Monument to Transformation

Monument to Transformation


Zbyněk Baladrán, Body (diagram from Atlas of Transformation), 2009.

June 13, 2009

Monument to Transformation
May 28 – August 30, 2009

Curators: Zbyněk Baladrán, Vít Havránek
Organized by
City Gallery Prague, Municipal Library, Valentinska 1, Prague 1, 11000, Czech Republic

Harun Farocki
May 28 – August 30, 2009

curator Vjera Borozan
in cooperation with Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki

Resource centre for contemporary art
Dittrichova 9, Prague 2, 12000 Czech Republic

Monument to Transformation

Lida Abdul, Vahram Aghasyan, Vyacheslav Akhunov, Lara Almarcegui, Babi Badalov , Yael Bartana, Ricardo Basbaum, Pavel Braila, Eric Beltrán, Mircea Cantor, David Černý, Edwin, Miklós Erhardt & Dominic Hislop (Big Hope), Patricia Esquivias, Harun Farocki, Günter Forg, Anastas Ayreen & René Gabri, Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Ivan Grubanov, Joāo Maria Gusmāo & Pedro Paiva, Hafiz, Lise Harlev, Nicoline van Harskamp, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ifa Isfansyah, Sanja Iveković, Zdeněk Košek, Jiří Kovanda, Lucky Kuswandi, Little Warsaw, Mark Lombardi, Aníbal Lopez, Roman Maskalev, MeeNa & Sasa[44], Peggy Meinfelder, Ivan Moudov, Ciprian Mureşan, Deimantas Narkevičius, Nikolay Oleynikov, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Boris Ondreička, Park Chan-Kyong, Yan Pei-Ming, Lia Perjovschi, Dan Perjovschi, Anggun Priambodo, Walid Raad /The Atlas Group, Anri Sala, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Wilhelm Sasnal, Sung Hwan Kim, Kateřina Šedá, Taller Popular de Serigrafía, Avdey Ter-Oganyan, Tomáš Svoboda, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Vangelis Vlahos, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Wisnu SP, Haegue Yang, Artur Żmijewski.

The exhibition, conceived as imaginative and analytical space, presents the outcome of more than two years of team research into “social transformations” (vocabulary, exhibition fragments 1-8, texts, panel discussions, publications, videojournals, etc).

The curators do not believe that art can provide easily applicable answers to political and social problems and conflicts. However, art does create a space which provides the basic pre-requisites on which thinking, dreaming and discussions about politics and society are based.

Thinking about transformation is conceived as being structured in the tension between various methods of social scientific and artistic practice. In the context of transformation studies, the so-called Eastern European region has its own specific characteristics that originated in the geo-political division of the world irrevocably decided at the Yalta Conference as a consequence of the Second World War.

While researching transformation processes, we abandoned the reductive theories of the region that we come from and that we represent. We extended research to encompass artistic and theoretical work that reflects the transformations in Greece, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Mexico and Argentina. This attempt to newly formulate trans-local specifics of transformation meant abandoning the stigmatic construction of so-called “Eastern Europe” and opting for a differentiated, authoritative and new map of the world of transformation.

One possible ways to approach this exhibition is to see it as an “assemblage” structure. In the terminology of archaeology, this means a layer with various artefacts that are mutually connected. The motive of this common return to the past is the need to destroy the clarity and definiteness of the view of the “transformation” that one has gained through individual experience. This is almost an ontological need to subvert the essence of one’s own experience with this past – it is necessary to shed paranoia on the things recently lived. The suspected and experienced contradiction, conflict and complexity of the transformation period are negated by too much clarity and trust in one’s own experience. The only past is the “present past”: therefore, we carry out this attack on the “clear” representation of the transformation period with respect to the current state of thoughts and to the “future pasts” that we try to provoke in this way.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive publication entitled Atlas of Transformation. This book, with its almost 900 pages, is organised in the format of a dictionary and supplemented with a number of maps and diagrams. Several dozen authors from all over the world contributed to the book and some influential period texts were republished in it. Maps created by various artists provide subjective localisations of selected dictionary entries. The book is published in Czech and in the first half of 2010 will be published in English by the JRP-Ringier publishing house.

The Harun Farocki exhibition in the tranzitdisplay runs in parallel with the exhibition project Monument to Transformation.

Harun Farocki
Of Farocki’s oeuvre, which has influenced numerous avant-garde directors, artists and media theorists, tranzitdisplay, the Prague resource environment for contemporary art, presents his video installations for the first time in the Czech Republic. The pivotal theme of his works – which Farocki himself defined most concisely as ‘film essays’ or certain ‘forms of intelligence’ – is the creative process itself and the reproduction of images. Farocki combines archival film images with his own film materials and accompanies them with commentary in his own specific type of montage. This original method makes use of film materials as a means to explore both imagery and social structures.

Schnittstelle/Interface (1995)
A key work by Harun Farocki in which he sheds light on and unveils his own working methods in his own singular way. In them, he reflects his documentary work and the fact that he favours working with already-existing images over creating further-new images. He deals with the creation of moving images while accenting the principles according to which they emerge and are arranged in the editing room. He thus investigates the act of re-reading them, giving them back their lost distance and displaying additional hidden facets.

Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik/Workers Leaving the Factory (2006)
The inspiration for this work lies in the eponymous Lumière brothers film considered to be the first film in the history of cinematography. The motif of the workers leaving their factory can be seen in the films of the Lumière brothers, Fritz Lang, Charlie Chaplin, Michelangelo Antonioni, Lars von Trier and others. Farocki incorporates the motif into a new, more complex whole in which he reflects on history and the possibilities offered up by cinematography as well as on the industrial world and the value of human labour.

On the Construction of Griffith’s Films (2006)
This video installation for two monitors is based on selected sequences from D. W. Griffith’s film Intolerance (1916). In it, Farocki explores the possibilities for the construction of film dialogue.

tranzitdisplay, a resource centre for contemporary art, is a synergetic project of the tranzit initiative and the Display Gallery. The facility opened in November 2007.
The main partner of tranzitdisplay is Česká spořitelna, a.s., Erste Group.
Additional support is provided by the Czech Ministry of Culture, Prague City Hall, and the Prague 2 City District.

Main Partner of Monument to Transformation is ERSTE Foundation.
ERSTE Foundation is active in the Central and South Eastern European region. Since commencing its work in 2003, it has been developing projects independently and in collaboration with partners within the three programmes Social Affairs, Culture and Europe. Within Culture PATTERNS is a trans-national programme to research and understand recent cultural history.

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June 13, 2009

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