Hours Against the Clock
curated by Světlana Malinová

The exhibition Hours Against the Clock offers a glimpse into the minds of two generations of Czech and Slovak artists and reflects a shared Czechoslovak historical experience that spills over into the present. Collective traumas and family memories are written into the visual images.

Alena Kotzmannová presents a cross-section of her work, anchored in the photographic series Cyclone (2004-2005). In the series, the artist works with couples that at first glance appear almost identical, but were taken at different intervals from the same location. Cyclone unsettles the viewer with regard to the sequence of events and phenomena as well as the principle of photography itself. The work by artist Jan Durina, I Was Going To Be a Great Person (2023), is displayed in the center of the exhibition space. It is accompanied by a previously unseen photograph from the Horal (2017) series. Durina’s work has long spanned multiple levels of expression, with themes of mental health, sexuality and social criticism layered throughout the works. In particular, the exhibition offers glimpses into the artist’s narratives that tell us stories of the Central European region and its history. Milan Mazúr’s speculative film essay What kind of song has managed to dispel this fog? (2022) works with elements of family history and deconstructs them expressively. It teeters on the edge of genre and unsettles the viewer with the ambivalence of film language.

Jan Durina (*1988 in Liptovský Hrádok, Slovakia) is an interdisciplinary artist who uses a variety of media to develop characters and the complex narratives in which they exist. Through performance, photography and sound, Durina unfolds the nuances of each narrative, addressing themes such as loneliness, loss, the boundaries between nature and the body, and the distortions of the human mind as experienced within an ever-changing gender and identity. Through this process Durina produces art works in the form of music, performance, film, and photography, seamlessly and confidently moving between exhibitionary to performance contexts. He lives and works in Prague.

Alena Kotzmannová (*1974 in Prague, Czech Republic) is a graduate of the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design Prague (UMPRUM) and the Faculty of Education at Charles University. She works with photography, video and installation, approaching them conceptually and exploring their conventions and limits. Kotzmannová combines the media in different ways and reflects on their nature. She takes up everyday situations, looks at them from unexpected perspectives and reveals their hidden poetics. The artist lives and works in Prague.

Milan Mazúr (*1989 in Žilina, Slovakia) is an artist and filmmaker. His work focuses on the balance between contemporary visual mass media and critical social perspectives. His videos and films are integrated into broader installation projects. Originally from Slovakia, he graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design Prague (UMPRUM) in the Intermedia Confrontations studio. Mazúr is currently a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) Prague in the Studio for New Media I. He lives and works in Prague.

The Czech Center Berlin had to leave the brutalist Embassy building on Wilhelmstraße in 2023 due to the planned renovation which led to the loss of its established exhibition space. As a response to this, Stephan Koal (director of KVOST) proposed to cooperatively realize a photography exhibition at KVOST. The Fotograf Festival from Prague, a young and vibrant platform in the field of photography, was then invited to curate an exhibition.

Světlana Malinová is curator of the non-profit gallery City Surfer Office in Prague and artistic director of the Fotograf Festival in Prague.

A cooperation between KVOST, the Czech Center Berlin, the Fotograf Festival in Prague and the Slovak Institute Berlin.