Jiri Kovanda Contact September 3, 1979

  • Not on view

Kovanda's career began in the radicalized climate of Prague after the 1968 Soviet reoccupation of Czechoslovakia, a period of forced "normalization" carried out in response to the liberal reforms of the Prague Spring. Against a backdrop of political repression, Kovanda demonstrated his resistance through simple actions that he recorded on camera. In the streets of a city under constant surveillance he enacted barely perceptible yet disruptive gestures that were illegal under Soviet rule. In Kontakt (Contact), he walked around Prague casually and gently touching passersby, an action that encourages critical reflection about conformity and the malleability of the relationship between the individual and the ideological forces that shape public space.

Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.
Gelatin silver print
11 11/16 × 8 1/4" (29.7 × 21 cm)
Committee on Photography Fund and Committee on Media and Performance Art Funds
Object number
© 2024 Jiri Kovanda

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