The Czech Electronic Picture, 1994
13 – 26 September 2021
Zdeňka Čechová, Michael Bielický, Martin Hřebačka, René Slauka, Lucie Svobodová, Marian Palla, Petr Váša, Radek Pilař
Curated by Martin Mazanec
The group exhibition The Czech Electronic Picture – Inner Sources took place in the underground spaces of the Mánes Exhibition Hall in Prague. Distributed in the space were twelve television screens and one projection screen, all of which featured loops of both monographic videos and video programs (series of videos by one or more artists). Historically, the exhibition is considered a crucial milestone in the presentation of the moving image in Czechoslovakia, even though most of the works presented here are more or less unavailable to the public today. The starting point for the on-line recreation is a selection of works created in the 1990s and stored on Betacam SP tapes, i.e. the source tapes of the programmes loaned by Ivan Tatíček, film-maker, videist, and one of the organisers of the exhibition. (The term “videist” is a neologism often used in the context of Czechoslovak experimental film of the 1980s onwards.)
The technical and production side of the exhibition was handled by Studio DADA s.r.o., established for this occasion by Ivan Tatíček with Ivo Jebousek, Michal Kořán, and Ivana Pavlovská. Photographer Karel Šuster was asked to document the exhibition as well as the accompanying programme, which took place at Rock Café and the National Technical Museum. The exhibition was organised by the Association of Video and Intermedia at UVU (the Union of Visual Artists of the Czech Republic) and co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and TV Nova. The main sponsor was Philips a.s., with further support from Softir, CUE, MediaPort, Liesegang, Art Impression, Apple Computer, and Macron.
The show took place at the Mánes Exhibition Hall in Prague, with another video exhibition running simultaneously in the main exhibition space, Video Art ‘94. Nature in Motion (14 July – 7 August 1994), curated by Vlasta Čiháková-Noshiro along with the Japanese curator Keiko Sei. This exhibition included video installations by both Czech and international artists including Michael Bielický, Bettina Gruber, Gary Hill, Tomáš Mašín, Vladimír Merta, Jiří Příhoda, Peter Rónai, Tomáš Ruller, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, Woody Vasulka, Peter Weibel, and Jana Želibská.
The Czech Electronic Picture – Inner Sources
Mánes Exhibition Hall, Prague, 12 July – 7 August 1994.
Curated by Jaroslav Vančát. 12 monitors, 1 projection screen, 42 artists.
“The exhibition is an alternative in the best sense of the word, an alternative that is searching, non-conformist, surprising. An alternative that uses modern technology to follow up, to an extent, on the congenial searching efforts of the Czech interwar film avant-garde.” (Denní telegraf, 15 July 1994)
“Furthermore, the exhibition suffers from the disproportionate temporal dimensions of some of the works – you are asked to spend 83 minutes only at Woody Vasulka’s monitor.” (Večerník Praha, 19 July 1994)
“The first collective exhibition of Czech multimedia art, The Czech Electronic Picture, attempts to map video work in the Czech Republic in the lower spaces of Mánes in Prague. This form is in its infancy and the exhibition is more of an overview than a curatorial project. (…) The high attendance attests to this hunger for visual information whilst also suggesting a fascination with the medium of television. There is an electronic menu at the beginning of the exhibition space, which contains televisions placed in separated booths. The visitor can move freely around the contents of the exhibition and choose for himself what pieces found in the videomenu interest him. Simply walking around the individual screens, which feature up to ten videos ranging in length from two to six minutes, and take in their message, is practically impossible.” (Lenka Lindaurová, Lidové noviny, 2 August 1994)