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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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U.F.O. Gallery – Ganek Gallery

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Date: 1980–83

Participants and organizers: Július Koller (b. 1939), Igor Gazdík (b. 1943), Peter Meluzin, Pavol Breier (b. 1953), Milan Adamčiak (b. 1946), Rudolf Sikora (b. 1946), Dezider Tóth (b. 1947), Juraj Meliš (b. 1942)

Location: In the residential apartments of Július Koller, Milan Adamčiak, and Igor Gazdík, Bratislava-Dúbravka, Czechoslovakia

The fictional gallery project U.F.O. Gallery—Gallery Ganek was initiated by Július Koller in 1971. It functioned as a visual and physical symbol of the connection between the Earth and the cosmos, and acted as medium to communicate with unknown civilizations. The gallery’s high location at Malý Ganek—an almost three-hundred-meter mountain peak with a  northwest wall that attracted climbers—symbolized the encounter between the earthly and the cosmic. Participants collectively drafted the statute for the project and discussed potential exhibitions. In 1980, Koller declared Gallery Ganek to be part of Universal-Cultural Futurological Operation (U.F.O.). An organizational and advisory committee came into being on September 18, 1981, and on March 24, 1982, the commission approved the program and statutory principles. Subsequently a text was produced—the constitution for the gallery which was named ”U.F.O. Gallery—Ganek Gallery, High Tatras (U.F.O.G.),” and signed by Koller, Igor Gazdík (commissioner), and commission members Milan Adamčiak, Pavol Breier, Peter Meluzin, and Rudolf Sikora. In the introduction of the U.F.O. Gallery statute, exhibition activities in the physical Ganek Gallery were ruled out; rather, it was a symbolic location used to communicate a variety of alternative forms of expressions (i.e., images, concepts, signals, etc.) with unknown civilizations on Earth and with the universe beyond. The rules of the gallery statute have a discursive quality. It was based on the assumption that the statute of a socialist institution reflects what the institution is about.


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