15. 3. — 26. 5.

Exhibition in the Czech Centre Vienna: Lenka

Published March 7, 2023

Artists Eva Kot’áátková, Jiří Kovanda and Karolína Liberová will transform the gallery space into an image-creating landscape.

Opening: 15.03.2023, 18:30
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The exhibition is not a mere reconstruction of Lenka’s story. The viewer is invited to think about the different kinds of hierarchies that must exist for the story to take place. What role do museums and zoos play in it? That is, cultural institutions that organise exhibitions and have an educational and leisure character in society. What stories are told and what stories are neglected or suppressed? What role does the exhibited object play in them?

Artists Eva Kot’átková, Jiří Kovanda and Karolína Liberová will transform the gallery space into an image-making landscape. In it, individual works (objects, props, parts of stories) thematize various unequal relations between objects, bodies and their environment, perceiving different contexts and aspects of this problem while trying to show the loopholes through which the current setting can be disturbed.

The collection of stories and narratives is typical of Eva Kot’s work. In her installations she lets the viewer peek into her archive. She allows him to reflect on other realities and on the mechanisms and processes that shape our perception of ourselves and our surroundings. He creates landscapes in which we encounter normative patterns, stories of oppression and imaginative scenarios of how to transform them. The group exhibition at the Czech Centre in Vienna, to which Eva Kot’atková was invited together with Jiří Kovanda and Karolina Liberová, is no exception.
However, the impetus for association and reflection is not purely in the hands of the viewer; it also belongs to the other participating artists. Behind the idea of Jiří Kovanda and Karolína Liberová’s reactive collaboration on the story collected by Eva Kot’átka is not only their close working relationship, but also their interest in observing the ways in which artists of different generations and experiences confront the topic.

Jiří Kovanda is best known for his artistic actions from the 1970s in totalitarian Czechoslovakia, which are preserved through the artist’s documentation. The photographic record of the event is pasted on white paper, with a cut-out caption above the photo, written on a typewriter, with the name, date and location of the event. These are minimalist actions and interventions, so subtle that they may be almost imperceptible to passers-by. Through today’s lens, the work is seen in conjunction with the actions of the secret police. The objects of surveillance cannot be visibly distinguished from other citizens, and it is only through the archives that we learn that the individual under surveillance, who was engaged in everyday activities, was perceived as committing activities against the state. Kovand’s contemporary artwork is similarly minimalist and subtle, yet subversive at the same time. Through unobtrusive gestures in space and time, he draws attention to the complex system of connections that binds the object to its environment.
Karolína Liberová recently completed her studies at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in the fashion design studio. She received her artistic education in the Czech Republic, Austria and Sweden. In her work she deals with the question of whether we can think about the corporeality of objects. More specifically, how our understanding of objects changes when we stop perceiving them as inanimate entities, subordinate to humans. Above all, she is interested in the memory and experience of these objects. In this way, she opens up a new cosmos of relations and relations.
Lenka’s group exhibition outlines the story of the giraffe and at the same time serves as a stimulus to think about what it can tell us about our society and the world we live in. How many more of these are found not only in museums but also in our surroundings without us even noticing them?

Eva Kot’átková, Jiří Kovanda and Karolína Liberová
Anežka Jabůrková
Graphic design by Jan Stěhule