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The First Open Studio

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Otvorený ateliér / The First Open Studio, 16 mm film transferred onto DVD, 7:04 min. (courtesy Marian Mudroch, Bratislava)

Date: 19 November 1970

Participants and organizers: Milan Adamčiak (b. 1946), Peter Bartoš (b. 1938), Václav Cigler (b. 1929), Róbert Cyprich (b. 1951-1996)), Milan Dobeš (b. 1929), Igor Gazdík (b. 1943), Viliam Jakubík (b. 1945), Július Koller (b. 1939-2007), Vladimír Kordoš (b. 1945), Ivan Kříž-Vyrubiš (b. 1941), Otis Laubert (b. 1946), Juraj Meliš (b. 1942), Alex Mlynárčik (b. 1934), Marián Mudroch (b. 1945), Jana Shejbalová-Želibská (b. 1941), Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Ivan Štěpán (b. 1937), Dezider Tóth (b. 1947), Miloš Urbásek (b. 1932)

Location: Private house of Rudolf Sikora, Tehelná 32, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

The collective exhibition ”1st Open Studio,” opened on 19 November, 1970, in Rudolf Sikora’s house—with an adjoining courtyard and garden—on Tehelná Street 32 in Bratislava. It was the first organized protest (in the form of an exhibiton) against the intervention of power over the visual arts, following the events of 1968. The nineteen participants, who gathered there at the invitation Rudolf Sikora, one of the young, emerging artists, shaped the unofficial art scene in the following years. Through the ”1st Open Studio” the artists declared their adherence to the progressive, Slovak art scene in the 1960s. In their work they developed experimental creativity, playfulness, a sensitivity to civilistic poetics of the painting, the art of object and the environment. On the threshold of the period of normalization, in the stifling atmosphere of a closed society and ongoing political purges, the artists’ studios became, not only a place to confront individual artistic practices, but also a space for participation in creative, collective experiences.

(Eugénia Sikorová, ”The Coming of a Generation,” in 1. Otvorený ateliér. Sorosovo centrum súčasného umenia (Bratislava, 2000), 31.


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Symposion 74

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Date: 28 February 1974

Participants and organizers: Peter Bartoš (b. 1938), Róbert Cyprich/Hervé Fischer, Stano Filko (b. 1937)/Miloš Laky (1948–1975)/Ján Zavarský (b. 1948), Vliam Jakubík (b. 1945), Juraj Meliš (b. 1942), Katarína Orlík, Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Dezider Tóth (b. 1947), Jana Želibská (b. 1941)

Location: Bratislava

“Symposion 74” was the outcome of meetings held between participants, and took the exhibition-as-poster format, juxtaposing both individual and collective works by “unofficial” Slovak artists. Contributing artists’ work appeared on a poster in a grid format. Often artists worked collaboratively. The contributing artists and the title of their artwork is as follows: Peter Bartoš: Zooparticipations (1974); Róbert Cyprich/Hervé Fischer: Ninnananna, Ružomberok-Paris (1973); Stano Filko/Miloš Laky/Ján Zavarský: A White Space in a White Space (1973–74); Viliam Jakubík, Many Greetings for Poster Collectors (1974); Juraj Meliš: We Think thus We Are (1974); Katarína Orlik: Love (1974); Rudolf Sikora:-5 000 000 000 ? +5 000 000 000 ?, (1974); Dezider Tóth: Realization of Reality (1974); Jana Želibská: The Taste of Paradise, Galerie Jean-Gilbert Jozon, Paris (December 1973).


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Red Year – International Festival of Socio-cultural Processual Feasts

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Date: 1979

Participants and organizers: Róbert Cyprich (1951–1996), and with the creative cooperation of 365 friends from all over the world.

Location: Czechoslovakia

Róbert Cyprich’s pseudo-festival Red Year is connected to several other events that he organized in 1979 including Faga Ready-Made ’79ONE MAN SHOW? 15 000 000 ”MAN“ SHOW!BEIG Inc.Time of Cage, and Bee Flower. The conceptual poster–calendar Red Year came about as a creative collaboration with 365 friends from around the world, and was conducted via mail. The work emerged from the collision between the international utopian ideals of the avant-garde and the reality of everyday life in Czechoslovakia at that time where official ”red” idealogy was imposed on society.

 


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Čierne diery / Black Holes – situational drama

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Date: 1983–84

Location: Water treatment plant, Vrakuňa near Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

Participants and organizers: Peter Meluzin (b. 1947), Július Koller (1939-2007), Róbert Cyprich (1951-1996), Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Dušan Hanák (b. 1938), Radislav Matuštík (1929-2006)

In the early 1980s, Peter Meluzin found a number of different of locations in the urban socialist periphery for his situational actions and dramas. Venues included a gym, a water purification plant, and a bus stop. Meluzin was one of the founders of the Terén action group which was active between 1982–87. (Artprospekt P.O.P.: Ladislav Pagáč/Viktor Oravec/Milan Pagáč, Róbert Cyprich, Ľubomír Ďurček, Michal Kern, Július Koller, Vladimír Kordoš, Matej Krén, Radislav Matuštík, Peter Meluzin, Dezider Tóth, and Jana Želibská). As part of the Terén group, he staged several events between 1983–84 for a limited circle of Bratislava artists in found environments. He used locations such as the partially constructed concrete building that was part of a water treatment plant in the Bratislava suburb of Vrakuňa. By improving and perfecting original scripts for the play and adaptation of the events to the state of completion of this edifice, he created two situational dramas titled Black Holes (Čierne diery / Schwarzes Loch) and Sitting Bull. In the inhuman and desolate spaces of the building, Meluzin staged the drama for participants; the drama presented reflected people’s everyday lives. Participants were left feeling helpless, isolated, and controlled. Meluzin’s events were constructed through participation, often feeling like “out-of-town trips,” similar to events organized by the Moscow Collective Actions Group.

Document: Peter Meluzín: Comments on Black Holes


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