Berlin ~ Moeller Fine Art ~ SOVÁK: Themes and Variations

Themes and Variations
May 2 – June 28, 2014
Moeller Fine Art, Tempelhofer Ufer 11, D-10963 Berlin
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Interview with: Stephanie Moeller,
curator: Stephanie Moeller,
exhibited artist: Pravoslav Sovak.

Pravoslav Sovák’s solo presentation at the gallery Moeller Fine Art Berlin showcases 35 drawings, collages and etchings created between 1968 and 2013. The exhibition is divided into three thematic circles: Museum Sheets, Beauties, and Desert Sheets. In this video, Stephanie Moeller explains her relationship to Mr Sovák’s work, focusing closer on the series Museum Sheets.

Desert Sheets were conceived during the artist’s regular journeys to the US. A series of works on paper depict landscapes as a symbol of nature, as a symbol of the authentic living. Even though the deserts have very little human interference apart from roads, nuclear testing sites etc. they are spaces which are not inhabited, they are not regularly cultivated, in this respect are not what we call a cultured landscape.

Pravoslav Sovák was born and worked in the communist Czechoslovakia until 1968. He emigrated to Germany on the 21st of August 1968, which was the exact day of the Soviet invasion, and later he settled in Switzerland. His transition between cultural codes of the East and West brought him a deeper understanding of the system as a whole. In many respects his ability to compare, as well as a developed sensibility, enabled his overview of political systems and different structures of society and this facilitated his personal achievement. I would like to suggest that this is the most evident in his thematic work about American deserts in Arizona.

What actually is a desert if not a natural entity? Having had no use for humans, it is left untouched. Infinity, particular circularity and meditation, have been symbolic codes attached to the desert. For Sovák it signifies the opposite of temptation, which we experience in different social systems and cultures. This particular quality can be noticed especially if we are overwhelmed by powerful historical moments. Ulrike Lorenz summarises this in her encomium ‘Topographies of Yearning’ which was published in the Sovák’s monograph Themes &Variations under the framework of an eponymous exhibition: „Sovak’s deserts and vast expanses are topographies of yearning. In the vortext of seeing, the viewer becomes one with the object he’s looking at, but his yearning is never satisfied.“ The show runs until June 28, 2014.

The exhibition was organized as part of the tenth anniversary of Gallery Weekend Berlin, which strategically promotes the exhibition activities of local galleries. Almost all galleries stayed open past their usual opening times. Over sixty artists showed at Gallery Weekend Berlin, including Julian Opie, Zofia Kulik, Gordon Matta-Clark, Liam Gillick and Wolfgang Laib among others.

Pravoslav Sovák was born in 1926 in Vysoké Mýto, Bohemia. After graduating from the School of Ceramics, Bechyně and then from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, Prague, he worked as an assistant professor at Palacký University, Olomouc. Sovak received his art education at the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague. He has been living in Switzerland since 1968. In 1975 he was appointed professor and the head of department of Free Graphic Arts at the Cologne School of Art and Design. He was selected for the 36th Biennale di Venezia.

Interview produced by František Zachoval.
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Rudolf Valenta. Rekonstruction

“TAT”, 1986 | 400 x 200 cm, colored iron, wood, twisted rope | Foto: Rudolf Valenta | Courtesy Rudolf Valenta

Title: Rudolf Valenta. Rekonstruction
Eds: Alexander Peroutka, Frantisek Zachoval
14,8 x 21 cm
160 pages, black & white, Paperback
Berlin, March 2015

For this publication, we are preparing texts that were written in Czech and German throughout Rudolf Valenta’s successful career in sculpture. These texts have never been presented in a unified (monolithic) form, where his work can be seen as a process that has remained unbroken by his exile. The editors are choosing significant texts which, when seen all together, will challenge the old, one-sided and fragmented narrative. The texts are being chosen for their relevance to contemporary art theory, which questions the cultural history and the present state of once-divided Europe.

The publication is financially supported by the Czech-German Fund for the Future, the Czech Center Berlin, The Karte Berlin and the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.


14-15_KGVUZ CZ BEZ cmyk

Berlin ~ Czech Centrum Berlin ~ Question Marks in a Blurred Grid

Alternative link for the video: Youtube.

Question Marks in a Blurred Grid
March 20 – May 3, 2014
Czech Center Berlin, Wilhelmstraße 44 D-10117 Berlin
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Interview with: Matyáš Chochola and Alexandr Puškin,
curators: Matyáš Chochola and Alexandr Puškin,
exhibited artists: Dirk Bell, Eva Berendes, Barbora Fastrová, Stanislava Karbušická, Martin
Kohout, Kalin Lindena, Roman Liška, Marek Meduna.

In this report, Matyáš Chochola and Alexandr Puškin (curators of the exhibition) explain significances of the concept of the exhibition and we talk in detail about the background, structure and importance of this project.

Interview produced by František Zachoval.
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foto: Frantisek Zachoval

foto: Frantisek Zachoval

The Observation In A Second Order » Katarina Ševic and Gergely László: House Museum«

Title: The Observation In A Second Order » Katarina Ševic and Gergely László: House Museum«

Location: Ethnological Museum in Berlin

Frantisek Zachoval: talks to Katarina Ševic and Gergely László

Date: December 29, 2014

I met with artists Katarina Ševic and Gergely László at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin to talk about their project House Museum (2006), developed after being able to return to Ševic’s summer cottage in Žuljana, a small village on the Pelješac Peninsula (Croatia) after the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia (1991-2001). The ethnic conflicts prohibited Ševic, a Serbian citizen, and her family to enter Croatian territory and, therefore, inhabit the house. Thirteen years later, the artist returned and, working collectively with Gergely László, cleaned and repaired the house, left ravaged by war and occupied in her family’s absence. The artists gathered more than 100 objects, employing archeological principles to uncover the past of the house and archive the found objects discovered. The House Museum has been exhibited in the group exhibitions Lost in Transition, CAME, Tallinn (2011); Bunker Design at the Moscow Biennial, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Moscow (2007); and at the Remont Gallery, Belgrade (2007) and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest (2006).

Katarina Šević (b. 1979, Novi Sad/Serbia) and Gergely László (b. 1979, Budapest) live and work in Budapest and Berlin. Since 2004, Gergely László and Péter Rákosi work collaboratively under the label of Tehnica Schweiz. Šević and László’s other projects include: The Man with an Excavator (2010); The Heroes of the Shaft (2011); Gasium et Circensens (2012); Shifting: Worker Culture and Life Reform in the Madzsar School (2012); and Imperatores Provinciae (2013).


About the project:

After twenty years of re-vitalisation of the post communist countries, the part of a younger generation of theoreticians and artists has quite a critical approach to the social environment and newly constructed history. The series of video-interviews The Observation In A Second Order is a part of the long term research project Objectivity and Manipulation: a collection of essays, interviews and documents following author’s interpretations of their own histories and also reflecting on local institutions, which often operate with strongly subjective attitudes. The parameters of a curatorial selection remain uncertain here. This kind of attitude leads to generalised and strongly manipulative tendencies, which are more and more evident.

The collection of interviews focuses on the former Eastern Block enabling a comparison of different levels of development in the researched subjects. Like in centrifugal circles, the methods of promoting and concealing of certain events can be also traced to the geographically close European countries and its analysis make the final section.

A series of interviews The Observation In A Second Order (Beobachtung zweiter Ordnung) makes the ‘blind spot’ visible to the viewers who can’t perceive it for their particular perspective. The interviews were prepared with artists who critically engage with a trajectory of manipulation and it underlines their art practices.

All right reserved. ARTMargins Online, Frantisek Zachoval and artists.

Berlin ~ Bergwasser Gallery ~ Liu Jing: Jing, Jing & Jing

Alternative link for the video: YouTube.

Bergwasser Gallery

Liu Jing: Jing, Jing & Jing

date: February 14, 2014

location: Grolmannstraße 16/16A, Berlin, Germany

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The exhibition Jing, Jing & Jing (静 净 境) focused on the contemporary Chinese ink painting, a technique that has been very important for the past thousands years. Liu Jing’s work is based on tradition (she paints with ink) but she inserts contemporary subject matter into her large format works. Traditional techniques have had thousand years of development and one could almost describe them as their own schools of philosophy. Liu Jing connects these schools and uses what she finds useful from each of them. In practice we talk about the post-modern approach where the author seeks new ways, new positions and new social possibilities

In particular Liu Jing works with the fusion of techniques Gongbi (工笔) and Xieyi (写意). Gongbi is defined by attention to detail and by realistic representation as opposed Xieyi which is a spontaneous energetic way of painting. Of course, as with every philosophical school, painting has many interpretations. At the moment when we adjoin both of these techniques, entirely new questions and possibilities for describing the world arise. Unexplored connections will prompt a new set of questions and answers. From my subjective position I see parallels to the social reaction with the contemporary globalized world where the ways of thinking and theory connect, allowing for the emergence of new forms, new gatherings and new theoretical schools which aim to describe the world as a whole.

In Western society, the title Jing, Jing & Jing usually has one meaning and it is generally understood with the emphasis on that meaning. However in China the term has three different meanings. The first character Jing is the name of the artist, which means silent, calm, peaceful, the second term Jing meaning clean and tidy, which may refer to the clean aesthetics of the paintings, and the last meaning of the word Jing, environment, surroundings, social settings which can be interpreted as a historical and artistic context. The title of the show and the exhibited painting underline a multiplicity of meanings and interconnectedness of the contemporary world.

Liu Jing, 1976 was born in Beijing, studied at the Beijing Normal University and graduated at the Chinese Academy of Art, Beijing. Liu Jing is member of the advisory board of for Chinese Calligraphy and Seal Engravers at the Youth Federation of the Ministry of Culture; member of Beijing Seal Engravers Society and she is vice-chairman of the Times Art Museum in Beijing. Her first solo exhibition was at Anshan Hall of Prince Gong’s Mansion, Beijing.

– Frantisek Zachoval

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All right reserved. Galerie Bergwasser,
Frantisek Zachoval and artist.

Bergwasser Gallery Liu Jing: Jing, Jing & Jing

Bergwasser Gallery
Liu Jing: Jing, Jing & Jing