Frisbee
Contemporary Czech video art and new media, 2004 – 2006

  • Bucharest (MNAC) 7. 12. 2004 – 10. 1. 2005
  • Amsterdam (De Veemvloer) 25. 6. – 30. 6. 2005
  • Brno (The Brno House of Arts) 8. 2. – 12. 3. 2006
  • Ostrava (Sokolská 26) 24. 8. – 29. 9. 2006
  • Liberec (Die Aktualität des Schönen) 31. 10. – 17. 11. 2006

Curator: František Kowolowski in cooperation with David Možný.

Represented artists: Jesper Alvaer, Zbyněk Baladrán, Filip Cenek and Jiří Havlíček, Milena Dopitová, Anetta Mona Chisa, Richard Fajnor, Guma Guar, Lukáš Hájek, Petr Lysáček and Denisa Fialová, David Možný, Pavel Mrkus, Jan Nálevka, Michal Pěchouček, Rekord, Pavel Ryška, Patrik Sedlaczek and Jiří Kotrla, Jan Stolín, Jiří Surůvka, Jan Šerých, Martin Zet, Petr Zubek.

Frisbee was an international travelling exhibition of contemporary Czech video art held in the period of 2004-2006. The project was originated by curator of The Brno House of Arts František Kowolowski and visual artist David Možný. The initial idea of organizing an exhibition to map the events on the contemporary video art scene was born at the beginning of Kowolowski’s teaching career at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology (FaVU) in 2004. As an external lecturer in the video studio of Peter Rónaj, he became familiar with the works of the young generation focusing on the moving image and the use of new technologies. Besides their long-time friendship, Kowolowski’s cooperation with David Možný was also based on Možný’s long-time interest and work in the field of video art. The growing attention focusing on the new technologies and their original aesthetic lead them to a decision of introducing a more complex picture of this form of artistic expression. A similar intention was already manifest in the exhibition Český obraz elektronický (Czech Electronic Image) held in the Mánes Gallery in Prague in 1994, however, it was employed in a period context. In han interview for Literární noviny, Kowolowski said that their aim was to present video as an essential medium as well as its concrete generation categorization. At the Frisbee exhibition, Kowolowski and Možný presented an art generation which has entered the scene in the 1990s as well as the generation of the turn of the century. In the curator’s text accompanying the exhibition, Kowolowski described the varying conceptual approaches of the individual artists: What is crucial for them is the moment of recording or creating an image as the primary grasp of the present or long passed reality. They are balancing on the border between reality and fiction, the personal and the public, the present and the past. Through their “borderline” interpretation, they try to stabilize their existence in the uncertainties of the system. According to Kowolowski, the title Frisbee is related to the presence of the image in the time-spatial continuum, appearing and disappearing again. Lasting a single second or even one-hundredth of a second, the image only appears in our memory later, like a frisbee that comes and goes, however, the principal idea is retained through the image. Referring to the fact that all selected media have been processed digitally, the subtitle “Current Czech video art and new media” can be perceived as a certain strategy of indicating the contemporary character of the exhibition to the visitor. For the first exhibition, seventeen artists have been selected by Kowolowski and Možný. Due to the curatorial effort of introducing Czech video art in international context as well as to Kowolowski’s long-term co-operation with Romanian artists and organizations, Frisbee was premiered in the newly opened National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) in Bucharest at the turn of 2004/2005. Occupying the former People’s House built during the Ceaușescu regime, the institution showed a great interest in the project. After the opening exhibitions by renowned international curators such as Nicolas Bourriaud, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Juan Manuel Bonet and Andrés Trapiello, Frisbee became the very first individual exhibition project of the new museum. In June 2005, the exhibition travelled to the De Veemvloer Gallery in Amsterdam; only in 2006, the exhibition of Czech video art was presented to the Czech visitors for the first time in the House of the Lords of Kunštát. The Brno selection was complemented by the works by Jesper Alvaer, Anetta Mona Chisa, Milena Dopitová and others. In this way, the exhibition achieved a relevant information value as to the current state of Czech audiovisual art. The exhibition was accompanied by the section of Contemporary Romanian Video Art – Cutia Neagra / Black Box curated by Florin Tudor from Bucharest. In the same year, Frisbee was also presented in the Sokolská 26 Gallery in Ostrava and the Die Aktualität des Schönen Gallery in Liberec. The exhibition also provided a catalogue and a DVD compilation. Besides the curators’ explication, the DVD includes a video archive of all videos presented at the Brno exhibition. The videos are also available on the internet website of The Brno House of Arts.

Since the Frisbee project represented the very first attempt to map the current video art since the Český obraz elektronický exhibition, it has earned both recognition and criticism. In his article Revoluce s ostrahou (Revolution with Caution), theorist Jiří Ptáček appreciated Kowolowski’s work with the demanding gallery space, however, he also added: In general, Kowolowski’s selection showed the wide range of the representations of the media of video and animation as well as their mutual penetration and influence in the times of digital user software. However, those visitors who expected a more concrete interpretation model may have been disappointed (…) Mentioning the importance of “borderline connections” and system anomalies such as “vagueness, non-systemic approach, nonsense and, in the best of cases, imagination,” he tread on thin ice of how to present these qualities in limited conditions. In her reaction to the issue, curator of the Moravian Gallery in Brno Yvona Ferencová said that rather than giving an exhausting overview of the current events on the scene of video art and new media, the Frisbee exhibition presents a neutral reflection of its state.

Sources:

  • FABUŠ, Palo. Talíř, který přilétne a zase odlétne. Literární noviny: kulturně-politický týdeník, 2006, 8, [cit. 2011-11-14]. Dostupný z WWW: .
  • FABUŠ, Palo. Libí se mi prostor významů a snů. Literární noviny: kulturně-politický týdeník. 2005, 36, [cit. 2011-11-5]. Dostupný z WWW: .
  • FERENCOVÁ, Yvona. Jak zavřít tlamy lvům. A2: kulturní čtrnáctideník. 2006, 10, [cit. 2011-11-5]. Dostupný z WWW: .
  • MÍČOVÁ, Pavlína. Frisbee – současný český videoart a nová média. Atelier: čtrnáctideník současného výtvarného umění. 2006, 19, 7, s. 16.
  • PTÁČEK, Jiří. Revoluce s ostrahou. Umělec: časopis pro současné umění a kulturu. 2004, 4, [cit. 2011-11-5]. Dostupný z WWW:
  • Rozhovor s Františkem Kowolowskim vedený Terezou Darmovzalovou emailovou korespondencí ve dnech 21. 10. 2011 a 3. 11. 2011.

Text: Tereza Darmovzalová
Latest update: 31. 1. 2012

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Frisbee