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The Archives of Juliús Koller

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

Our second situational presentation of Július Koller's Archives focuses on several other aspects of his multi-layered creativity.

The first case shows Koller's lifelong captivation with geo-politics and its historical (and occult) dynamics. He copied comics-like drawings recording the movement of Celtic tribes on a map of Europe, or he paraphrased from the source by stylization. In any case, the outcome is typically Kollerian "Art Nouveau" comics. His Celtic interest, which can be found throughout his estate, includes notes about "Celtic souls" among fine artists... After all, Koller identified himself with Celtic culture (definitely more than with Slovak culture) and the Celtic world, and not only in his work full of ornamental and conceptual twists. His image of a bearded druid which underneath the visible world communicated his hidden occult sediment was also a Celtic feature.

In the next case, we opened another box from his estate and picked two items: Koller's calendars with many notes on a variety of themes from sex, through medical diagnoses up to events from the world of art. The next set of materials comprise his "accounting" documentation. He was one of the few domestic visual artists who did not make a living by creating monumental works; instead, he produced living room landscapes which were sold in the Dielo network of art shops. According to the extensive documentation, he was extremely prolific in this area. These cheap pictures of Bratislava, Tatra Mountain lakes and wooden houses in rural landscapes that were sold for one or two thousand crowns appear even today in auctions from time to time. Fans of Koller's conceptual art look down on this work, however they are proof of the (strategically?) double-entry modus vivendi of the artist in terms of socialist art operation.

On the contrary, Koller's texts on the wall represent his quintessential concept: text declaration, the idea itself is the artwork. New reality need not be carved in marble, it is enough to "extract" it from the imagination of the artist/spectator by placing words/text on ordinary paper.

The contents of the final case have not changed. They are Koller's notes from the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, after re-examining his ČAS-OPIS (Time magazine) we can present another section of his original, essentially distrustful view of Czechoslovak cultural and political transformation through the filter of sports, culture and especially pop music.


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