Zbyněk Baladrán, From Social Fictions to Neoliberal Signatures in Art

Zbyněk Baladrán

Ana Kovačić, Maksym Khodak

zoom platform
29/09/2022, 7 pm

This conversation is hosted via the Zoom platform and will be livestreamed on WHW Akademija’s Facebook page.

After an intensive and collaborative summer at WHW Akademija, during which the participants worked with our resident professor Ivana Bago, our guest in September is artist and curator Zbyněk Baladrán. Following a closed online seminar with this year’s WHW Akademija participants, Baladrán will give a talk within the public event series Evenings with WHW Akademija, presenting his views on the practice of art in the time of late capitalism.

Through his work, Zbyněk Baladrán researches the territory of “Western culture” while using the methods of archaeology, ethnography, and sociology to explore not-so-old history. He is interested in the ways in which life is conditioned by systems, rules, and coincidences—especially related to the legacy of the political left. He also examines the role of objects through which a society obsessed with itself creates images of its past and future.

In this lecture, Zbyněk Baladrán will reflect on how, in our current time, art’s effect on society is no different from that of any other commodified service. He will try to answer the question of what art’s practice and purpose is, asking whether it holds another emancipatory potential than the one that supports individualism. Zbyněk Baladrán will also describe his working practices and proposals, through which he tries to resist the pressures of the market forces that determine most happenings and occurrences in the art scene.

The evening’s moderators are Ana Kovačić, of WHW, and Maksym Khodak, a participant of WHW Akademija 2022

Zbyněk Baladrán (b. 1973, Prague) is an author, visual artist, curator, and exhibition architect. In his works, he investigates territories that are occupied by that part of civilization that we call “Western.” Using methodologies similar to those used by the ethnographer, the anthropologist, and the sociologist, this post-humanist “archaeologist” is digging up the remnants of the not-so-distant past, looking particularly at societal systems in relation to the heritage of the political left. He studied art history in the Department of Arts at Charles University and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Prague. In 2001, he co-founded Display – Association for Research and Collective Practice, where he continues to work as a curator and organizer. He has taken part in exhibitions including Manifesta 5, Donostia-San Sebastian; 11th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art; 56th La Venice Biennale; and Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Baladrán is represented by Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris; Gandy Gallery, Bratislava; Hunt Kastner, Prague; and cooperative Salvator Rosa.

WHW Akademija is realized in partnership with Kontakt Collection. The main funders of WHW Akademija are Kontakt / ERSTE Foundation and FfAI – Foundation for Arts Initiatives.

Lecture by Zbyněk Baladrán is a part of project Artistic Ecologies: New Compasses, Tools and Alliances, which WHW recently initiated in collaboration with the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, and Neue Nachbarschaft // Moabit, Berlin.

The program is supported by:
European Commission’s Creative Europe program
City Office for Culture, International Relations and Civil Society
Kultura Nova Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia
Trust for Mutual Understanding (TMU)