Michal Koleček about the exhibition
The Rhythmic Exercises exhibition symbolically continues history of the building where the SOKOL Malopolska Culture Centre resides. The building was constructed as the residence of Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne Sokol in 1892, and until the beginning of World War II, it was one of the most important centres of social life in Nowy Sacz.
The leitmotif of the Rhythmic Exercises exhibition is questions concerning the process of an individual's identification with a disturbed socio-cultural environment. The theme of the exhibition naturally corresponds with the past and especially the modern history of Galicia and Nowy Sacz as one of the important centres of this region. Galicia has undergone dramatic changes over the past 100 years, from an Austrian crown-land (until 1918) up to the current situation when the region is split between Poland and Ukraine, due to which it does not exist in the form of a territorial unit any more. The negative administrative changes were accompanied by tragic events that have irrevocably influenced the national and cultural character of Galicia. At first, the local Jewish community is destroyed due to the Holocaust, and then the German population is displaced. The last devastating impact then is the forced exchange of Ukrainian and Polish inhabitants of Galicia split between the Soviet Union and Poland in 1947. All these changes have caused a permanent damage in the structure of the local community, especially in terms of its socio-cultural identity. It has gradually established in an often conflict relation between needs and goals of the new social milieu and ever less comprehensible historical roots of the extinct society. Adopting local traditions, their interpretation, ritualization, and looking for new meanings to develop belonging between the emptied and again-filled space and its inhabitants often become a key moment in this process.
The Rhythmic Exercises exhibition focuses above all on the dynamics of identification, on its processual character. It accents movement in a historical sense, presenting authors' projects thematizing historical events connected with a specific place – i.e. Nowy Sacz. At the same time however, it targets on mental or directly physical conception of the phenomenon of movement in connection with processes of identification with or appropriating a specific geographical or social environment. The Rhythmic Exercises exhibition reflects the changeability of places and stories in the form of unquiet and unstable images. The metaphor of exercise and its rhythm then opens a space for concentration and stabilization of our position.
Born in 1966; curator of contemporary art, art historian, lives and works in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic. He graduated from the Department of History and Czech Literature at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (1986-1992, Master‘s degree) and the Department of Theory of Art Socialization at Masaryk University in Brno (1995-2002, Ph.D. degree). In 2010, he was elected an associate professor at Masaryk University in Brno. From 1994 to 2007, he worked as a head of the Department of History and Theory of Art at the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. Since 2007, he has been the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. Between 1994 and 2001, he worked in the position of a chief curator of the Emil Filla Gallery in Ústí nad Labem. During the years 2002-2003, he worked as a curator of the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art of the National Gallery in Prague. In 2003, he curated the SUPERSTART project of the Czech-Slovak Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennial. As a freelance curator, he has collaborated with the following institutions: Art Workshop Lazareti, Dubrovnik, Croatia; Institute of Contemporary Art, Dunaujvaros, Hungary; City Gallery Prague, Czech Republic; association for contemporary art, Graz, Austria; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany; Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Israel; Exit Gallery Peja, Kosovo; House of Art, Brno, Czech Republic; Kunst im Öffentlichen Raum, Vienna, Austria; Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Austria; Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest, Hungary, Wyspa Progress Foundation, Gdansk, Poland; Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Poland; Chelsea Art Museum, New York, USA; Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku, Finland; Art Museum, Pori, Finland; Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland. In 2007, he edited the publication Framing of Art– an anthology reflecting the institutional context of Central European contemporary art in post-totalitarian period of social and political transformation (authors: Barnabás Bencsik; Vladimír Beskid; Michal Koleček; Margarethe Makovec & Anton Lederer; Darko Šimičić; Barbara Steiner).