MUO Probe section

sonda muo4
Central European postwar history and its research through the means of art are the focus and direct object of the work of the Central European Forum Olomouc (SEFO) project. The relationship of art to memory, time, and history through the categories of monument, document, and (our own neologism) mockument is brought to light by the inspiring work of the Moldovan-Lebanese art historian and curator Octavian Eşanu. His conceptual triad, as we find out, also works well within museum collections.

MUO probe/ monument – document – mockument

Cabinet, 27 June–29 December 2024

The contemporary art exhibition is thus complemented by a historical probe, updated in changes with contemporary artistic input. In this case, the key moments from the triennial’s headline occupy a relatively short timeline from the 1960s to the present. These are moments of return to past events or events that have been silenced for a long time but remain in memory as fragments of what is most important, moments of new monuments rejecting the contemporary Golden Calf, but also moments in which artists anticipate the current time or escape from it towards a fictitious future.

With a focus on “our Central European space” in the second half of the 20th century, we observe that artworks logically became or were created from the beginning as monuments guaranteeing legitimacy to different versions of state socialism. In the post-revolutionary era, MUO curators made great efforts to collect documents that purposefully mapped the traces of artistic resistance to the official cultural doctrine. Thirty years on, the convolume of documents and their interpretations can be seen as new monuments of post-socialist art and culture. It is, after all, “our SEFO”.

Both documents and monuments are instruments of time. It depends on the moment on the timeline from which we observe how they are treated. A kind of “counter-tool of time”, Octaviano Eşanu reflects, can be the “mockument” – as a fabricated trace, a fiction that likes to use irony, mockery, and satire.

For the first time, we will pull works from the exclusive acquisition of the Soviet neo-avant-garde Dviženije (Lev Nusberg) and previously unexhibited projects by the Slovak group VAL (Alexandr Mlynárčik, Alex Kupkovič, Viera Mecková) from the depositories. A good source of “objectifying mockuments” is the work of their generational contemporary Jozef Jankovič, while the subjective level of “mockuments” is presented by another Slovak author, Rudolf Sikora. The experimental level of working with time, space, and monuments also suited Milan Knižák’s early conceptual pieces. Jiří Žlebek and Ondřej Michálek offer a regional contribution to the topic.

The last exhibition space of the Cabinet, where the selected set will be presented in variations, will be occupied by updates of the theme under study. Matej Smetana’s work will show the visitors what exactly is happening on the timeline in the linear concept of the unchanging and permanent. From a different perspective we will see the notions of fiction and temporal and spatial manipulation thanks to the extension of Vendula Chalánková’s installation.