As is tradition, the new international jury nominated five visual artists from the Czech arts scene under the age of 35 for the final round of this year’s Jindřich Chalupecký Award. These are Alžběta Bačíková, Lukáš Hofmann, Tomáš Kajánek, Kateřina Olivová and Adéla Součková. “Each of the nominees has attained their own unique aesthetic stance, which they insert into the various fissures of our increasingly uniform society and so provoke its devouring power,” reads the joint statement of a panel of jurors who first met in this constellation last November. The joint exhibition of the finalists’ and foreign guest’s work will take place from 13 November, the laureate will, as usual, be announced during the final ceremony scheduled for 17 December 2018.
The artists selected by the jury combine a variety of media in their work – painting, photography, video and performance. By their means, they probe current social phenomena such as the internet, the media industry or the individual’s solitude in society.
The work of Alžběta Bačíková centers on reflection about documentary forms in contemporary art. She uses the medium of film to explore the boundary possibilities of objectivity and impartiality in the documentary genre. Her work shows a clear interest in current social issues, dealing with the influence of technology, digitalisation, and the problems of representation and self-experience. Performances and so-called ‘social sculptures’ authored by Lukáš Hofmann a.k.a. Saliva speak the contemporary jargon of the fashion and creative industries. His staged situations involve communities of actors who move in specific environments according to a predefined plan and give voice to a range of emotions familiar to the individual living in today’s impersonal society: numbness, disappointment, but also hope. Drawing upon photography, video and performance, Tomáš Kajánek often balances on the edge of exposure to physical danger. He underscores the concrete problems of contemporary society – the relationship of majority to minority and the dangers posed by new technologies. His work is often inspired by YouTube and various other forms of creative content sharing. For finalist Kateřina Olivová, the central themes are womanhood, feminism, sexuality, motherhood, interpersonal relationships and emotion. Her primary medium is her own (naked) body – hovering on the edge of kitsch and deliberate awkwardness, she encroaches upon ingrained social taboos. The principal means of expression for Adéla Součková are drawing and painting, but her work also incorporates performance, object installation and video. Thematically, her work draws on the conflict of nature and culture, on various mythologies and archetypes, but also on current discussions about ecology and feminism.
Following the previous year in Brno, the 2018 final exhibition for the Jindřich Chalupecký Award once again takes place in the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery Prague. The exhibition will be held at the KORZO venue and in spaces adjoining it. The finalists for this year’s Jindřich Chalupecký Award were selected by an international jury consisting of: Zdenka Badovinac, curator, Director of the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Vjera Borozan, Director of Project Artyčok, Czech Republic; Lenka Klodová, artist, Head of the Studio of Body Design at FaVU VUT in Brno, Czech Republic; Marek Pokorný, art critic, curator and Artistic Manager of PLATO Gallery in Ostrava, Czech Republic; Laurel Ptak, curator and Executive Director of Art in General, New York, USA; and Vasif Kortun, curator, Director of Research and Programs at SALT Gallery in Istanbul (2011–2017), Turkey.
The final exhibition will again introduce a prestigious foreign guest. For 2018, the Society invited Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici, who is preparing a presentation of an updated version of her performative project Delicate Forms of Engagement. For the Prague performance, the artists wants to expand her project with two acts related specifically to the Czech environment and its history and to the venue and context of the event – the building of the Trade Fair Palace and the Jindřich Chalupecký Award. “The performative and socio-critical aspects of the work of Alexandra Pirici could, in our view, interestingly complement the projects of this year’s five nominees,” writes the final exhibition’s curator Tereza Jindrová.
Alexandra Pirici (1982) has a background in choreography and performative art, but her art also draws upon a a wide range of media including film and music. Her work has been presented at the Münster Sculpture Project 2017, at the Centre Pompidou, at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, at Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin and elsewhere. Pirici, along with choreographer Manuel Pelmus, represented Romania at the 55th Venice Biennale with the project ‘An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale’, in which a group of performers portrayed artworks and events connected with the Biennale’s history.
LIST OF FINALISTS NOMINATED FOR THE JINDŘICH CHALUPECKÝ AWARD 2018: Alžběta Bačíková (1988) graduated from the Faculty of Visual Arts at the VUT in Brno (Studio Painting 2, led by Luděk Rathouský and Jiří Franta) and began a doctoral degree here in 2015. In 2017, she took part in a residency at the Egon Schiele Art Centre in Český Krumlov and completed a study visit at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. In her theoretical research and her own artistic work in the recent years, Bačíková focuses on reflecting documentary tendencies in contemporary art. Her chief interest in this context is the category of objectivity and methods that undermine the false illusion of impartiality often ascribed to the genre. For her, the medium of film takes centre stage, and Bačíková herself mostly works with video installations. She frequently expands upon her individual work in collaborations with other artists and is also active as a curator. The artist regularly presents her work in the context of the Czech independent arts scene but has also had her works exhibited at the National Gallery Prague, the Emil Filla Gallery in Ústí nad Labem or at the Stúdió Galéria in Budapest. In 2014, she was selected for the final round of the Startpoint Award for emerging artists.
Lukáš Hofmann (1993) a.k.a. Saliva studies at the Academy of Visual Arts in Prague (Studio of Intermedia Production III / School of Tomáš Vaněk). He has completed internships at the VŠUP (Sculpture Studio) and in Berlin, and took part in artist residencies at Nisyra organised by the platform Are. Hofmann’s primary means of expression are performance and so-called ‘social sculptures’, which often also speak the jargon of the fashion or creative industries. His staged situations involve curated communities of actors and environments within which he generates a focused atmosphere and an egalitarian dynamic. He thereby communicates a range of most contemporary emotions: apathy and the potentiality of feeling, disappointment and hope. He regularly partakes at joint exhibitions and art events at home and abroad – his work has been presented at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, at the Danish National Gallery in Copenhagen, at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm or at the PLATO Gallery in Ostrava, and he performed at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich during Manifesto 11.
Tomáš Kajánek (1989) studies at the Studio without a Master. In 2016 he completed a course the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, in 2015 he received the VIG Special Invitation as part of the Essl Art Award CEE and participated in a residency in Rotterdam. Kajánek mostly works with the media of photography, video and performance. In his art, he enters into the fissures he discovers at the edges of social phenomena. His work draws attention to concrete problems in contemporary society, such as the relation of majority to minority or the utility and dangers of new technologies. He commonly draws inspiration from YouTube and other platforms for creative content sharing. In his performances, he often exposes his body to high physical strain and danger. At the same time, he thematises the medium of performance as such, as well as the issue of personal and artistic engagement. Kajánek has presented his work at solo and joint exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad, among others at the National Gallery Prague, at the Viennese Biennale in Austria, at the Nitra Gallery in Slovakia or at the Croxhapox in Gent.
Kateřina Olivová (1984) graduated from the Faculty of Visual Arts at the VUT in Brno (Studio of Body Design led by Jana Preková, later Lenka Koldová), where she is currently conducting her doctoral research. Her work focuses on the issues of womanhood, feminism, physicality, sexuality, motherhood, interpersonal relationships and emotion. In her performances, which often hover on the edge of kitsch and deliberate awkwardness, she questions ingrained social taboos. Her primary medium is her own body engaged in performances, which are often filled with bright gleaming colours, glitters, existential joy and nudity. Olivová does not draw a line between her creative work and ordinary life, so much so that is sometimes difficult to tell where her audience-oriented performance ends and where her own lifestyle begins. Besides creative work, she is also active as a curator for the Umakart Gallery in Brno and was the founding member of the Mothers Artlovers supporting group for (among others) mother artists. She has presented her work at solo and joint exhibitions especially on the Czech independent scene, but she also regularly takes her performances to symposia and festivals such as the Festival of Naked Forms in Vrané nad Vltavou or the ART.eria 2016 public space in Czestochowa.
Adéla Součková (1985) graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Prague (Studio Painting II / School of Vladimír Skrepl) and from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Dresden. She has completed a study visit in Salzburg and took part in a residency at the Art in General in New York in 2017. Her primary means of expression are drawing and painting, but her work also incorporates performance and object installation or video. Thematically, her work draws on the conflict of nature and culture, on old mythologies and archetypes, but also on current discussions about ecology and feminism. Součková regularly exhibits her work in independent galleries in the Czech Republic and Germany. Her work has been presented at the Brno House of Arts, at label201 in Rome, at Zwitschermaschine in Berlin or at the MWW Muzeum Współczesne in Wroclaw. In 2015, she was nominated for the final round of the Young Painting Critics Award. She lives and works in Prague and Berlin.
In 1990, playwright, writer and former Czech president Václav Havel, artist Theodor Pištěk and poet and artist Jiří Kolář established a prize for young Czech artists under the age of 35. The prize carries the name of the prominent Czech visual art and literary critic, essayist and philosopher Jindřich Chalupecký, and is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of visual arts. It is designated for the generation of emerging artists whose work has the potential to attain recognition on the Czech and international arts scene and is exceptional in terms of both form and content. The prize is awarded annually by the Jindřich Chalupecký Society, a prominent subject on the post-revolutionary Czech arts scene, which organises exhibitions, accompanying events, discussions, conferences and artist residencies, and aims to raise the profile of contemporary Czech art at home and abroad.