When looking at the Slovak art scene in recent times, one can not overlook the increased interest in the topic of art and life in the public space. Its culmination was sparked by the dissatisfying state of the country‘s societal debate and political reality. Its nerve nodes are ideological monuments represented in sculptural works in public places and they are unsophisticatedly embodied in the actions of the Public Pedestal (Verejný podstavec) Initiative. In our milieu we will not find a relevant counterpart for such a tendency, with the exception of the engaged, yet however protectionist/defensive, initiative, Aliens and Herons (Vetřelci a volavky). Because the intellectual exchange between ourselves and our neighbours to the east is most similar after all to „shuttle transport“, it is in fact the exceptional sensitivity toward ideological indoctrination in the public space that can lead us to ponder the comparability of experiences in both our cultures, along with differences and the need for forms of artistic engagement.
You can indeed look at the photographs and photo-performances of Martin Kochan and Cyril Blažo from the perspective of the aforementioned tendency. They are created in the public space of contemporary Slovakia and are a commentary thereon. In comparison with the systematic activities of Verejný podstavec, it is still a matter of being their polar opposite. Kochan and Blažo’s strategy is a Dadaistically-conceived satire. The quality of the photographs is poor, but that doesn’t matter. Blažo and Kochan are concerned mainly about critical effect and spontaneous reaction. Kochan takes pictures of Blažo, who through small events comments on sculptural monuments in public spaces. Kochan – a trained sculptor – then uses the camera to spot bizarre moments in everyday life. By combining their work into one whole, a metaphorically expressive field of mutual analogies is created.
The Portraits exhibition is an expanded reprise of the Sculptures exhibition that took place this year in Bratislava’s amt_project Gallery. Cyril Blažo hosted Martin Kochan there. The artists decided to switch roles in Prague.