Mapmaking as Image-making: The Case of East Central Europe

"The intermediality of the cartographic language, utilising both text and image, makes it particularly open to the interdisciplinary inquiry from social sciences and humanities. One of the less explored avenues of further research is offered by visual studies. If the map precedes the territory, is it the image that precedes the map?"
Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius's essay compares maps of Eastern Europe, beginning from the map of Slavic lands by Josef Pavol Šafárik of 1842, and it claims that cartographic imagery has played a significant role in the legitimisation of the region’s collective identity. It argues that the adoption the map as a tool of art history, in order to spatialise and quantify the understanding of art, cannot bypass the postmodern critique of the map.
The text was first published in the Book The New Dictionary of Old Ideas (2020).



Communication campaign #ArtFromZero? responds to the current societal situation of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which is closely related to visual art and culture in general. What do art and culture mean for our society? Can we turn the current "zero point" into an opportunity to effectively set up economic, value or educational relationships? Kunsthalle Bratislava approached a wide range of Slovak visual artists to share their views on the current situation from the position of art and live artistic practice through a short home-video, or in another form. Their task was to authentically and authorially answer three questions that together could offer a picture of the perception of the meaning of art, of what can be a key role of art in a time of forced quarantine and an uncertain future. Respondents: Oto Hudec, Peter Rónai, Viliam Slaminka, Blažej Baláž, András Cséfalvay, Ján Triaška, Ivana Šáteková, Boris Sirka, Monika a Bohuš Kubinskí, Stano Masár, Rudolf Sikora

History of the Foksal Gallery from a new perspective

"In the nineteen sixties, the Foksal in Warsaw and the Václav Špála in Prague were the only two avant-garde galleries in the Eastern Bloc. Nowadays, the Foksal is known all over the world and its history, perforce, fits the current artistic and political context very well. However, it does so in a way which its co-founders never anticipated, to which I testify in this essay. In a sense, the Foksal tradition has been continued to this day by the gallery itself in its past home on ulica Foksal and by the plans, both local and international, for the Foksal Gallery Foundation, which is located on ulica Górskiego in Warsaw. Meanwhile, the distant history of the Foksal of the nineteen sixties has met with an unexpected revival beyond Poland, in France, as a kind of hope for the future." writes Anka Ptaszkowska in her essay published in Blok Magazine.

East Slovak Gallery shows its acquisitions from 2015 - 2020 at the exhibition 7140+

The exhibition project 7140+ presents new works acquired in the collection of the East Slovak Gallery in 2015-2020. The exhibition's ambition is to present the East-Slovak Gallery - the Museum of Art - as a memory and collecting institution that acquires, preserves, presents and professionally evaluates the cultural heritage of Slovakia. The collection of the gallery focuses on four areas - art of the 19th century, the interwar period, especially the avant-garde overlaps of Košice modernism, post-war art, and the latest area is contemporary art. The acquisition strategy of the gallery focuses on complementing the collections of the museum’s most important artists, as well as on the individual thematic cycles. The gallery acquired 207 new works mainly by purchase, but also by gift or transfer. The name 7140+ refers to the number of works currently managed by the East Slovak Gallery Collection.

Years of Disarray 1908–1928 focuses on the watershed decades of modern and avant-garde art in Central Europe.

Years of Disarray 1908–1928 focuses on the watershed decades of modern and avant-garde art in Central Europe. It offers an extensive and detailed account of the cultural history of Austria-Hungary and the new states created after its collapse in 1918. Twelve thematic sections introduce readers to the art of the time, providing examples of the work of hundreds of artists, from expressionism in 1908 to abstraction in 1928. Attention is paid not only to names that are famous today but to numerous other artists who helped to create the fierce atmosphere of a hectic period, and almost forty magazines and anthologies of the period interlinking Central European art centres such as Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Zagreb, Belgrade, Košice, Lvov, Warsaw, Vilnius and Novi Sad. The book contains more than 900 illustrations, artist and magazine profiles and a detailed chronology. Its breadth and depth make it a unique piece of scholarship on Central Europe.


Day after day: How Július Koller documented the Velvet Revolution 30 years ago

The Slovak National Gallery has published dozens of notebooks, in which Július Koller documented the events of the revolutionary days of November 1989. It's a fascinating look into the past. "During the night and in the morning it was raining. Morning +13 °C. Everything is in motion in Czechoslovakia, only the Czechoslovak government don't want to admit that their time is over and that new times are coming." Július Koller wrote down propheticly on 1st November 1989. On that day, similarly as on other days before and after, he sat down with his lined paper and wrote. He wrote everything he heard from the radio or read in the newspaper and added his own comments. On the 1st November he filled seven densely written pages. On these he informed about the prostests in East Germany, about discharging Havel from the hospital as well as about the situation in Kosovo and Portugal. (

The End of the World? by Rudolf Sikora on display in Ostrava

The latest exhibition by Rudolf Sikora (*1946, Žilina) at the Gallery of Fine Arts in Ostrava focuses on issues of ecology and the environment. Sikora has conceived the exhibition as an urgent appeal to everybody who cares about the future of our civilization and our planet – which the world’s leading scientific figures now consider to be under acute threat of ecological collapse, and indeed very close to self-destruction. Sikora has been concerned with environmental issues since the beginning of his career in the late 1960s and early 70s. In his later work, he addressed questions of ecology in the broader context of cosmology. Having studied materials of the Club of Rome and its report The Limits to Growth (1972, which Sikora acquired in samizdat form from Poland), he became aware of the urgency of the ecological threats that had been articulated by some of the world’s leading scientists.

Magdalena Jetelova presents her Patagonian project Pacific Ring of Fire in Munich

Until December 7, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Christliche Kunst, Munich, is showing the exhibition ‘Essential is visible’ with Magdalena Jetelova. The latest project of Czech artist Magdalena Jetelova (born 1946) ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, as in her 1992 ‘Iceland Project’, revisits the theme of the natural, geological borders. The Pacific Ring of Fire is a volcanic belt that surrounds the pacific plate in a horseshoe shape. In Patagonia, Jetelova uses mathematical calculations to mark the plate boundary with a laser beam, as clear elevations are not visible due to the eternal ice. Messages like ‘Essential is visible’ were written with a laser pointer on the changing, partly collapsing icebergs. The drastic geological changes caused by climate change clearly resound in these photographic images presented in large-format light boxes.

Exhibition of Laco Teren at the Slovak National Gallery

The exhibition of Laco Teren (born in 1960 in Bratislava) at the Slovak National Gallery will present the key points of his artistic program and comprehensively capture his unique artistic and genuinely "versatile" personality. Although predominantly a painter, from time to time he also dabbles in sculpture. Since the early 1990s he has also designed and created spatial objects which are based on the iconographic and style repertoire of his painting art. Without a doubt, the main sphere of his interest is painting, but his work features an overlap of drawing, painting and sculpture. Post-Modernist irrationality, humor, absurd metaphor, allegory and particularly plays with symbols have found their place in Teren's work - he is a master of creating hybrid signs and pop-culture rebuses of various designations.

Az áthágás technikái – Felforgató gyakorlatok a hatvanas-hetvenes évek magyar neoavantgárdjában

2019 októberében Az áthágás technikái címmel a Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum gyűjteményének magyar neoavantgárd anyaga mutatkozik be Rómában, a Palazzo delle Esposizioni-ban. A 1960-as, 70-es évekre fókuszáló kiállítás azokat a művészi pozíciókat vonultatja fel, amelyek nem pusztán a hagyományos esztétikai keretek kitágítását tűzték ki célul, hanem tartalmuk, médiumuk vagy megvalósulásuk körülményei révén a kor hivatalos felfogásával is szembehelyezkedtek.

Exhibition For the Truth is focusing on the theme of Truth in the context of Czech history

The exhibition For the truth... focusing on the theme of truth in the context of Czech history is currently taking place at Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague. Over three dozen contemporary Czech artists are presented at the exhibition.
On Wednesday 25.9. as a part of the accompanying programs, the gallery organises a debate on the theme of The Truth in the Arts which will be attended by artists and theorists Milena Bartlová, Stanislav Kolíbal, David Kořínek, Terezie Nekvindová and moderated by Václav Janoščík.


Tate Modern presents the work of Dóra Maurer in a year-long exhibition

Tate Modern, London, presents the work of Hungarian artist Dóra Maurer (born 1937) in a year-long free exhibition.It brings together some 35 works, including graphic works, photographs, films and paintings. Spanning more than five decades, the show highlights the playful conceptual approach that she brings to her experiments across all media. Concurrently, White Cube gallery, London, shows Maurer’s paintings from three distinct series ‘Overlappings’, ‘Quod Libet’ and ‘IXEK’. The display is complemented by a documentary about the author produced by CEAD.

In the Space of Magdalena Abakanowicz

The exhibition In the Space of Magdalena Abakanowicz, presented in the spring at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (part of the National Museum), in summer showing as an extended version in all galleries and the Sculpture Park in Orońsko the multifaceted works of Magdalena Abakanowicz. The most famous abacanas are accompanied by sculptures made of resin-crafted jute canvas, including Standing figures (1986-1987), Plecy (1976), Mutants (1994-1996), and Oracz (1996-1997). The exhibition shows how important the human figure was to the artist.

Běla Kolářová: Motion / Time

A small exhibition at the Liberec Regional Gallery with the working title New Sensitivity of Běla Kolářová (1923–2010) is conceived as a representative selection from the work of an artist nowadays regarded one of the outstanding figures of the international post-war art scene. The selection will contain rare works from her first creative stage, when Kolářová worked with photography (1955–1964), and works from her second creative period, starting in 1964, when she leaned towards assemblage and, later, created remarkable drawings with makeup. There will be works from her estate and several significant works from Czech public and private collections.

Václav Cigler, Michal Motyčka: Space of Man I, II, III

The exhibition Space of Man at the North Bohemian Gallery of Fine Arts in Litoměřice presents a cross-section of Cigler's work on landscape projects from the 1960s, projects and compositions for architecture and installations of Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka from the years 2003–2019, which show a wide range of common thinking in many levels, from sensory experience to understanding implicit symbolic meanings.
The exhibition takes place in all the premises of the temporal exhibitions in the main building (II) and in the parkan (III). In the Mini Gallery (I), which is intended for the views of the collections, is presented the work of Václav Cigler Half Egg, acquired in 1997. 

Sounds / Codes / Images – Audio Experimentation in the Visual Arts

The exhibition of Prague City Gallery in the Stone Bell House offers a historical overview of art that depicts sound as an abstract phenomenon, from the beginnings of abstraction to the present day. Its main focus is to trace the most important trends in audio experimentation in the field of the visual arts, in the form of paintings or graphic scores as well as audio installations, acoustic objects, film, and multimedia projections. Through the selection of historical materials, it aims to show how sound acquires color and shape, how it becomes an object or architecture, and what psychological as well as physical and mathematical factors determine its visual form. The exhibition also presents works by artists who have, on either the local or international level, shifted the way we think about artistic experimentation.

Stanislav Kolíbal (CZ) presents a retrospective of his work at the 58th International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice

Kolíbal was born in the same year when Czechoslovakia opened its pavilion in the gardens of the Venetian castle. The theme of this year's Biennale Arte 2019 is an old Chinese curse "May You Live In Interesting Times", that refer to times of unrest and uncertainty. Time is also one of the basic elements of Kolíbal's work, and different times in his life brought different perspectives on the perception of creation.

Carnations and Velvet / Art and Revolution in Portugal and Czechoslovakia 1968–1974–1989

Prague City Gallery under the name Carnations and Velvet / Art and Revolution in Portugal and Czechoslovakia for the first time presents Portuguese art in the Czech lands and Slovakia. The common starting point is the year 1968, the time of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia and the spring of Marcelo Caetano in Lisbon. This year brought about first hopes for the end of the existing undemocratic regimes – the hopes that were thwarted by the Soviet occupation in Czechoslovakia and by the continuation of the colonial war in Portugal. The years 1974 (the Carnation Revolution) and 1989 (the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia), the dates of peaceful revolutions, brought freedom to both countries.

Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka │ Luminously

The artistic interventions of Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka Luminously highlight the ancient environment of Zdík's Palace or the Romanesque tower of St. Barbara in the Olomouc Archdiocesan Museum and follow up on the exhibition of drawings by Václav Cigler in the Olomouc Museum of Modern Art. From June 13, they will be supplemented by another artistic intervention by Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka Externalization, which will enrich the premises of the Archbishop's Chateau (Picture Gallery) and the Flower Garden in Kroměříž. 

Václav Cigler│Drawings

Sculptor, architect and pedagogue Václav Cigler (* 1929) is indelibly written into the history of the world fine art, because he was the first to work with optical glass. However, his work is much more diverse, as shows an extensive exhibition of his drawings at the Olomouc Museum of Art - Museum of Modern Art from March 21, 2019. It will be followed by art interventions by Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka in the Flower Garden and in the Picture Gallery of the Kroměříž Archbishop's Chateau and the installation in the Archdiocesan Museum in Olomouc.

The National Gallery Prague opens the first exhibition in its planned cycle ‘Salm Modern’: Dimensions of Dialogue

In collaboration with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) and the Sammlung Hoffmann Berlin, the National Gallery Prague (NGP) presents a selection of first-rate artworks from the Sammlung Hoffmann’s donation to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden at the Salm Palace, never before seen outside Germany in such breadth and scope. The exhibition Dimensions of Dialogue introduces pioneering figures in modern and contemporary art, including Marina Abramović, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Antony Gormley, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, whose work enters into dialogue with Czech artistic production.

VIDEO DAY 1989/2018│First group exhibition of Czech videoart

VIDEO ​DAY 1989/2018 is an event that freely reconstructs the first group exhibition of videoart in Czechoslovakia. The exhibition will take just one day (September 4th, 2018) just like the original VIDEO DAY and will take place in the same place (Prague Exhibition Grounds).

Conference: Adriena Šimotová in the Context of Visual Art and Culture from the 20th Century Onwards

Conference prepared by the Adriena Šimotová and Jiří John Foundation, in association with the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University and the Art Theory and History Department of the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the birth of Adriena Šimotová. The conference is being held under the aegis of J. E. Charles Malinas, the French Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Adriana Krnáčová, the Mayor of Prague, and Tomáš Zima, the Rector of Charles University.
Venue: Patriotic Hall, Carolinum, Ovocný trh 3, Praha 1

XXL Views of Contemporary Slovak Art | GASK

‘XXL Views of Contemporary Slovak Art’ is a long-term exhibition project that presents leading Slovak artists.  The artists are presented in a direct dialogue with recognised Slovak, Czech and international art historians, critics and theoreticians who focus on their work. It is the most important programmatic survey of Slovak art in the Czech Republic. The exhibition series was staged at the Slovak Institute in Prague from 2011 and has been staged at GASK since 2014.

Conference to mark the centenary of the beginning of Dada in Zurich: DADA TECHNIQUES IN EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE (1916–1930)

The ‘Petőfi Literary Museum – Kassák Museum’ and the ‘Institute for Literary Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ are organizing a conference to mark the centenary of the beginning of Dada in Zurich. The conference is going to concentrate on Dada phenomena in East-Central Europe, especially the Dada techniques that appeared in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its successor states.

MeetFactory (CZ) | Fightlessness

The Hungarian art group Little Warsaw (András Gálik and Bálint Havas) belongs to the most striking artists of their generation, which emerged on the contemporary art scene after the year 1989. Their work is closely connected with issues specific in the context of former Eastern Bloc countries – analysis and re-contextualization of objects and ideas from the past, deconstruction of common art forms, a striking anti-establishment attitude, a critical mirror held up to modernism, retro-avant-garde, conceptualism and neo-conceptualism, the expansion of the borders of art and transfer of artistic discourse into a broader social reality.

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Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2016