prague

Jan Kotik, Untitled (Guide for Realization), 1976, string, nails, chalk, acrylic, wooden plate, 35 1/2 x 25 1/2".

Jan Kotik

Jiri Svestka | Prague

Jan Kotik, Untitled (Guide for Realization), 1976, string, nails, chalk, acrylic, wooden plate, 35 1/2 x 25 1/2".

Why are we so in love with the art of the 1960s and ’70s? Maybe because in our times of nostalgia and ironic detachment, it promises to satisfy a very contemporary desire for authenticity. Artists from that period, we feel, were exploring, not revisiting; their formal experiments were original, driven by an urgency that was fed by a belief in aesthetic, social, and political transformation. Maybe something of this utopian drive lives on in certain recent manifestations of what might be called social sculpture, but in the more object-based forms of contemporary art, this spirit seems to be lost.

This might be one reason why Jan Kotik’s oeuvre from the ’70s is so compelling, even though the phrase “object-based” isn’t quite adequate here. A large part of Kotik’s artistic project was devoted to altering the notions of painting and drawing and to abolishing the hand of the artist.

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