u.f.o. - naut jk (július koller)
After his recent solo exhibition —a collaboration with Arto Lindsay— Untitled, 2012 (All those years at No.17E London Terrace), Rirkrit Tiravanija (1961) returns to kurimanzutto to present, through his own work, the Slovakian artist Július Koller (1939 - 2007).
Koller, a singular figure, invented conceptual tools to make sense (and sometimes nonsense) of life under Communist Czechoslovakia. His work aims to a constant questioning of the world and the cultural context, opening up possibilities for a humanistic utopia at unexpected places.
For this exhibition Rirkrit Tiravanija has chosen to reactivate some of the most significant work of Július Koller, such as Universal Futurological Question Mark (UFO), which was originally formed on a hill in 1978 by Koller and a group of kids. Recently, a question mark was formed by a group of people at the Zócalo in downtown Mexico City to be documented and presented in kurimanzutto.
Koller’s strategy consisted in the use of real objects, the real world, and everyday life. A good representation of this can be seen in Ping-Pong Society, a project that Július Koller made in Bratislava in 1970; instead of an exhibition, for a period of one month he set up a ping-pong club where visitors could play. At kurimanzutto, Rirkrit Tiravanija will reactivate this work installing seven ping-pong tables with political and sociological phrases distributed all over the exhibition space. A white line on the floor will describe a tennis court “framing” the show and a selection of original Julius Koller’s works will also be on view.
In this exhibition, like in all of his work, Rirkrit Tiravanija is interested in the visitor and how he relates and interacts with the work. Visitors will be invited to occupy the exhibition space and experience the reactivation of Július Koller’s work.
Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Thai artist born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961. He lives and works in New York, USA and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The work of Rirkrit Tiravanija defies media-based description, as his practice combines making traditional objects, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public services and social actions.
In 2010, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany did Just Smile and Don’t Talk a retrospective exhibition on Tiravanija’s work. A previous retrospective exhibition of his work called Une Rétrospective (tomorrow is another fine day) took place in 2004 at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands, which was then presented in Paris at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Paris, France (2005) and at the Serpentine Gallery, London, U.K. (2005).
Tiravanija is a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts at Columbia University and is a founding member and curator of Utopia Station, a collective project of artists, art historians, and curators. He is also President of The Land Foundation, an educational-ecological project located in Chiang Mai, Thailand; and is part of a collective alternative space called VER, located in Bangkok, where his primary residence and studio are located.
Recently, he has developed a parallel interest in film and filmmaking as a means of capturing the essential reality of the world around us. Tiravanija showed his first feature film Lung Neaw Visits his Neighbour at Venice Film Festival 2011 in the section «Horizons». His second film, Untitled 2012 (a study for Karl’s perfect day) or (the incomparable Karl Holmqvist), is dedicated to the artist Karl Holmqvist, (Berlin 1964).
Július Koller was born in Piestany Slovakia in 1939 and died in Bratislava in 2007. He lived and worked in Bratislava.
From 1959 through 1965, Július Koller completed his painting studies at the conservative Academy of Fine Arts of Bratislava. Around 1963, he began to combine painting and text, concentrating more and more on strategies to leave behind the myths of subjectivity and authenticity associated with painting; and even with the extension of painting into the three dimensionality of happenings in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1965, Koller published his first manifesto: Anti-Happening (System of Subjective Objectivity). According to Koller, the Anti-Happening aims at “a cultural reformation of the subject, the consciousness, the environment, and the real world.” The Anti-Happening demonstrates conceptual acts or objects. It presents them and, thus, creates situations: subjective cultural situations.
In 1970, two years after the end of the Prague Spring, Koller introduced in his work a new conceptual field: the acronym U.F.O. (Universal-Cultural Futurological Operations). It opens up a complex space of references and relations between the acts of designation and their possibilities of mutation.
Július Koller’s most important exhibitions are Science-Fiction Retrospective Július Koller, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, 2010; Július Koller’s Symposium, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, 2009; Július Koller, Univerzálne Futurologické Operácie, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2003; Július Koller & Kveta Fulierová, Vlastivedné múzeum, Trebisov, Uzhorod.