Public days: 3 - 5 November 2023


23 October 2015 KETCHUP DROOL
View of Vigilance: An Exhibition of Artists Books Exploring Strategies for Social Concern
Curated by Lucy R. Lippard and Mike Glier;
Franklin Furnace, 1980; Courtesy Mike Glier.
Július Koller
Universelles Futurologisches Fragezeichen, 1978

The repressive atmosphere that followed the Prague Spring was the historical and social context in which Július Koller’s creative and personal life developed. His art is distinguished by a very special convergence of philosophical irony, provocative spirit and lively existential PTIMISM. In the face of the political violence taking place in his country, the artist chose a position of libertarian opposition based on an unshakable faith in the utopian power of free thinking. Throughout his career, Koller remained also convinced of the possibility of communication between individuals, even in the censorial climate characterising the authoritarian social order under which he found himself.

Július Koller will be at Artissima 2015 with the gallery GB AGENCY, Paris

Július Koller
Otáznik (Anti-Happening), 1969

Tranzit at New Museum
01/22/14 – 04/13/14
Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module
full text in pdf

Koller’s technique of imbuing simple symbols with complex meanings is explained in his “Mini-Koncepcie maxi-ideí (U.F.O.)” (1974), a series of simple text works that play on the term “UFO.” Beginning in 1970, Koller took annual self-portraits, calling himself a UFO-naut while obscuring his body with random, banal objects—for example, he held a ping-pong ball in front of his eyes with glasses. Sports, such as tennis, held appeal for Koller as symbols of playful protest—as critic Jan Verwoert put it, ping-pong “represents the possibility of a more playful society in the face of socialist standardization.” Koller titled each of these self-portraits some variation of the acronym UFO: Univerzálny Filozoficky Ornament (1978), Underground Fantastic Organization (1975), etc. Koller also developed the fictitious gallery project titled “U.F.O. Galéria – Galéria Ganku, Vysoké Tatry” , which began with a concept around a site in the Slovak mountains to later include bureaucratic documents and structures such as a Board in 1981

Július Koller
Archaeological Monument-Presence (U.F.O.)
Artistic Original Fantastic, 1977
Courtesy the artist and gb agency, Paris

The vessel is inspired by the spacecraft in the iconic Czech science-fiction filmIkarie XB-1 (1963), which melded postwar utopianism with Soviet utilitarianism. In its structure and design, it recalls future fantasies from the socialist Eastern European side of the Iron Curtain and explores the ideological role that outer space played during this time. On view in and around the spacecraft will be 117 artworks, including video, sculpture, print, and installation, by artists hailing primarily from cities around Eastern Europe, notably Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, and Bratislava, all of whom tranzit has worked with previously.

“Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module” offers an allegory of “anthropological science fiction,” where the exhibition space becomes an estranged and exciting universe that dramatizes the cross-cultural translation involved in the presentation of art. The unique model evokes the challenges that contemporary artists experience in exhibiting works, or that curators come across in organizing exhibitions that stitch together diverse artworks, selected across generation, cultural context, personal narratives, and time.

” target=”_blank”>Lauren Berlant
Cruel Optimism
full text in pdf

“Cruel optimism” names a relation of attachment to compromised conditions of possibility. What is cruel about these attachments, and not merely inconvenient or tragic, is that the subjects who have x in their lives might not well endure the loss of their object or scene of desire, even though its presence threatens their well-being, because whatever the content of the attachment, the continuity of the form of it provides something of the continuity of the subject’s sense of what it means to keep on living on and to look forward to being in the world. This phrase points to a condition different than that of melancholia, which is enacted in the subject’s desire to temporize an experience of the loss of an object/scene with which she has identified her ego continuity. Cruel optimism is the condition of maintaining an attachment to a problematic object in advance of its loss.

Grant Kester
The Noisy Optimism of Immediate Action:

Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy in Contemporary Art
preview in jpg

Those who compulsively shout down their objective despair with the noisy optimism of immediate action in order to lighten their psychological burden are much more deluded.

—Theodor Adorno

Adorno as an Institution Is Dead

In the summer of 1969 Theodor Adornos “Introduction to Dialectical Thinking” course at the University of Frankfurt was interrupted by heckling students associated with the Außerparlamentarische Opposition or APO.

The art of direct action
John Jordan @ Gaengeviertel Hamburg, Germany:

Andrew Durbin
Mousse Magazine

Internet art often narrativizes its production as a pozzy, optimistic, even utopian engagement with followers and friends on the corporate web, a not-so-bad playground of free exchange, following the happy regime that demands we always like and reblog or else suffer obscurity. In 2014, the only measure of quality is likes. Despite the supposed openness of social media interfaces, art made and distributed through these networks is critically subject to their terms and conditions.

The Jogging and DIS
Political Freedom Planting Pots, 2013
from “Madison Beer #NoFilter” series.
Courtesy: DIS Magazine. Photo: DIS
Július Koller
Universal Folcloristic Originals (U.F.O.)
Čičmany village, 1978
Ketchup Drool: An Alphabetical Countdown to Artissima 2015
Ketchup Drool: Un conto alla rovescia alfabetico ad Artissima 2015
by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti

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