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The Archives of Juliús Koller

From 14. January 2020
Esterházyho palác, 1st floor, Bratislava
Curator: Petra Hanáková

The general public does not need to be reminded of the fact that the Slovak National Gallery manages the estate of conceptual artist Július Koller (1939 - 2007) (thanks to the generosity of Květa Fulierová). Koller has been omnipresent in recent years of SNG productions.

CHOLERA KOLLERA - this is what Koller himself once wrote. And this is how the Koller boom, which in time has weakened, could be summed up. However, despite the fact that many exhibitions, publications, theses and dissertations have been dedicated to Koller, the artist, collector, gatherer and hoarder, the demand is still great and so we have decided to respond to it (again).

This time, the impulse is the format of experimental expositions, which enables us to provisionally exhibit and ironically contextualize Koller in the company of other renowned hoarders.

As opposed to the interactive Kornel and Naďa Földvári' Library in the neighborhood, the freshly "boxed" Július Koller's Archives, stylishly cordoned off by a"Koller-like" net, is an untouchable exposition! At the moment, the Slovak National Gallery isn't able to open Koller's boxes on a daily basis; after all, the material is just too precious. This is one of the reasons we are making it accessible and gradually digitizing it at www.webumenia.sk and recently at www.1989.sng.sk. We have decided to present a film as an accessible introduction to Koller - his complex and wealthy life in art. The documentary made by Arnold Kojnok in 2012 entitled Fair Play captures the artist in his inspirational environment (UFO-SNP Bridge) and features period contexts of his work and its growing resonance directly after his death. The title- Fair Play quite precisely describes Koller's artistic and life philosophy.

The probes into the material of Koller's estate are not intended to deliver a comprehensive report on its contents. The selection is in essence accidental, determined by the degree of digitalization of documents and their nature. Since some works are in the form of sensitive paper media, their facsimiles are presented. The content of another exposition segment will be varied from time to time.

Július Koller is one of our most internationally respected artists. There is no simple answer to the question "Why Koller?" Perhaps it is related to the western image of us (poverty of means and the Kafka-Havel-like dimension of Koller's anti-art). However, the originality and complexity of Koller's vision of the world, his openness and the communicativeness of his artistic gesture are indisputable.

Three display cases are configured as follows; in the first we offer documentation of a specific exhibition - Textilné obrazy (Textile Pictures) of 1974. It was Koller's only one man show during the period of Normalization. The second display case is a probe into the networks of the alternative fine art scene, featuring letters, New Year's cards and mail art from Koller's colleagues. Through them we present the ethos of sharing, typical for the independent artistic scene or community. The third display case documents Koller's transcription mania, his role as a period witness, both sensitively and with certain a ironic distance, which records the "flow of history". We present here packages of diary excerpts from the years directly following the political changes in 1989 (ČAS-OPISy 1989, 1990 and 1991). Specific open pages are "curated" choices. They document the transformation of Slovak society (and the degeneration of its revolutionary ideals) in the first months following the Velvet Revolution.

Larger formats, installed on the wall, are examples of Koller's passe-partout procedures. In Koller's case, Passe-partout is a specific grasping of the world, an artistic filtering of reality - here specifically: of his own identity. 24 sheets of drawing paper chart part of the artist's life - from his birth up to his encounter with Květa Fulierová. A separate board shows Koller's interest in the world of the Celts and their braided ornaments.

 
 
 

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