Eröffnung | Opening 28.10., 6 - 9 pm
When encountering the work of the young Czech artist Dominik Lang, it might well seem that its main goal is
an intervention in the gallery space and, figuratively, into the temporality of the history of art. However, the
real focus of Lang's attention is an inquiry of the distribution of visibility. His works either intervene in the
architecture of the gallery, wherein he installs or construes new elements of structure, or else they present a
strategic interpretation of the history of art. This is so, for instance, in the numerous cases when he as an
artist includes in his exhibitions either a reconstruction or the originals of other artists' works. His purpose in
doing so is not merely to reveal the hidden assumptions of the administration of exhibits (like the proponents
of institutional critique do), or else to examine the possibility of bringing the unfinished past into the present
(as attempted by the so-called archival turn). His primary intent is to create a certain context for the attention
of the viewers, and to demonstrate to them the spatial, historical and institutional conditioning of all that they
can actually see.
Lang's most explicit achievement in this direction is probably the installation “Sleeping City”, commissioned
for the Pavilion of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Here,
Lang offered a radical interpretation of the late modernist sculptures of his own father, Jiøí Lang (1927–1996).
The artist's primary goal was not a simple presentation of the figurative plastic works, tinged by abstraction,
which Jiøí Lang created in the Communist 1950s, nor did he intend a reconstruction of the museum
architecture where the works could have been exhibited in their own day. Rather, this particular installation
incited the viewers to ask themselves what conditions guarantee the visibility of art, which are the causes of
its falling into oblivion, and by extension, what will happen with the highly, unavoidably visible art of today in
fifty years' time.
If the afterlife of art was Lang's topic in the “Sleeping City” project, his focus in “Private Collection” – his first
individual project for the Krobath Gallery – are the antecedents of a work of art. In a highly specific
environment, Lang uncovers that which is always concealed in the resulting work as its tacit presupposition:
the referential framework of both artistic and non-artistic influences, of empty gallery spaces and unrealized
projects. On panels, in display cases and on shelves whose total surface precisely equals one of the gallery
walls, Lang has assembled collages and facsimiles of works by authors such as Karel Teige, the important
representative of the Czech avant-garde, or the American “anarchitect” Gordon-Matta Clark. All together this
creates a kind of a blind spot which, unseen, allows us to see Dominik Lang's work.
Text: Karel Císaø
Dominik Lang, born 1980 in Prague; lives and works in Prague.
He studied in the Spatial Art studio of Jiøi Pøihoda at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and at Cooper Union in
New York. He worked as an assistant of Ai Weiwei in Beijing and as an visiting professor at the Academy of Fine
Arts in Prague and also as a curator of the Centre of Contemporary Art in Prague.
Exhibitions (Selection): 2011 Pavilion of Czech and Slovak Republic at the Venice Biennale, Krobath / Berlin;
2010 Young Art Biennal ZVON; 2009 Brno Art Open; 2007 Prague Biennale, Trafo Gallery Budapest.