The Czech Republic is represented at the 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, in 2015 by Jiří David’s site-specific installation Apotheosis in the Czech and Slovak Pavilion. The concept of the piece is based on the Czech Secessionist artist Alphonse Mucha’s monumental painting Apotheosis of the Slavs: Slavs for Humanity (1926) from his romantic series The Slav Epic (1911–1926) in which Mucha thematized the heroic saga of the history of the Czechs and the Slavic nations.
David approaches Mucha’s painting from the position of a contemporary artist with an analytical-critical point of view and an ambivalent stance. David’s gesture of appropriation and reinterpretation of Mucha’s work, represented by a black and white reworking of the original image, simultaneously constitutes an act of deconstruction enhanced by his subtle intervention in the individual parts of the composition in the form of apocrypha. The point of the installation with intertextual crossovers is the active spectator, whom David provides with a whole range of interesting mental, emotional and visual experiences via participation in an empty space and a cramped one with the key focal point of a corridor, which presents the spectator with the challenge of submerging into the “archaeology of knowledge and memories”.
Pavilion of the Czech and Slovak republic
at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Artist: Jiří David
Curator: Katarína Rusnáková
Exhibition commissioner: National Gallery in Prague
Deputy commissioner: Barbara Holomková
Graphic design: Zak Group