The Nervous System

Zbyněk Baladrán & Jiří Kovanda

A show by Zbyněk Baladrán (1973) and Jiří Kovanda (1953), two Czech artists who work together for the first time in an experimental and inter-generational project.

01.12.2011 - 30.01.2012

@Frigoriferi Milanesi, Milano

curated by Kunstvereien (Milano) & Juan Pablo Macías

With the collaboration of: Fare
With the support of: Frigoriferi Milanesi / Open Care /Istituto Culturale Cecco

Installation views by Andrea Rossetti

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From different generations and diverse artistic practices, they develop a project on the limits of performance and language. Zbyněk Baladrán is an author, artist and curator often described as an archeologist of knowledge and memory; he uses archives, diagrams as mediums to generate concepts, ideas and relations. Jiří Kovanda is one of the avant-garde artists from the second generation of Czech ‘Actionism’ of the seventies. Today he continues working alternating painting, sculpture, drawings, every day life objects, as well as invisible gestures and quiet actions; practices that have made him one of the most recognized artists at an international level.
The Nervous System has taken form from a series of conversations between Zbyněk Baladrán, Jiří Kovanda, Juan Pablo Macías and Kunstverein (Milano), mainly from the notion of history as an inter- generational dialogue that produces paradigms of thought. During a conversation Baladrán wrote to us:
It made us a little nervous to create the Nervous System – to describe the spongy cloud of our consciousness. We both wanted (so different are we in our work methodologies and yet understanding each other in what we wanted to say and how to say it) to probe the fragile entanglement of acts and experiences woven into the places where we as people spend most of our time. The places that we inhabit.
It’s an experiment, an experiment on the border of analytical comprehension and that, which is beyond an articulated understanding. We introduce anatomical cuts through nervous systems that penetrate our bodies and beings, the places that we inhabit. This chosen poetics corresponds to an approach that we share. This text is written in advance without specific knowledge of what will end up being at the exhibition. It is, however, clear to us that it will consist of a combination of a premeditated and sudden performative approach. (...)
What interest us are the moments in which our natural actions meet with the accustomed system of everyday operation. The fragile nerve fibers inscribed in our minds.
It may be that the lines and nodes that we chose will not work, will not be comprehensible and will become another fragile layer of threads of meaning covering our lives. But that doesn’t matter to us. Next time we’ll try it again, in a different way and better.
Thorough observers of reality, Baladrán and Kovanda activate for The Nervous System diverse mechanisms of intervention to escape from the norms of the present through continuous redefinitions and hypotheses of display understood as a moment of communication with the other.
Not time, nor space, but life through singular places is the field in which Zbyněk Baladrán and Jiří Kovanda have chosen to converse.
Fare (Casa) Kunstverein: Zbyněk Baladrán and Jiří Kovanda ́s show inaugurates a new collaboration between FARE and Kunstverein (Milano): the 2011-12 program of Kunstverein (Milano) – that will host international artists – establishes a new relation with Fare on the basis of a project of low intensity residencies at Frigoriferi Milanesi’s installations, inside Open Care’s residences. A platform for the experimentation of processes of cohabitation and interaction as instruments to launch the ‘concept of conviviality, in a moment in which multiculturalism is precipitating’ (Paul Gilroy).