September 14 – October 6, 2018
Jiří Kovanda was a 2018 Black Cube Artist Fellow. All the Birds of North America was curated by guest curator, Michal Novotný. The artist flew from Prague to Denver with no foreknowledge of the exhibition site. The exhibition consisted of discreet objects and sculptures meticulously placed within a 30’ RV and surrounding parking lot across from the Colorado State Capitol.
All the Birds of North America is an experimental exhibition between Czech artist Jiří Kovanda and Czech curator Michal Novotný. As a migrating bird, Kovanda will fly from Prague to Denver with only materials and no sense of the exhibition’s physical location. With the conditions set by Novotný, Kovanda will respond to the site and city in real time without any foreknowledge or preparation.
Kovanda is a major figure of Czechoslovak and Central-East European performance art. The artist is well known for his subtle ephemera—but strongly political—interventions into the public space, which he started in the end of 1970s under the totalitarian communist regime of Czechoslovakia. His work came into global appreciation after the turn of the millennium, gaining recognition by institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate in London.
Part game, part call and response, All the Birds of North America will be Kovanda’s first American exhibition outside of New York City. The curator, Novotný, is interested in exposing the artist to an entirely different climate—an American urban public space that has completely different set of characteristics compared to his home, the medieval city of Prague, a touristic city built in the Middle Ages that is still healing from the trauma of the pre-1989 totalitarian regime.
“This project will be openly fanciful and imaginary, more sentimental than realistic. With this site-specific project we also tried to create the most picturesque American scene for Jiří Kovanda to work with, something relatable to travel, freedom, and the open landscape – like those yellow turning leaves from the cover for All the Birds of North America atlas. Just as Jiří did in his early performances, this exhibition relates to our inner freedom, the deep inner-self that cannot be controlled by anyone.” – Michal Novotný
Special thanks to Time Park for hosting the exhibition.