Zbyněk Baladrán

Work exhibited in the Trade Fair Palace:

Sclerosis Multiplex / 2024 / series of 10 assemblages / combined technique on plexiglass / each 100 × 70 cm / courtesy of the artist

* Commissioned by the Biennale Matter of Art Prague.

Sclerosis Multiplex, 2024, Biennale Matter of Art 2024, National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (c) Jonáš Verešpej

Artist Zbyněk Baladrán (lives in Prague, b. Prague (CZ), 1973) is not satisfied with the ways museums tell our history. They make the story smooth, linear and repetitive. History is always divided into us and them, the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, natives and foreigners. Museums do not pay attention to unexpected turns of history, they give simple answers and often describe the stories of those who have the power. For that reason Zbyněk Baladrán creates his own displays, diagrams, and even museums themselves. Through them he explains complicated connections, economic systems and possibilities for better futures. For the Matter of Art Biennale the artist was invited to think about the way museums tell stories of social uprisings, radical politics, and collective efforts. He should have presented his installation at the Museum of the Cooperative Association of the Czech Republic. The museum tells the story of how people can unite to achieve goals instead of competing for them. Unfortunately, it seems that people are not very interested in the ideas of collective efforts and economic forms of cooperation. These models do not apply to the dominant capitalist reality that pushes us to compete with each other. Therefore, the artist constructs his own museum. In his work, he refers to the ideas of joint efforts to change reality, step by step, as in the original museum of cooperative movements in Prague. He also refers to changes in power with a single move, as in many museums that show the histories of revolutions like, for example, the Paris Commune.

(c) Zuzana Markéta Macková

lives in Prague
b. Prague (Czech republic), 1973

Zbyněk Baladrán (b. 1973, Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a visual artist and curator. He focuses on the contradictions of the contemporary world and the possibilities of understanding them through art and artistic practice. He studied art history at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In 2001 he co-founded Display – Association for Research and Collective Practice, where he works as a curator and organizer. He participated as a curator in the biennales Manifesta 8 in Murcia (2010) and steirischer herbst in Graz (2012). From 2006 to 2010 he worked on the interdisciplinary project Monument to Transformation. He has participated in exhibitions such as Manifesta 5 in San Sebastian (2004), the 11th Biennale de Lyon (2011), and the 56th Venice Biennale (2013). He has exhibited in joint exhibitions at MoMA New York (2015), Württembergischer Kunstverein (2019), and others. He is represented by Galerie Jocelyn Wolff in Paris, Gandy Gallery in Bratislava, hunt kastner in Prague, and the Salvator Rosa cooperative association.