The second edition of Biennale Matter of Art will take place from July 21 to October 23, 2022, at the Prague City Gallery, the General University Hospital, and the Šaloun Studio in Prague. The exhibition and public program will be open to the public free of charge. The public opening will take place on 20 July 2022.
The biennale will comprise newly commissioned and existing artworks, performances, guided tours, talks, and discussions. On the occasion of the biennale, tranzit.cz will publish a bilingual anthology of texts that will further develop the thematic anchoring of the project from various artistic, critical, and historical perspectives. The biennale is co-curated by members of the international curatorial group comprising Rado Ištok, Renan Laru-an, Piotr Sikora, and tranzit.cz.
The second edition of Biennale Matter of Art in Prague explores what lies beyond the identity of Central and Eastern Europe as a space of in-betweenness, caught up between belonging to “Fortress Europe” and being Europe’s periphery—a postsocialist destination for capitalist adventures. Thus situated and aligning elsewhere, it seeks agency and collaboration while attempting to decode complicated relations between gender, race, social and economic status, sexuality, and geopolitics. The biennale will examine the lives of power in vulnerability and resilience. It will understand the violence of the present conditions in historical traumas and will offer languages from contemporary art and visual culture that process, narrate, or hold trauma in order to better understand how the past haunts us still.
Biennale Matter of Art 2022 imagines alternative futures by grasping strength in relationships that may be intergenerational, transitional, incipient, or even weak. It will incorporate the “minor” perspectives of children, enthusiasts, kidults, and introverts as well as the “poor” experiences of the chronically ill, prematurely deceased, or monstrous as agents who act, create, and deliberate meanings.
Matter of Art is a long-term institutional experiment and intervention into the public space. It is a non-profit, critical, and self-critical organization which investigates possibilities for the social and political functions of art in the present day. Matter of Art’s events and projects have no fixed format and operate across various social strata. These activities culminate in the international Biennale Matter of Art, which began in 2020 in Prague.
The biennale will take place across three sites that offer a very distinct architectural backdrop to the exhibition. The venues reflect the political aspects of public space in Prague and its accessibility. All three buildings are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, and admission will be available free of charge. Building upon the first edition of Matter of Art, the exhibition will return to the Prague City Gallery at the Municipal Library. The institution occupies the second floor of the 1920s building. Since the early 1990s, it has become one of the most prominent spaces for temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in central Prague and beyond. The second part of the biennale will take place at the premises of the General University Hospital in Prague (VFN) in the spacious rooms of a former laundry facility. The biennale exhibition resonates with the efforts of the hospital to attract casual visitors to the hospital grounds, which include the Kateřinská Garden adjacent to the VFN Psychiatric Clinic. The third venue for the exhibition is the art nouveau landmark Šaloun Studio, the former studio of the sculptor Ladislav Šaloun on the borders of the Vinohrady and Vršovice neighborhoods. The building is a part of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
Prague City Gallery (GHMP)
Municipal Library of Prague, 2nd floor
Mariánské náměstí 98/1
110 00 Prague 1
General University Hospital
Karlovo náměstí 502/40
128 00 Prague 2
101 00 Prague 2
Cover picture: Come Closer: Biennale Matter of Art 2020, Jesper Alvaer, Isabela Grosseová – Audience without Artwork, 2020, Installation at the Panorama Hotel Prague. Photo: Tereza Havlínková