How one of the biggest contemporary Czech artists ended up at our home

Actually, I don’t know how – I guess he just went out for a drink with his students, as, as far as I know, he does quite often, and they dragged him to our home.

I’m talking about Jiří Kovanda – one of the biggest names in Czech contemporary art and (I guess) in performance art worldwide. It sounds incredible but, in fact, he teaches in Usti* and I’ve often seen him having beer with his students. And yet, I’ve never thought I’d see him in my own kitchen.

The reason his students, and therefore he himself, to come home was our exhibition within the Bytové galerie project – an initiative of some students from the Faculty of Art and friends of Lukash which aims to turn flats into exhibition spaces. When I was told I was supposed to take part in it, too – that was still last year – I thought they were joking until one day I saw a poster and my name on it. From then till the very beginning of the exhibition I was tormented by the thought of having to take part and not wanting it.

What changed after the exhibition began? I realised it didn’t matter if I liked or didn’t like my ideas (put in practice) because, anyway, the most important thing about an exhibition opening is the food. 🙂 Lukash and I tried to make plenty of food available but we were surprised by the fact the guests enjoyed something else apart from the hot dogs (which are here called “Párek v rohlíku”), the cubes of fried dumplings with eggs and the dark beer cake and that was the fact our bathtub is in the kitchen. Quite a few photos were taken there.

Otherwise, I exhibited an installation called “Fireflies, stars, wolves” which was, generally speaking, something like a glowing in the dark colour map of the similarities and differences between Czech and Bulgarian. I don’t know if it was understood but if not, the fault was mine because I didn’t feel confident enough to talk about my idea, as you can see in the video below. Lukash, on the other hand, had recorded some sounds produced by our neighbours and everyone could listen to them on headphones. (While he was doing this, he’d decided he wanted something funnier as a result of which I had to play and pause a Czech porn video on his PC while he was standing on the other side of the door holding a microphone. Eventually, however, he decided it would be too much.) There were also photographs thematically ordered in the bath”room” and the corridor.

All of this (without Jiří Kovanda) can be seen in the video below. Don’t miss the moment with my Dad’s homemade rakia (traditional Bulgarian hard liquor) which was brought out in the end of the exhibition, proving once again that nothing catches the eye of the art admirer more than the good food and the alcohol.:)

*Usti nad Labem – the city I live in



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