Markéta Stará

  • View of “Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa,” 2017. Photo: Bruno Lopes.

    Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa

    Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa operates at the border between performance and installation art. His works often seem like enclosed sets brought to life via the performative, or they may, as in his recent exhibition “Shit-Baby and the Crumpled Giraffe,” appear as the remnants of a past event, shaped through an act of remembering, analyzing and contextualizing one’s (national) history through personal memory.

    Ramírez-Figueroa was born in Guatemala in 1978—that is, in the middle of its lengthy civil war of 1960–96. His practice has long been marked by that history. But only in this latest work has

  • View of “Gonçalo Sena,” 2017. Photo: Bruno Lopes.

    Gonçalo Sena

    The work of Berlin-based Portuguese artist Gonçalo Sena oscillates between the perceived borders of sculpture, architecture, installation, and object-based practice: gray areas that create a fertile field for the interplay of colliding matter and crashing form. With a strong architectural sensibility, Sena erects what can best be described as a conceptual ecosystem, within which his works are brought to life and act out their material characteristics. This long-awaited solo exhibition at Galeria Quadrado Azul created such an environment, uniting a wide array of seemingly distinct works, which

  • Ana Manso, the end, 2016, oil on canvas, 20 1/8 × 14 5/8".

    Ana Manso

    To those familiar with the work of Portuguese artist Ana Manso, her double evocation of the idea of “order” in her recent exhibition—both in its title, “In Order of Appearance,” and in her emphasis on one of its structural pillars—might come as a surprise. In her practice, which has been deeply rooted within the medium of painting, Manso has always rejected any form of order, much as she has avoided the manifold fields of representation. Instead, the notion of an endless “landscape” composed of layers of paint, which are reminiscent of capsules of time—moments in which the artist

  • Nuno da Luz, Untitled, 2015, survival blankets, aluminum rail, 11' 10“ × 35' 8”. Photo: Bruno Lopes.

    Nuno da Luz

    The dichotomy between nature and culture has been at the center of Nuno da Luz’s practice for several years now. Many of his works examine the subject of wilderness, questioning the widespread assumption that this environment is somehow “other.” In his frequently immaterial works—recordings, sound installations, or temporary situations inside or outside formal exhibition spaces—da Luz addresses man’s alienation from the sphere of the natural, while pointing to the processes by which nature has been colonized and gradually rendered extinct. Rather than simply illustrating a power struggle

  • View of “Ján Mančuška,” 2015.

    Ján Mančuška

    As its title suggests, “First Retrospective” is the first comprehensive exhibition of Ján Mančuška, who was born in Bratislava in what is now Slovakia in 1972 and died in 2011. Mounted four years after the artist’s premature death and curated by Vít Havránek, the exhibition is best described as an extensive exploration into Mančuška’s practice in an attempt to fully contextualize his early work with his later performative and film-based pieces.

    Although the show follows a chronological order, starting with the artist’s drawings from the late 1990s, the time line is interrupted at the very beginning

  • Marwa Arsanios, Olga’s Notes, all those restless bodies, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 24 minutes.

    Marwa Arsanios

    Kunsthalle Lissabon began the year with a new space, and with the first solo exhibition in Lisbon of Lebanese artist Marwa Arsanios. “Notes for a choreography” presented Arsanios’s latest video, Olga’s Notes, all those restless bodies, 2014, commissioned by Kunsthalle Lissabon and Art in General in New York. The work was projected in dialogue with I’ve Heard Stories, an animation from 2008.

    Arsanios’s work is rooted in her fascination with place—whether understood by way of an architectural landmark or a historical anecdote—which she links to themes of decolonization, the politics of

  • Zbyněk Baladrán, Diderot’s Dream (detail), 2014, two HD video projections, color, sound; 11 minutes 5 seconds, 2 minutes 24 seconds. Installation view.

    Zbyněk Baladrán

    “When is it going to start? It’s already started. When? The dream started long since.” These are the opening lines of Zbyněk Baladrán’s Diderot’s Dream, 2014. For many years, the video essay has been the form most characteristic of the artist’s practice. In this case, the work was divided into two separate videos, each installed in one of two darkened rooms, which operated in tandem to construct a spatial scenario that prompted the spectator to move around the exhibition space, hence between and around the two works on view. The element of movement—or what Baladrán calls performative reading,

  • View of “Svätopluk Mikyta,” 2014. From left: Pomoderna I, 2014; Pomoderna II, 2014; Face, 2013.

    Svätopluk Mikyta

    Slovakian artist Svätopluk Mikyta is best known for his engagement with the topic of collective memory, appropriating and manipulating imagery derived mainly from the history of Communist Eastern Europe. The countless book and magazine clippings that are the point of departure for his complex, frequently decorative installations and compositions of found and manipulated archival photographs, as in his recent exhibition “Pomoderna and seven monochroms,” are usually taken from accounts of organized collective gatherings of the Soviet period. Intervening with red paint or pencil drawing on the

  • Viktor Takáč, I’ll Be Right Back, 2013, drywall, 10' 10“ x 16' 5” x 16' 5".

    Viktor Takáč

    Although prominent on the Czech art scene from an early age, Prague-based Viktor Takáč does not fit the stereotype of a competitive and overly ambitious art-world millennial. His working methods are deliberate and introspective, allowing him to gradually explore and question the nature of the moving image and its politics of representation. The resulting videos are subtle, almost inconspicuous. His works in this medium are defined by a commitment to the camera, an almost ostentatious lack of linearity, and a complete rejection of narrative. Using slow camera movements to gradually unveil fragments

  • View of “Lukáš Machalický,” 2013. Levels: Untitled, 2013. Tables: Untitled, 2013. From the series “Raut” (Reception) 2013–.

    Lukáš Machalický

    To enter “Raut” (a title that translates roughly to “Reception” or “Banquet”), a recent exhibition by Czech artist Lukáš Machalický, was to become immersed in an ongoing social event. The artist had turned the gallery into a carefully constructed environment dominated by a series of tilted, seemingly levitating tables, which were covered with long, white, immaculately ironed tablecloths. These were paired with a group of off-balance installations, which were vaguely reminiscent of human figures, made of carpenter’s levels, in each case with a long one supported by two shorter ones and standing

  • Rafani, Hluboko v nepřátelském území (Deep in the Enemy’s Territory) (detail), 2012, mixed media, sixty-four elements, dimensions variable.


    A retrospective is typically understood as an affirmation of historical significance. Since the activities of the Czech-based Rafani collective date back only to the turn of the millennium, such an acknowledgment may seem premature. But their recent exhibition “Dech” (Breath), in which an archival overview played a significant role, reminded us that retrospection is one of the group’s hallmark strategies. Rafani’s almost compulsive need to continuously refer to its own past activities can be understood as a method of reexamining its shared identity; the interplay between Rafani’s status as a

  • View of “Esther Stocker and Jan Šerých,” 2011–12.

    Esther Stocker and Jan Šerých

    The point of departure of the exhibition “Lies and Layers: Esther Stocker and Jan Šerých” was an attempt to question the human predisposition to interpret perceived reality through an existing body of knowledge. The rational component of the human mind—its need for classification and, most importantly, its inability to avoid using its pre-existing systems of categorization when encountering new situations—frequently leads to reductive and superficial understandings of reality. Czech artist Šerých and his Italian-born, Vienna-based counterpart Stocker reject the idea of reality as a