Július Koller & Jirí Kovanda

July 10–August 16, 2009

Ludlow 38 is pleased to announce a group exhibition featuring the work of Július Koller (*1939 in Piestany, Slovakia; †2007 in Bratislava) and Jirí Kovanda (*1953 in Prague, lives in Prague). Both artists have been exhibiting since the 1960s/1970s, respectively. Their work bridges disciplines and reflects on the circumstances of life in a particular social historical context and within an unofficial art world. This exhibition addresses central issues in the work of both artists: impossible communication, the place of the human in the universe, and the way they fictionalize their questions and doubts about the world.

The oeuvre of Július Koller is one of the most erratic in European art since the 1960s. Only in recent years have Koller’s concepts of the Anti-Happening, the Anti- Painting, his actions, objects, texts and the referential archive he built up, received the attention they deserve. The exhibition at Ludlow 38 departs from Koller’s Universal Cultural Futurological Operation (U.F.O.), a central body of works that developed over decades from Koller’s Weltanschauung, which lay in an ‘anthropocentric principle of understanding man in nature and in the cosmos’ (Koller in a conversation with Roman Ondák).

The exhibition presents text cards that evolved from his ideas about U.F.O.-nauts and flying saucers as well as the Ganek gallery, a fictional place very high in the Tatras without possible access, that derived from the expeditions Koller undertook with a small circle of people. The exhibition is the subject of an intervention by The Steins, which will contextualize the work of Koller in an unpredictable style that is idiosyncratic to the artist’s practice. On July 11 the exhibition will be re-hung and, in addition to Koller, the work by Jirí Kovanda will be introduced.

The relations between daily routines and the role of the individual in the public domain dominate Jirí Kovanda’s actions that take place in the open space or in warehouses and apartments, with or without the participation of the public. Although Kovanda rejects a strictly political reading of his work, some of his actions and interventions, such as I hide September 1977, could have a political significance and represent a disturbance in the order of things. Friends often documented Kovanda’s actions, which challenge the idea of human contact in times often characterized by isolation and doubt.

Curated by Tobi Maier