East Contemporary

DOX Centre for Contemporary Art: Marek Schovanek “Propaganda”

Prague, October 30, 2015 – January 11, 2016, http://www.dox.cz


The exhibition statement introduced Marek Schovanek as “the best unknown artist in the world”. The word “best” is of course very elusive and subjective, but maybe it was used to elucidate Schovanek’ attempts to cover a range so vast that the endeavor proved superhuman, and thus hardly achievable. The exhibition covered objects ranging from pop-art to ready-made sculptures and calligraphic paintings. There was definitely an underlying concern for consumer culture, advertising and stereotypical symbolism, but it was hard to trace the relationships or narrative within the show itself. It was more like a walk through the artist’s warehouse, showing different artworks from different periods and with different levels of maturity. The biggest abyss has been between the paintings (all with a similar calligraphic layering of unreadable text) and the sculptural assemblages of readymade objects which did not just reference consumer objects, but also a, by now boring and commercial, art world trend. The paintings had a personal and intimate feel, and I could not make out how to position them in relation to the antler trophies made of shopping cart parts or the helmet with industrial wheels resembling a mickey-mouse. The overall feeling was thus one of a mixed whole, like when flipping through a mail-order catalogue or zapping through TV channels – true that since the times of Edward Bernays, all of that is propaganda.

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