cheb,-czech-republic

View of “Josef Dabernig,” 2011.View of “Jiří Kovanda,” 2011. Top row, from left: Will the Birds and Other Common Species Die Off In Our Country?, 1999; Optimism, 1999; Independent Czechoslovakia, 1999. Bottom row: Pages from catalogue, 2010.

Jiří Kovanda

Galerie Výtvarného Umění v Chebu/Gavu Cheb

View of “Josef Dabernig,” 2011.View of “Jiří Kovanda,” 2011. Top row, from left: Will the Birds and Other Common Species Die Off In Our Country?, 1999; Optimism, 1999; Independent Czechoslovakia, 1999. Bottom row: Pages from catalogue, 2010.

The work of Czech artist Jiří Kovanda involves a continuous struggle to overcome boundaries. This is apparent not only in his well-known performances of the 1970s, but also in his later paintings, assemblages, and installations from the mid-’80s to the present. Performances such as Attempted Acquaintance or Contact, both 1977, dramatize the artist’s very personal fear of embarrassment and apprehension in communicating with the outside world and can thus be understood as a form of personal therapy that aspires to break down borders between the self and the other.

A similar strategy is also evident in Kovanda’s nonperformative— that is, object-based—work. His aim to dissolve the line between art and life brings him to manipulate familiar objects from the outside world and incorporate them into works that, outside of the gallery context (and sometimes even within it), could

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