press release

...In the beginning there was action... says Goethe. According to Bakhtin we must understand the 'self' as a dynamic, embodied and continually creative entity, who tries to give meaning and value to his/her life and the surroundings… One is forced to transform the given immanent necessity and the objective factuality of the environment into a coherent 'world-for-me'.

The exhibition Get Together is an actual get together of young Danish art group Janfamily, Jiří Kovanda from Czech Republic, and Otis Laubert from Slovakia. Jiří Kovanda and Otis Laubert are artists who are working as phenomenologist of everyday since seventies. Jiří Kovanda's usually worked in the public space, in the manner of changing the everyday physical and perceptional patterns. His micro performances were not focused on specific public, on the contrary they were interfering with anyone, sometimes also no one. Otis Laubert is working more within private space in terms of building a huge archive, entitled Depozit. After selecting, collecting and archiving the objects, the Depozit becomes main inspirational source. Otis is remaking the objects so that they gain a new form and meaning. While Jiří is changing our path of everyday movements and mindset, Otis is on the other hand changing our perception of objects and materiality surrounding us. All this is implied in the work of open and collaborative group Janfamily, who are hacking everyday, and adding new values to reality by transforming casual gestures and actions. The exhibition Get together is a phenomena by itself – an accented moment in everyday – which is realizing the longing for the common project and exhibition that was first thought of in winter 2006 when Jiří Kovanda, Otis Laubert and three artists from the group Janfamily met for the first time at the occasion organized by Gallery Priestor, Bratislava.

We can change the everyday world into a space full of meaning, in which personal values are significant and an individual decides between active engagement and complete non-engagement, constantly changing himself/herself. An individual thus confronts a different and changed 'self', while his/her life and situations, which emerge, evolve. Everything is unfinished and open to further alterations.

BIOGRAPHIES: JANFAMILY In January 2004 Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund founded the London-based Janfamily art collective as a publishing and exhibition platform. The collective, which is not a closed circle but a flexible structure, constantly adapting to each project, consists of members of different nationalities, who collaborate and contribute individual work to events, exhibitions or books. Janfamily has published three artists' books, including the last one “Plans For Other Days” which was published by the internationally acclaimed publishing house Booth-Clibborn Editions. Since 2004 their artists' book project has been exhibited in M+R Gallery / London, V1 Gallery / Copenhagen, Black Block and Palais de Tokyo / Paris, Uniondocs / New York, Queensnailsannex / San Francisco, Sundown Saloon / Los Angeles, Display Gallery / Prague and Space/Gallery Priestor / Bratislava. Their work has been featured in some of the most influential international culture and fashion magazines such as Tank, Sugo, Sexymachinery and IDEA. The Get Together exhibition presents work by Nina Jan Beier, Marie Jan Lund and Chosil Jan Kil.

Nina Jan Beier and Marie Jan Lund study relations and spaces that form between people. They work with staged photography and video to document the situations created by individuals or groups. Toying with social customs, manipulating identities and creating situations in front of the camera they do not limit themselves on documenting but also focus on attitudes and reactions of involved persons. Creation, communication, and working with people can take place by way of workshops including a written or spoken manual. They also create objects which they manipulate so as to present the audience with their alternative uses, thus producing new situations. As a rule, their work is a study of identities, and the pursuit of collectivism through adaptation and appropriation.

Chosil Jan Kil observes everyday life and associations connected with it. She interprets them and interweaves them into her artwork. She illustrates the process of digesting the everyday world by domesticating and appropriating it. Her world begins to grow and becomes her own domestic environment which she can control. Through her approach, she is actively involved in her own personal environment, and expands the development of a personal experiment and intervention into a new social setting. She replaces the inability to function inside the enclosure, she has either created or chosen for herself, with a certain level of freedom in order to be able to honestly and directly express her frustration. In the space which opens up between structured intervention and the freedom arising from suspending her own reality, she develops the mystery of storytelling.

Jiri Kovanda (born 1953, lives and works in Prague) Jiří Kovanda first appeared on the art scene with the second generation of Czech „actionism” in the late 1970s. Kovanda’s ephemeral activities focused on the discovery of new types of relationships, which the artist adopted with his friends as well as with anonymous passers-by in the streets. His performances take place in public space, without a stage and often without an audience. Since the mid-70s he has made small incursions into what we perceive as normal behaviour by inserting an element of uncertainty. Kovanda’s minimalist actions and interventions were often so subtle they were almost imperceptible. The observer finds himself in a situation that is open to various interpretations and possibilities. Through methods that are as minimal and poetic as they are down to earth, Jirí Kovanda provides an alternative view on our surroundings. In the eighties he painted and drew and in the nineties he worked with small suspended objects of used pieces of furniture. His work, be it installation, public performance or artist's book, appeared at numerous exhibitions including Prague Biennale 2, Cordially Invited in Centraal Museum / Utrecht, Nejsem proti in Dům pánů z Kunštátu / Brno, Parallel Actions in Austrian Cultural Forum / New York, Body and the East in Exit Art /New York, Aspekte/Positionen. 50 Jahre Kunst aus Mitteleuropa 1949–1999 Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig / Vienna, ...He is interested in what is defined as low or private.

Otis Laubert (born 1946, lives in works in Bratislava) Otis Laubert represents one of the few authentic values, an isolated and specific Slovakian artistic phenomenon of the conceptual art, visual poetry, ready-made and found objects in particular. By its style and means of expression his work created an artistic parallel to everyday life. His creation has a high degree of summarizing and complexity that relates and reacts to each other, comments and complements to each other while expressing various aspects of the artist's interest in mutual relations. We could say Otis' major summarizing work is his archive (Otis calls it deposit) - the collection of various objects, originating around 1965 and containing thousands of things ordered according to certain rules. In 1986 he staged a fascinating and progressive series of installations in the basement of a house which culminated in 1988 with the outstanding exhibition Avcájder (a phonetic rendering of the English "outsider"), and few months later he initiated the group exhibition Basement in the same place. Similar project is the exhibition Drawings for which he founded A Branch of Guggenheim Museum in Europe in the flats in Moskovská Street and Železničiarska Street in Bratislava. He conceived the exhibition’s visual impact by himself, and dedicated it above all to the presentation of his own work and the work of his friends. Laubert works with everyday objects, and the materials themselves often determined the direction each piece is taking. At the same time, the gallery space itself is often used as a source of inspiration. His work was also showed at Prague Biennale / Prague, in Mattress Factory / Pittsburgh, O Zwei / Berlin, Slovak Paper Art / New York, Walter Gropius Bau / Berlin, in SPACE/Gallery Priestor / Bratislava, ...

Artists: Janfamily / Nina Jan Beier (Denmark), Marie Jan Lund (Denmark), Chosil Jan Kil (South Korea); Jiří Kovanda (Czech Republic); Otis Laubert (Slovakia)

Curators: Dunja Kukovec; Josephine Jan Michau The programme of Škuc Gallery is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.


only in german

Kuratoren: Dunja Kukovec; Josephine Jan Michau

mit Janfamily (Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Chosil Jan Kil), Jiri Kovanda, Otis Laubert