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Announcement
May 23, 2022

Common Task

Academy of Fine Arts in Prague

View of Common Task, Šalounova vila, Praha, Czechia, 2022. Photo: Darja Iakovlenko.

An exhibition of student works at Šalounova vila of the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague: May 27–29, 2022 2–6pm. Proceeds from the sales part of the exhibition will be donated to the relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees in Prague.

Performance: May 25 5–8pm. Bread Against Imperialism: All Day Palyanitsia Baking (Darja Iakovlenko).
Screening: May 25, 8pm at Kino Pilotů, Donská 168 Praha 10. The Foundations of the Work of Sun (Jakub Šťourač, Anna Luňáková). Duration: 15min.

When this studio course started in the fall of 2021, we were deep in the covid pandemic. Travel and physical meetings were difficult to arrange, so we met online for readings, lectures and discussions around the topic of cosmism: an unusual intellectual tradition that arose in pre-revolutionary Moscow and came to dominate the thinking of many radical artists, writers, filmmakers, architects and philosophers in the early years of the USSR. Focused primarily on physical immortality and travel in space, these futuristic ideas resonated with the Marxist worldview that anticipates the whole world to imminently unify into one planetary society, without nations or borders, armies or police, class differences, hunger or poverty, violence or war. In this utopian cosmist society, all will be equal, free, immortal and without fixed gender, and all will work collectively to resurrect, using scientific and artistic means, every living organism for an eternal life in the cosmos.

Our class was supposed to end with a collective project: a staged performance around some of these ideas. But our plans were thwarted by the state of emergency declared due to Omicron’s rise. A decision was made to continue the course into the spring semester, and new students were added to the class. What happened next was the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The brutal violence of this unprovoked attack, the destruction of Ukrainian cities and villages, thousands of civilian deaths and millions of refugees - all this made it impossible for us to continue a neutral discussion of the primarily Russian ideas that we were studying. We invited a group of our colleagues in Ukraine to speak to us: Oleksiy Radynsky, Nikita Kadan, Katya Iakovlenko and others. We are deeply grateful to them for making time to meet during this extremely difficult and traumatic time.

In the end, for our class project an idea emerged to build a tower. In 1966, during the Vietnam war, a group of American artists in Los Angeles, including Mark di Suvero, Lloyd Hamrol, Mel Edwards, Ed Bereal, Judy Chicago, and others, built a large tower surrounded by a wall of numerous square panels painted by artists from around the world. They called it the Peace Tower, and the goal was to draw attention to and protest the war, and to construct a symbol for peace. Forty years later, the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija recreated this tower at the Whitney Museum in New York during the war in Iraq. Our tower at the Šaloun studio is an exhibition and also a fundraising benefit: selected artworks installed on and around the tower can be purchased, and the proceeds will go to the relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees in Prague.

We are joined by many other students from the Academy and other artists who contributed numerous works for this project, as well as a special contribution of drawings and paintings by children and young artists from Ukraine, organized by students of AVU.

With works by Juraj Mišík, Seiko Hihara, Jitka Petrášová, Laura Fiľáková, Karolína Chasáková, Karolína Vojáčková, Karolína Šulcová, Jakub Šťourač, Anna Luňáková, Darja Iakovlenko, Bogdana Zayats, Karolína Hruboňová, Veronika Olejárová, Zuzana Jírová, Tereza Kalousová, Markéta Adamcová, Anna Ruth, Štěpán Severa, Tadeáš Pochman, anonymous young artists from Ukraine and many others…

Guest professors: Anton Vidokle and Erika Velicka.

Thank you!

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