press release

I (Ich) I Performative Ontology is the third part or “act” in a series of exhibitions taking place in Bratislava (I Narrow Focus, June 29—August 14, 2005, tranzit), Prague (I Já, May 3—June 20, 2006, Futura Gallery) and Vienna, with a somewhat different constellation of artists in each, while its core, or perhaps the thematic sphere it contains, remains the same.

In philosophy, ontology is defined in connection with the idea of conceptualization: “A conceptualization is an abstract, simplified view of the world that we wish to represent for some purpose.” (T.R. Gruber, A Translation Approach to Portable Ontology Specifications, 1993)

However, instead of aiming to define the concept in philosophical terms, the exhibition is about what this definition of ontology cannot capture because it concerns a matrix that changes over time. Ontology exists only in particular lives, in individuals, in the ‘I’ in concrete time. Ontology interests us not as a verbal or theoretical dimension in the existence of the individual, but rather as a performative, temporal dimension. Which is why we speak of performative ontology.

Like a theater play, I (Ich) I Performative Ontology is divided into three acts that follow on from one another: I. Set-up (Sept 21—Oct 7, 2006), II. Confrontation (Oct 8—Oct 25), III. Resolution (Oct 26—Nov 12, 2006). Some of the works will be visible during one act alone, others during two acts, and others during the course of the entire exhibition. Those works temporarily not on show, however, will not be removed, but merely concealed behind a curtain or switched off. Viewers are called on to imagine the missing artworks (on the basis of the title and media) and to visit the exhibition multiple times.

The works shown at the Secession deal with temporality, the relation between subjective and general knowledge, between intimacy and publicness. Some are records of important life situations, others are analytical observations of social structures.

Ján Mančuška, for example, writes a simple sentence on the wall: “43. The number of inhales and exhales I made while drawing this number.” In her video performance Personal Politics (2003), Loulou Chérinet interviews several Egyptian women abut their lives and everyday problems. These conversations conducted in Arabic are translated by a non-professional translator who is present in the exhibition. During this communication, the personal views and attitudes of the translator and of the viewers inevitably become mixed with the work.

Alan Currall describes his video Message to my best friend (2001) as a performance in front of the camera. Calmly, almost detached, he addresses his intimate declaration of love (for a very good friend) straight to the viewer.

Jiří Skála‘s piece entitled Volume every numbers of my family (2002) consists of four “Minimalist” cardboard boxes. Each box is a different size, derived from the volume of the artist’s family members. Ignoring the external appearance of his family, he undertakes a dubious attempt at portraying their inner life. The cardboard boxes are empty.

A catalogue will be printed to accompany the exhibition, with autobiographical contributions by all artists included in the three exhibitions in Bratislava, Prague, and Vienna.

Vít Havránek Vít Havránek is an theoretician and organizer based in Prague, Czech Republic. Since 2002 he is working as a project leader of tranzit / supported by the Erste Bank Group. He worked as a curator for the Municipal Gallery, Prague and National Gallery in Prague. He lectures in contemporary art at the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague. He has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, e.g.: (Prague, 2006, Bratislava 2005), project The Need to Document (Basel, Lueneburg, Prague, 2005), Definitions of Everyday (Prague Biennale 2, 2005), Lantena Magika (Paris, 2002), Jiří Kovanda (Brno, 2004), Otto Piene (Prague 2002), Action, Word, Movement, Space (Prague, 1999). He has had publications on contemporary art in catalogues, has edited and co-edited books (most notably Jiří Kovanda, 2006, The Need to Document, 2005, LantenaMagika, 2002, Action, Word, Movement, Space, 1999, and has written for contemporary art magazines (Springerin, Artist, Flash Art) and others.


only in german

kuratiert von Vit Havranek (

mit Bas Jan Ader, Fikret Atay, Johanna Billing, Pavel Braila, Loulou Chérinet, Martin Creed, Alan Currall, Omer Fast, Stano Filko, Lise Harlev, Saskia Holmkvist, Jiri Kovanda, Jan Mancuska, Fiorenza Menini, Yan Peiming, Ivan Moudov, Roman Ondák, Boris Ondreicka, Jiri Skala, Barbara Visser, Silvie Vondrejcova, Lawrence Weiner, Ella Ziegler

29.06.05 - 14.08.05 tranzit, Bratislava ("I Narrow Focus")
03.05.06 - 20.06.06 Futura Gallery, Prag ("I Já")
22.09.06 - 12.11.06 Wiener Secession, Wien