Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World: The Continent


Exhibiting artists: Noor Abed, Basel Abbas a Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Shiraz Bayjoo, Cihad Caner, Cansu Cakar, Cian Dayrit, Merve Iseri, Július Koller, Emma McCormick-Godhart, Ezra Šimek, Amol K. Patil
Curator: Canan Batur
Archival collaboration: Daniel Grúň
Production: Zlata Borůvková
Technical support: Michal Štrompach, Ondřej Spiritza
Graphic design: Stan de Natris
Spatial design: Matej Gavula
Public programs: Katarína Slezáková in collaboration witch JKS collective
Communication: Zlata Borůvková, Katarína Pirháčová
Special Thanks: gb agency, Paris and Květoslava Fulierová

Earth drains down the Old Man
River and runs out
in swamps and shallows of the Caribbean.
They do not remember the body of
them waters
But stand with feet upon the ground
against the
Run to the mythic sea, the fabulous 

– Robert Duncan, The Continent

The exhibition explores the engaged and contemplative practice(s) of Julius Koller – his visions for more politically just and ecologically sound worlds with the poetics of variety of international artists. 

The common denominator of the JKS archive a contemporary art practice je “imaginative geography”. For Koller, its mainly his search for mythical Atlantis – the metaphoric movement from Mediterranean Sea shifting to Bermuda Triangle. For the exhibiting artists “imaginative geography” is a tool for navigating their relationship with countries’ boundaries, their constant shifting which complicates social and ecological solidarity. All the artists are very aware of the ecological danger: the water will raise and destroy existing societal relations, but how are they going to look like after the flood?

The exhibition tries to deepen critical awareness of the reciprocal interplay between archives, cosmohumanism, futurological thinking and alchemy. Its points toward more regenerative life-relations. Its brings alternative futures from the records of the past. 

An epoch characterised by shifting terrains and receding shorelines, carbonised oceans and melting ice requires us to think differently about what will be left “after us”, what kind of archival record. On that account, the exhibition is also bringing forward some of the key issues surrounding archives in general – inert and active modes of resistance, transformative potential in expanding collective histories beyond the dominant modes of erasure as well as the embedded seeming silence and repositories of a small selected portion of extremely complex past. 

Special Thanks: gb agency, Paris and Květoslava Fulierová

Few snapshots from the exhibition opening accompanied by a site-specific soundart performance by Abbas Zahedi.

Photo credits: Július Koller Society, author: Šimon Lupták

Supported by public funding by the Slovak Arts Council. The exhibition is a part of the international project Islands of Kinship: a Collective Manual for Sustainable and Inclusive Art Institutions, co-financed by the European Union.