970), Konstrukcja w procesie (Lodž, 1981), Sculpture from 20 Nations (New York, 1967),Transforming Chronologies (MoMA New York, 2006), and Other Primary Structures (Jewish Museum, New York, 2014), and in solo exhibitions at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (Milan, 1983), the National Gallery Prague (1997, 2015) and Labil – Stabil (Deichtorhallen Hamburg, 2000).
“I am happy to be chosen, although it came at such an advanced age of mine. I am honoured to show my work in the Czech and Slovak Pavilion at such a prestigious display of art as the Venice Biennale. I see my participation as a challenge and firmly believe that I will be able to present the essence of my work of many years in a combination of my older works and brand new ones in a project responding to the space designed by architect Otakar Novotný.”
Dieter Bogner is art historian, curator, writer, collector and author of new museum´s concept. In 1989, Bogner created the concept for the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna and was in charge of the institution´s development until 1994. Subsequently, he founded bogner.cc and the Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation. From 1995 to 2018, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Since 1982, he has built up a private art space, Kunstraum Buchberg, in the Buchberg Castle, Lower Austria, where 30 contemporary artists have created permanent art installations.
The Czechoslovak Pavilion was opened at the 15th Venice Biennale in 1926 and was the 9th national pavilion in Giardini. The pavilion was designed by Otakar Novotný, the founder of modern Czech architecture, and has been preserved virtually intact. The sole decorative element (apart from the simple pilasters on the lateral façades) is the front façade that currently features a monumental red marble portico, set into which is a copper-plated portal with Rondo-Cubist decoration. There is a simple plastic inscription reading ‘Cecoslovacchia’.
If you want to know more about the Art Biennale 2019 and the other national participations, you can read my post ‘What to expect from the Art Biennale 2019’, or have a look at this overview page which links to all the articles related to the Biennale. If you want to be informed about new previews of national pavilions being added to the site, you can subscribe to The Venice Insider biweekly newsletter.
(Picture in banner: Stanislav Kolíbal, Mizející tvar, 1967, © Martin Polák)