Profiles

Vít Havránek (*1971) is known for his curatorial projects but also for his different cultural-organizational activities. In many projects we can find his name as an editor, theoretician, organizer or teacher. The majority of his activities are closely linked with the contemporary art initiative tranzit.cz which is a part of a wider Central and East European network. The Prague branch tranzit.cz, which is at present concerned with the position and function of art institutions, meets the initiative Display in one space forming together the gallery Tranzitdisplay. The result is the so-called Institutional Diary which is available online, the project “Feminist Institutions” lead by Havránek´s colleague Tereza Stejskalová, and, finally, the call Institution for Residence which enabled three art groups to meet in Prague – Visual Culture Research Center from Kiev, Purusha Research Cooperative from Indonesia and “Studio without a head” from the Czech Republic.

In course of the 1990s, while Havránek studied art history at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University (he got his PhD degree in 2006, disertation Authentic Structures. Personalities and structures of interpretation in Czechoslovak art 1949-2004), he was employed in a number of different institutions, such as Soros Center of Contemporary Art, Institute of Art History at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the National Gallery (department of modern and contemporary art) or Prague City Gallery. In 2002 he was one of the founders of the Prague branch of Tranzit. Within the framework of this institution the spectrum of his activities broadened substantially – not only did he prepare exhibitions but he also organized lectures, talks and edited publications. Havránek´s theoretical work is defined by a group of artists who at the turn of the 20th century were interested in the return and new forms of conceptual art (Ján Mančuška, Jiří Skála and Zbyněk Baladrán who cooperated with Havránek on many projects). He also contributed to the adoption of a new attitude towards the work of Jiří Kovanda, Július Koller or Stano Filko. In this respect Havránek´s exhibition of experimental art of the 1960s entitled Action Word Movement Space in the Municipal library at the turn of the year 1999 became iconic.

As we can see in the program of Tranzit, Havránek´s theoretical interest is not
closely concerned with the autonomous position of visual art but he always reflects its broader global and political context. This is true about the project Monument to Transformation (Monument transformace), which aimed at maping the social and political development in the Czech Republic (but in the perspective of Central and Eastern Europe) and which was presented by its initiators – Vít Havránek and Zbyněk Baladrán – in the form of an extensive atlas and in the form of an exhibition in Prague (2009) and in Spain, in Montehermos (2010). Furthermore, he is also active in the field of documentary-art videos, apart from others he edited the publication The Need to Document (2005), which deals with the documentary turn in contemporary visual arts.

In many aspects Havránek´s work reaches beyond the horizon of the Czech art scene, together with Zbyněk Baladrán he took part in the preparation of the 8th Manifesta in Spain (2010) and at present he belongs to the team of curators preparing the Jakarta Biennale (2017).

Anna Remešová

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