The first edition of the biennale Matter of Art deals with questions of coexistence in a society in which people have ceased to speak a common language. It dwells on areas where language breaks down, examines contempt, irritation, fear, frustration, lack of understanding, anger, aggression, fear, apathy, indifference and anxiety. It focuses on emotions and the body. With the feeling that it is necessary to find common ground, it seeks the causes and social conditions of the emotional mood of contemporary society. It seeks these causes in the past, in the present, or views them from the perspective of potential scenarios of the future.
Presentism, a toxic present, backwardness, nostalgia, revision, modernity. Every exhibition becomes a battle between forms, for which of them will allow us to plan at least another breath with the hope of survival, a five year plan, a future.
tranzit office, Dittrichova 13, Prague 2
1st July 2019
The relationship between private funding bodies and post-colonial “developing economies” is seen vividly in the nexus of independent arts, cultural production, and trans-national non-governmental funding. In tracing the history and patterns of the Open Society Foundation in both the Middle East and the former Eastern Block, she will conduct a comparative survey into the effects of the soft power of funding over the past forty years, in order to carve out different alternative spaces for mutual growth and artistic production in the future. How can we liberate the current ecosystems of independent arts from their historically loaded underpinnings? Can we deconstruct entrenched notions of “civil society” to imagine a plurality of autonomous cultural economies?
Mariam Elnozahy is a curator, archivist, and writer based in Cairo at the Townhouse Gallery. She focuses primarily on critical, community-based work and has curated exhibitions in Jeddah and London in addition to Cairo. Her writings have been published in Hyperallergic and MadaMasr. Most recently, she was on residency with the Warsaw Biennale and U-Jazdowski CCA.
Volodymyr Kuznetsov: Practices in Common Spaces
12.6. 2019, 7 p.m., tranzit office
Volodymyr Kuznetsov, an Ukrainian artist living in Kiev, will talk about a type of his practice that is embedded in everyday social interactions, experiences, habits. Initially, Volodymyr used drawing, painting, murals, video, embroidery and texts in order to reflect on social practices but also to rethink and discuss new forms and ways of life. Later, he participated in people’s meetings and initiatives concerned with Maidan and post-Maidan political situation, with the war in Eastern Ukraine or with Ukrainian war prisoners in Russia. His aim was to think collectively about such new forms of coexistence and consensus-based decision-making processes. He is interested in the ways in which artistic practice has use outside of the walls of art institutions, in other domains of human activities. Then what we call artistic practice is not really “art” but a tool to help, to support, to maintain society. In Ukraine, he is known “as the artist who had his work censored in Mystetsky Arsenal museum complex in Kyiv in 2015” which resulted in a long series of court hearings. Based on his experience, he and the tranzit team would like to discuss questions of institutional critique and the ethics of collaboration with institutions with problematic background.
The event will be held in English
Display Gallery, Dittrichova 9, Prague 2
6.30pm Performance - Burning to the End
7.00pm Artist Sharing of Research Paper
You are invited to join Vietnamese Artist Moi Tran to discuss the position of the Vietnamese Diaspora in the Czech Republic and discuss the journey of Vietnamese migrants to Eastern European countries. This open room talk will offer a space to collectively unpack thoughts around Diaspora and ‘appearance zones’ in countries of settlement. The complex relationship between communities of settlement and the Vietnamese Diaspora presents an individual and collective pressure between two opposing points - National and Global, Native and Foreign, First and Second generation, Tradition and Modernity. Can we deconstruct the conceptual and geographical borders to challenge the traditional definitions of Diaspora? For this event there is a focus on the Vietnamese community who have settled in Prague. We invite people from both communities to join in this conversation.
Moi Tran, Born in Vietnam with Chinese Heritage.
A refugee of the Vietnam War, her work examines the effects of Dis/placement and narratives in Diaspora. In an ever-evolving negotiation she calls this process the ‘Eternal detour of identity’. An Artist, Researcher and Designer based in the UK exploring intersections between Contemporary Art and Performance. Tran constructs geo-political intimacy as sites of knowledge production and uses improvisation and duration to investigate alternative ideas of protest. Her work explores relationships within the domain of immediate intimacy and experiences of visibility in spaces of appearance. Tran composes ‘narrative scenarios’ to explore acts that govern our economy of presence to discuss the social geography of individual and relational identity.
The event will be in English
Matter of Art, Biennale, Prague, 2020, first edition
June 2020–Aug 2020
Curated by Vít Havránek and Tereza Stejskalová
organized by tranzit.cz
Curator and researcher from Prague. She is part of tranzit.cz, and she lectures at the Film and TV Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Her curatorial projects are research-based and collaborative. Her recent endeavours include a long-term research on the cultural diplomacy and internationalism of Czechoslovakia in collaboration with Zbyněk Baladrán. Various fragments of this research have appeared as a part of Kids Want Communism at Museums Bat Yam, 2016, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, 2017, It Won’t Be Long Now, Comrades, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 2017, or as an exhibition Biafra of Spirit at the National Gallery in Prague, 2017. In 2017 she organized a six-month long seminar Feminist (Art) Institution at Tranzitdisplay, Prague with the code of practice and the alliance of eleven institutions from the Czech Republic and Slovakia around this code of practice as a result. She has contributed numerous texts to catalogues, anthologies, journals and websites.
tranzit.cz is a contemporary art initiative that was founded in 2002. It is a part of tranzit.org network working independently in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Romania supported by Erste Foundation. It organizes exhibitions, debates and discussion formats, publishes books while facilitating access to all forms of interlocutors, audiences and communities. tranzit.cz operates at the intersection of contemporary art, academia and civil society.
tranzit has a long and rich history of exhibitions, discussions and publishing activities with both local and international reach. Tranzit has been engaged in numerous international projects, such as Monument to Transformation 1989 – 2009; Manifesta 8; Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, and others (for more see http://cz.tranzit.org/en).
tranzit.cz follows the Code of Practice of Feminist Art Institution promoting fair work conditions and gender balance http://feministinstitution.cz/code-of-practice/
Partners & contact
Municipal Library of Prague
City Gallery Prague
City of Prague
Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
in collaboration with
Visual Culture Research Center