Galerie moderního umění
v Hradci Králové

The Last Fifty Years | Permanent exhibition

curator: Tomáš Pospiszyl
architectural plan: Tomáš Svoboda
graphic design: Cindy Kutíková & Jiří Mocek

Contemporary art doesn’t have a history, yet. It therefore doesn’t make sense to tell its story in a chronological order. Rather, it makes sense to tell it thematically, with an emphasis on the diversity of approaches by individual artists to their work and to art in general. The exhibition of contemporary art at the Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové is strongly connected to its recent acquisitions. It presents artists from the middle and younger generations, who have been making their way into public collections only recently.

We consider the era of contemporary art to have its beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. An important aspect of its origin was the development of conceptual art and a growing numbers of genres and subject matters. It is impossible to identify a uniform style in contemporary art. Every artist creates his or her own language. They do not express themselves merely through painting or sculpting but, increasingly, through photography, performance, film, video, text, digital technologies, and many other mediums.

Last Century – Twenty Artists | Permanent exhibition

curator: Petra Příkazská
expert advisors: Kateřina Křížkovská, Judita Kožíšková, Anna Zemanová
architectural plan: Tomáš Svoboda
graphic design: Cindy Kutíková & Jiří Mocek

The exhibition The Last Century – Twenty Artists consciously goes against this trend and returns to the age-old method of author-curated collections because, despite all doubt, 20th century art is ultimately the work of individuals who approached the question of art in their own personal ways. Each of the selected artists has expanded the possibilities of what can be seen, attempted to transgress the conventional wisdom of art, or nudged the perception of art beyond accepted standards.

In many cases, they did so not just through their work but also through their theoretical writings, personal engagement in the public sphere, or pedagogy.

Original? The art of imitating art

curators: Petra Příkazská, František Vyskočil, František Zachoval

This exhibition explores the phenomenon of original works of art and their various falsifications, from copies to intentional forgeries. The period under investigation covers the first half of the 20th century to the present day. The exhibition is methodologically divided into six sections, according to techniques, procedures, and approaches to creating forgeries. Each section consists of paintings, drawings, graphics, and sculptures, as well as photographs, conceptual works, and new media. Because falsifications are dependent on the market for their “survival,” the exhibition explores them not only through the lens of art history, but also from a legal perspective, allowing a broader inquiry into falsification as a social phenomenon.

Alongside the six main sections, there are two additional,
special sections: The first focuses on appropriation, in which artists use another artist’s style or a concrete work to create their own, original works of art. These new works may quote parts of a work, their style, or be a true 1:1 copy, in which the meaning lies in transferring a work of art from its original context into a new one, creating a new frame of thought.

The second special section deals with the mechanisms and contexts of art dealing and the art market. It will familiarize visitors with, among other things, the distribution of forgeries through the anonymous online market, like virtual auctions and marts, which often sell works of art acquired from unverified sources.

Pavla Sceranková | Miloš

curator: Václav Janoščík

Sometimes, something or someone passes through our lives. These encounters do not need to take the form of dramatic twists, like those from Hollywood films. They’re usually just small moments — a brief meeting of the eyes, a ripple in our attention, or a touch, such as someone brushing past us, or something clinging onto us. These aren’t clear signs, but rhythms of suddenness and waiting, of being close, or of being reserved. It is precisely these encounters which fulfill Proust’s great novel about small things. And it is this sensitivity and these values which art attempts to express. The work Miloš emerged from the author’s meeting with a stranger — he appeared to her as the back door of a tram opened. He stood, relaxed, without a hint of discomfort, pensive, with a plastic bag clinging to his left leg.

PAVLA SCERANKOVÁ (born 1980 Košice) is a sculptor, pedagogue, and mother of Anton (born 2020) and Julia (born 2016). Pavla Sceranková studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague between 2000–2006, where she also completed her doctoral studies in 2011. She received a stipend to intern for a year under Prof. Tony Cragg in Berlin. In the years 2010–2015, she worked at the Department of Arts and Textile Production in the Hradec Králové University. Currently, she runs one of the Ateliers of Multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (together with Dušan Zahoranský).

Pavla Sceranková’s work is characterized as much by
lightness as by serious subjects, spatial composition and craft, intellectualism as well as a distinctive sense of humor. She is able to touch viewers with a humanity which is hard to describe, as well as with empathy, and is able to approach universal themes and focus on interpersonal relationships.

Mark Ther | Alight⁄Svítí⁄Lejchte

curator: Michal Novotný | Black Cube

In the Silesian German spoken around the town of Broumov in the Sudeten region of the Czech Republic, the word “alight” is translated as lejchte. We might perhaps imagine Mark Ther carefully screwing in a light bulb and, with palms facing up in an elegant, but comical, gesture, stating that the original light borrowed from a first Czechoslovak Republic villa for an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové, is alight. The Czechified spelling of lejchte, a word which, in standard German, would be leuchtet, points to something grammatically incorrect. This deviation from the norm is also testament to the emergence (or perhaps betrays the emergence of) a specific cultural identity, in this case that of the Sudeten region.

Alice Nikitinová | Shared Basis

curator: Vít Havránek | White Cube

The gate of a picket fence in the painting Old School (Stará škola, 2019) by Alice Nikitinová remains slightly cracked, just enough for one high school girl to slip through. The pictured buildings are plain blocks depicted without real light, shadow, filth, decoration or architectural ornamentation, while regular rows of windows give each floor the same rhythm. Unacquainted spectators might hesitate as to whether they are looking at a prison, hospital, or an office employing one of Kafka’s heroes. A school may be the most unlikely option to occur to the average viewer. All these institutions are organized according to internal rules which reflect the social norms of criminal justice, healthcare, or education. Surprisingly, however, the impetus for this painting was not an effort to create a critical depiction of authoritative, gatekeeping institutions, through which the author progressed in her youth and where she spent days and weeks drawing classic busts or live models.