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Action ZET / Art-historical Undertaking

19. November 2020 — 4. December 2022
Esterházyho palác, Bratislava

As of November this year, artist Marcel Mališ will be painting his authorial replica of the lost work in the SNG atrium under a changed title ThanksSeeming of the Czechoslovak People. How precisely he will copy the origin is up to his decision. The gallery will be his "studio" and the picture will develop in front of the public eye. The painting action will become a starting point of a new experimental genre - an art undertaking which reflects our thinking about the status of the national gallery as an educational institution of today; a place of asking questions and looking for answers.

In the hot June of the year 1950, which will have become the new dark era of our modern history, in that June when Milada Horáková was executed, a trio of artists begins their work at a monumental propagandistic commission. Jan Čumpelík, Jaromír Schoř, and Alena Čermáková as members of the Č.S.Č. creative collective (where Č.S.Č. stands for the capital letters of their surnames) start painting an iconic work of the Socialist Realism Thanksgiving of Czech and Slovak People to Generalissimo Stalin. The monumental picture (8.7 x 8 m) should represent the servility of Czechoslovakia at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy in Moscow, but eventually becomes the highlight of the exhibition of the Czechoslovak-Soviet Friendship in Art at the Prague Žofín. The picture is given special attention - the media speak about it on regular basis, its unveiling is accompanied by adequate media attention, it is showcased at the presence of politicians, and filmed. However, the enthusiasm soon fades away and the picture becomes a target of criticism. In March 1953, its main protagonist dies and the picture disappears forever.

The undertaking is an opportunity for raising several issues that have been disturbingly present (not only) in our art. Apart from the 1950s situation, we will also address the relation of propaganda and art, hoaxes, building of a personality cult, or the topic of fear, relation between an original and a copy, authorship issues, monumental works, commissioned artworks, patronage, or perception and understanding of problematic periods of our history. Termination of the project is planned for 27 June, 2021 - symbolically for the day of Milada Horáková's execution anniversary.

"… our motivation is the belief that there is only one road against the danger of totalitarianism - a road of experience and free discussion about what should be avoided." (Traumfabrik Kommunismus, 2003)

Lost Saint (2021)

The first Czecho-Slovak detective story with art-historical plot, comic, and historical moral

Action ZET is a parallel activity to a publication of the first Czechoslovak detective story with art historical plot, a comic strip, and a historical moral. The book is being written by Ondřej Horák (Fuczik) together with Alexandra Kusá. The illustrations are taken care of by Jindřich Janíček and the design by Nikola Klímová - both from the publishing house Take Take Take. You will be able to enjoy the book in the spring 2021.

Action ZET has been prepared at the occasion of the exhibition and publishing project Cold Revolution (Jérôme Bazin, Joanna Kordjak) in the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.

Action ZET is a co-creation of:

Marcel Mališ

He entered the art scene with his critical hyper-realistic painting. He has been using this technique to mediate critical contents related not only to topical art issues, but social ones, too. He has long been interested in interpretation of political affairs and social "body", as well as in current trends in philosophy and aesthetics; he does not even try to avoid being tagged as a moralist.

Ondřej Horák (Fuczik)

A famous popularizer of fine art, architecture, and allied disciplines in the Czechoslovak territory. An author of films, TV programmes, scripts, subjects, publications, exhibitions, and other acts related to art. A secret romantic who believes in the moral, creative, and driving force of art and a Magnesia Litera award holder.

Samuel Chovanec

He co-creates and programs multimedia installations intensely involving creative thinking. He is the newest recruit to our team. His first realisation is an integral part of the exhibition Generation 909.76. Within the Action ZET, he is going to vivify the large-format painting by creating an installation that will work with the topic of banality of evil.

Braňo Matis

A wide-spanning graphic designer convinced that functional design can be an interpretation partner of any project. An author of the graphic identity and innovative information system of the future national gallery premises. He has long been working in SNG as a graphic support in authorial tandem with Pavlína Morháčová.


An original platform of SNG operating since 2015, within which our colleagues and external collaborators carry out and explore the possibilities of digital technology usage in gallery and museum practice. The viewers can get acquainted with the results of their work not only at their visit of the gallery through digital content discreetly and characteristically integrated into the exhibition premises, but also online. lab.SNG assistance and experience have been used by other galleries, institutions, and initiative as well.

SNG Programme Team

The marketing and programming department, together with the team of gallery pedagogues have been dedicated to intelligent mediation of museum contents to the public, and to education through art. Apart from programme dramaturgy, the team prepares methodological anchoring and the very introduction and establishment of such kind of thinking within common practices of the national gallery.


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