Jiří Kovanda

Untitled (mumok 3), 2017
Collage on invitation card
15 x 21,2 cm

The objects and room installations developed by Jiří Kovanda consist of ordinary materials, which – at first glance – do not represent anything related to art and could be found anywhere. The presentation of the objects is adapted and precisely tailored to each individual exhibition space and not tied to one particular studio. Kovanda has been using his trademark mode of assemblage since the 1990s, when he began to assemble found objects (objets trouvés) from his personal surroundings or from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, ripping them from their original context. Kovanda’s objects function as surrogates for deficiencies in life, which are thus replaced by art. The common feature of the pieces presented at the Krobath Gallery is that each comes with a pedestal, like those used in museums. However, they are not intended to showcase and support the pieces; rather, they are artworks in their own right.

By combining various objects as auxiliary elements with the pedestals, Kovanda transforms them into pieces of art. These elements include wooden boards, paper, glass, a chair, a shirt, a leave, toy cars and a book of love poems. There is an ironic relationship between the elements: the pedestals are not the auxiliary items; on the contrary, the elements and materials support the pedestals. One exhibit, for example, comprises a shirt spread on the floor in the middle of the gallery, its sleeves pressed down by two pedestals. On the one hand, the pedestals are pinning down the shirt; on the other, the sleeves are underpinning the pedestals. Kovanda thus infringes the rules of conventional exhibition logic and explores physical limits. The other four pedestals in the exhibition are also supported by various objects: toy cars functioning as bearers, a chair or wooden boards.

The way Kovanda’s objects are assembled evokes a longing or desire for something new or different. From a psychoanalytical point of view, his objects produce a psychological urge to rectify a subjectively perceived deficiency and a compulsive desire to acquire new objects or create new states in order to compensate for the deficiency. This definition also corresponds to Kovanda’s understanding of art. According to Jacques Lacan’s theory, a compulsive desire also implies a sexual desire – Kovanda addresses this by including the book of love poems. It is rarely possible to fulfil the longing for vicarious objects to replace the deficiencies – a fact that is illustrated by the fragile pedestal objects, which hold their particular or oblique positions only with the support of other objects and would not function as individual objects in this spatial constellation. The disturbance caused by these objects amplifies the artistic potential of Kovanda, who used subtle performances to create confusion in everyday situations in the 1970s and today employs his art objects to provoke unease in an exhibition context.

Walter Seidl
(English translation: Mandana Taban)



Jiří Kovanda

Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic.

1953 born in Prague, Czech Republic
Since 1995 Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2020“Ten Minutes Earlier”, Fait Gallery Brno, CZ.
2019“Somebody sitting there” gb Agency, Paris,F.
“Jirí Kovanda, Planetarium”, Trafostacja Sztuki w Szczecinie, Szczecin
2017Lulu, Mexico
Solo show, until Aug. 12th
Jiri Kovanda, House in Motion, Zahorian & van Espen Gallery, Bratislava
2016“JIŘÍ KOVANDA. ANTI-HEROISM AND RESISTANCE”, MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bukarest
2015“Jiri Kovanda”, daadgalerie Berlin
“Jiri Kovanda gegen den Rest der Welt”, Tschechisches Zentrum Berlin
2014“Jiří Kovanda: Ještě jsem tu nebyl”, Brno House of Art
2013“Jiří Kovanda. ‘I haven’t been here yet’” MWW Wroclaw Contemporary Museum
„Jiří Kovanda“, Krobath Wien, Vienna
“Jiří Kovanda. Two golden rings”, Palacio de Cristal, Retiro Park, Madrid
„Eight Sculptures and One Woman“, SVIT Praha, Prague
2012“Jiří Kovanda”, gb agency, Paris
“Dos amillos dorados”, Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte, Palacio de Cristal, Reina Sofia, Madrid
“Jiří Kovanda”, Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Polen
2011“The Nervous System” (mit Zbyněk Baladrán), Kunstverein, Mailand
“Wait, Please, She Will Come”, gb agency, Paris
Katalog, Gallery of Visual Arts Cheb, Tschechien
2010 “White Blanket”, Secession, Wien
2009 Krobath, Wien
Krobath, Berlin
“Jiří Kovanda – 1,2,3”, Wallspace, New York
“Jiří Kovanda – 1,2,3”, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
Ludlow 38, New York, USA (mit J. Koller)
2008“Jiří Kovanda: Actions and Interventions”, Art Projects, gb agency, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami
“Pink Carpet”, CGAC – Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea / Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago di Compostela
“Jiří Kovanda – Killing The Blues”, Galerie ad astra, Kuřim
“Jiři Kovanda – Resistance”, DOMINIK ART PROJECTS, Krakau
“Als ich klein war, spielte ich mit den Mädchen” | “When I was a little boy, I used to play with girls”, GKK – Galerie Klatovy / Klenová, Klenová
“Two Cushions”, GB – Agency, Paris
“Stains”, Gallery Futura, Prag (mit E. Kotatkova)
“Golden Ring”, Gallery Zdenek Sklenar, Prag
“Windows, Fishes, Geraniums”, Gallery 5. patro, Prag
“Resistance”, Dominik Art Edition, Krakow, Polen
“Kissing through Glass” (Performance), Frac Lorraine, Metz
“Killing The Blue”s, Galerie ad astra, Kurim
2007“Jiri Kovanda versus the Rest of the World”, Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona
“Jiri Kovanda VS Reste du monde”, Centre d’Art Passerelle, Brest
Galerie Krobath Wimmer, Wien
GB-Agency, Paris
Moravska galerie, Brünn
Performance, Tate Gallery, London
“Situations” – Performances in De Appel:” Jiri Kovanda vs The Rest of The World”, De Appel, Amsterdam
“Untitled”, Vernon Project, Prag
Johnen Gallery, Berlin (mit J. Merta)
2006“Jiri Kovanda VS Reste du monde” (Tentatives de Rapprochement), gb agency, Paris
“Radši bych byl andělem”, Studio of Josef Sudek, Prag
“The First Kovanda’s Retrospective”, Gallery Zdenek Sklenar, Prag
Galerie Na bidylku, Brno (mit G. J. Dokoupil)
Index, Stockholm, Schweden (mit J. Koller)
Galerie Krobath Wimmer, Wien
Gallery Jeleni, Prag
2005“From the Third Side”, Dům Umĕní – House of Arts, České Budějovice
“I Hunted for Zoo”, A.M. 180, Prag
2004“I am not Against”, House of Lords of Kunstat, Brünn
“The Second Half”, Gallery Sternberk, Sternberk
2002Open Gallery, Bratislava (mit D. Lehocka)
Gallery Na bidylku, Brno (mit J. Mancuska)
2000“Sunflower”, AP Atelier, Prag
1999“Drawings 1970–1999”, Gallery Na bidylku, Brünn
1998“A Favourable Moment”, Gallery MXM, Prag
1997“Nina at Work”, Gallery Mala Spalovka, Prag
1996Gallery Caesar, Olmütz
Gallery 761, Ostrava
“White Food”, Gallery MXM, Prag | Prague (mit V. Skrepl)
1995Gallery MXM, Prag
Forum Stadtpark, Graz (mit V. Skrepl)
1994Gallery of J. Kral, House of Art, Brünn
1993Gallery Na bidylku, Brünn
1992Gallery MXM, Prag | Prague (mit M. Dopitova)
1991Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum
1990Gallery Pohlhammer, Steyr (mit G. Hosovsky and L. Teren)
1989Cultural Center Opatov, Prag
1988Little Exhibition Hall, Reichenberg, Liberec (mit M. John und V. Skrepl)
1984Futurum, Prag
1976Gallery Mospan, Warschau

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2019“Prince.sse.s des Villes”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
“Someone Walking Around”, Fundación Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona
2017CS Conceptual Art of the 70s, Fait Gallery, Brno.
(Re) ouverture, Musée d’Art, Nantes.
Spectre du surréalisme, Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles, Arles.
Medium: Figure, Prague City Gallery, Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, Praha.
O strachu, co príde, Vychodoslovenska galeria, Kosice.
Okamzite chramy, Muzeum Moderního Umeni, Olomouc.
Villa Tugenhat, Villa Tugendhat, Brno.
The Shyness of the Crowns, 49 Nord 6 Est, Frac Lorraine, Metz.
Soixantedixsept #1, Parc Culturel de Rentilly, Bussy Saint Martin.
Waiting, Between Power and Possibility, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
Self-organization, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona.
My sweet little lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise), The 4th episode, Kontakt Art Collection, Curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, Apartment Softić, Gallery Forum, GMK, Gallery Nova, Institute for Contemporary Art, Zagreb.
What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible, Selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC), National Museum, Singapore.
2000 + 16 / 3 + 1 2000 + 16 / 3 + 1, with Karel Miler, Petr Stembera, Jan Mlcoch, Jiri Kovanda, AP Atelier, Praha.
2016“THIRD MIND. Jiří Kovanda and the (Im)Possibility of Collaboration”,Nationalgalerie Prag Kurator: Adam Budak
2014“For Your Eyes Only”, Fait Gallery, Brno
“Art as a Verb”, MUMA, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbounre
2013“Minutové Romany / Minute Novels. Imre Bukta, Lubomir Duracek, Jiri Kovanda”, Central Slovakian Gallery Banska Bystrica
“Hanging Sleeves, Hiding Hands”, Eva Kotátková & Jiří Kovanda, Krobath Wien
“Palacio de Cristal (Parque del Retiro)”, organized by Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
“Individual Order”, KARST, Plymouth
“The Earth turns and all things slip away”, Hunt Kastner, Prag
2012“Archives of Something Like the Everyday”, National Gallery of Art, Vilnius
“Jiri Kovanda’s Art Gallery Walk”, Gallery3, The Whitley Arts Festival, Whitley
“This is a special blackout edition!”, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris
“Containing The Possible”, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
“From an object’s point of view”, Murray Guy, New York
“Collaborations & Interventions” , A project by Friederike Nymphius, Berlin, Kunsthalle Andratx, Mallorca
“Ab in die Ecke!”, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, Delmenhorst
“Paramor”, Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou
“Reversibility, A Theatre of De-Creation”, Chapter III, Peep-Hole with CAC Brétigny, Mailand
“The Unexpected Guest”, 7th Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, Liverpool
“A iminência das poéticas” (“The Imminence of Poetics”), 30th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo
“It is what it is. Or is it?”, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
“Foreign Excursions”, McKee Gallery, New York
“Positions on Conceptual Art”, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, München
2011“Performances”, Fiac, gb agency, Auditorium Grand Palais, Paris
“Museum of Parallel Narratives. In the framework of L’Internationale”, MACBA Barcelona
“O”, Redongreen Gallery, Dublin
“Ostalgia”, New Museum, New York
“The Encounter”, Jan Mot, Brussels
“Nul si découvert”, Erudition Concrète 4, Le Plateau, Paris
“Why do you resist? Forms of Resistance in Contemporary Art”, Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Polen
“Médium”, Galerie Rudolfinum, Praha
“Gone to Croatan – Strategien des Verschwindens”, hartware medien kunst verein, Dortmund
“Why do you resist? Forms of Resistance in Contemporary art”, Arsenal Gallery Bialystok, Polen
“Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan, Boba Dylana” (mit Nina Beier und Marie Lund), DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Praha
2010“…and Don`t Forget the Flowers”, Moravian Gallery, Brno, CZE
“Der ideale Ort, um mit der Freiheit unter vier Augen zu sprechen”, Künstlerhaus Bremen
“Traler Park, Opere dalla Fondazione Morra Greco”, Teatro Margherita, Bari
“Malerei: Prozess und Expansion – Von den 1950er Jahren bis heute”,
MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
“A Walk around the Block”, Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel
“Jiří Kovanda, Roman Ondák, Július Koller”, Art Feature, gb agency, Art Basel, Basel
“Within the Shadow of a Doubt”, Frac Lorraine, Metz
“High Ideals & Crazy Dreams”, Vera Munro, Hamburg
“Why do you resist?”, Pori Art Museum, Pori
“Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris
“Creating of Worlds”, Galerie Emila Filly, Ustí nad Labem
“Double Bind / Arrêtez d’essayer de me comprendre!”, Villa Arson, Nizza
“Monument to Transformation”, Galerija Miroslav Kraljevič, Zagreb
“If Space Meant Nothing”, Condotto C, Rom
“Che cosa sono le nuvole?”, Museion, Bolzano
“City Dreamers”, Galerie Emila Filly, Usti nad Labem
2009“When attitudes…”, The Printemps de Septembre – à Toulouse. Festival de création contemporaine, Espace Croix-Baragnon, Toulouse
“40 Lives of One Space”, 3. Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, former Red October chocolate factory / Confectionary Hall, Moskau
“Historical Work – Vilém Kabzan, Jiří Kovanda, Marek Meduna, Michal Pěchouček, Pavel Sterec, Jiří Thýn, Tomáš Vaněk”, Galerie Václava Špály, Prag
“IT RESTS BY CHANGING – Rolf Julius, Jiří Kovanda, Roman Signer, Franz Erhard Walther”, Galeria Raffaella Cortese, Mailand
“Pièces des résistance: Forman von Widerstand in der zeitgenössischen Kunst”, Kunstmuseum Thun
“Ohne Uns!”, Motorenhalle, Dresden
“Energy and Proces (Landscape and Action)”, Tate Modern, London
“Inéditos 2009 / A la vuelta de la esquina”, La Casa Encendida, Madrid
“Any-Instant-Whatever”, Bunkier sztuki, Krakau
“Very Simple Actions without Any Particular Purpose”, Artra, Mailand
“Tschechische Fotografie des 20. Jahrhunderts”, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der BRD, Bonn
“FLOWER POWER”, Craa – Centro di ricerca arte attuale Villa Giulia, Verbania
“Julius Koller & Jiri Kovanda”, Ludlow 38, New York
“The Death of the Audience”, Secession, Wien
“Gone to Croatan”, Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun
“Monument of Transformation”, City Gallery, Prag
“Jiří Kovanda – Hommage an Július Koller (1939–2007)”, Tschechisches Zentrum, Wien
“Minimal Shift”, Galeria Jana Koniarka, Tyrnau
“Performing the East”, Kunstverein Salzburg
“After the Velvet”, Galerie hlavniho mesta Prahy, Prag
“UFF”, Muzeum architektury, Breslau
2008“All The Best: Nina Beier and Marie Lund”, Gallery One One One, London
Art Sheffield 08 – “Yes, No & Other Options”, Situ Gallery, Sheffield
“You Are My Mirror 1: L’Infamille,” FRAC Centre Lorraine, Metz
“La Foule / Zéro–Infini”, Espace d’Art Contemporain la Tôlerie, Clermond Ferrand
Michel de Certeau, OUI, Grenoble
“Fetish versus Evocation”, Galerie der Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Braunschweig
“Crossing 68/89”, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
“Between Concept and Action”, Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin
“Mind Expanders”, Mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Wien
“Collection premier mouvement. Des contes, des images, quelques tableaux et un théatre invisible”, Musée Départemental d’Art Contemporain, Chateau de Rochechouart
“Sécurité Qualité Précision Innovation Modernité”, Abbaye du Ronceray, Angers
“Why Here Is Always Somewhere Else”, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
“Playtime”, Bétonsalon, Paris
“Curator Curator #2: What is my name”, HISK, Gent
“…No Places No Frontiers…”, Dominik Art Projects, Krakau
2007“RÜCKBLENDE”, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
“auch nicht und nur das”, Arthotek München, München
“With Only Exceptions New”, Wannieck Gallery, Brünn
“Why do you Resist”, Forum Stadtpark, Graz
“Pleskot”, Zdenek Sklenar Gallery, Prag
“Tomas Cisarovsky, Jiří Kovanda, Petr Pastrnak”, Fifth Floor Gallery, Prag
“Why do you Resist”, Emil Filla Gallery, Usti nad Labem
documenta 12, Fridericianum, Kassel
“Intocable (el ideal de la trasparencia)”, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid
“Czech Contemporary Art from the Collection of Richard Adam”, Wannieck Gallery, Brünn
“Invisible Things”, Trafo Gallery, Budapest
“Tanzen Sehen”, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen
“Contacts 2007”, Galerie Klatovy / Klenová, Klenová
“Form Follows… Risk”, Futura Prag und Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava
“Actions and Interruptions”, Tate Modern, London
“A CDEFGHIJK MNOPQ STUV Z”, Frac Ile de France, Le Plateau, Paris
“Claydon, Jürgensen, Kovanda, Reyle, Veilhan”, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, München
3rd Prag Biennale, Karlin Hall, Prag
“GALERIE. FOCUS WIEN”, Kunstraum Innsbruck
“Some Time Waiting”, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris
“Heretic and Co. / Golden City”, Jiří Svestka Gallery, Prag
“KONTAKT Belgrade…works from the Collection of Erste Bank Group”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrad
“Ver bailar. Dialogo entre la danza y las bellas artes”, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contempoáneo, Sevilla
2006“Tranzit – Auditorium, Stage, Backstage – Eine Ausstellung in 32 Szenen”, Frankfurt am Main Replaced, Barbara Klímová, Brünn
Galerie Na bidylku, Brünn (mit G. J. Dokoupil)
“More Stories on Absence”, Extra City, Antwerpen
“I (ICH)”, Galerie, Grafisches Kabinett, Secession, Wien
“Pozvao sam par prijatelja da bace pogled”, Galerija Miroslav Kraljevič & Galerija Nova, Zagreb
“Já / I”, Futura, Prag
“Get Together”, Galerija Skuc, Laibach
“Grey Zone”s, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig
“Narrow Focus”, Gallery Futura, Prag
“Kontakt”, MUMOK – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Wien
2005Prague Biennale 2, Karlin Hall, Prag
“Czech Photography of 20th Century”, Museum of Applied Arts, Prag
East Art Museum, Karl Ernst Osthaus – Museum Hagen, Hagen
“Support 3 (Fluxus, Happening, Konzeptkunst)”, Neue Galerie, Graz
“1811197604122005”, galeria plan b, Cluj
2004“Eintritt Frei”, BAWAG Foundation, Wien
“Strategies of Desire”, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel
“Parallel Actions”, Galerie der HGB, Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig
“Being the Future”, Palast der Republik, Berlin
“Neutral”, Motorenhalle, Dresden
“Cordially Invited”, BAK and Centraal Museum, Utrecht
“De ma fenetre”, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris
2003“Wir müssen heute noch an Ihr Vorstellungsvermögen appellieren…”, Kölnischer Kunsverein, Köln
“Parallel Actions”, acfny – Austrian Cultural Forum, New York
2002“FAIR”, Royal College of Art, London
“arty”, Café Bystrica, Pressburg
2001“Body and the East”, Exit Art, New York
“Object, Object”, Czech Museum of Fine Arts, Prag
“Die Sammlung”, MUMOK – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien
2000“ÜberlebenKunst”, Neuer Berliner Kunsverein, Berlin
1999“Perplex”, V. Spala’s Gallery, Prag
“Brother’s Brother”, V. Löffler’s Museum, Kaschau
“99 CZ – Nineties”, Wenceslas Square no. 15 and other spaces, Prag
“Aspekte/Positionen. 50 Jahre Kunst aus Mitteleuropa 1949–1999”, Museum moderner Kunst, Palais Lichtenstein, 20er Haus, Wien
1998“Reduced Budget”, Manes, Prag
“Liste 98” – The Young Art Fair, Werkraum Warteck, Basel
“Body and the East”, Moderna galerija, Laibach
“Sensitivities – Contemporary Art of Cenral Europe”, European Academy for the Arts, London
1997“Demode”, Gallery U dobreho pastyre, Brünn
“Cse(h)ndes üzenetek”, Budapest Galeria, Budapest
1996“Czech Abstraction”, V. Spala’s Gallery, Prag
“L’art au corps”, MAC – galeries contemporaines des Musées de Marseille
“Abstrakt/Real”, Museum moderner Kunst, 20er Haus, Wien
1995“Test Run”, Manes, Prag
1993“Second Exit”, Ludwig Forum, Aachen
“Czech Works on Paper”, South Bank Centre, London
“That What Is Left”, Stenc’s House, Prag
“Europe Without Walls”, City Art Galleries, Manchester
1992“Sirup”, Pasinger Fabrik, München
“Gray Brick 35/1992”, GKK – Galerie Klatovy / Klenová
“Czech Painting and Sculpture after 1945”, Alsova jihoceska galerie, Hluboka nad Vltavou
1991“New Intimacy”, ULUV, Prag
“Contribution to Happiness”, Galerie der Künstler, München
“The Exhibition of the Contemporary Czech Art”, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taipei
“Art of Action”, Manes, Prag
1990“Contemporary Czech Painting”, Walker Hill Art Center, Seoul
1989“Metaphysical Visions: Middle Europe”, Artists Space, New York
“Description of a Fight”, Gallery of Art, Roudnice nad Labem
1988“Painting of the 80’ Generation”, Palace of Youth, Moskau
1987“Exhibition 30”, People’s House, Prag
1986“Body in the Czechoslovak Photography”, Museum Kromerizska, Kromeriz
1981“Returns to Nature”, Salon Fotografia, Belgrad
1979“Places and Moments”, Galeria Foto-Medium-Art, Breslau
“Works and Words”, De Appel, Amsterdam
1978“Experience Book”, Gallery Maki, Tokio
1977Laboratorio, Mailand