Curatorial History of Contemporary Art

Jiří Ptáček has been engaged in curatorship since the end of 1990s. He mostly worked as a freelance curator, between 2007 and 2008 he worked as a dramaturgist of the NoD Gallery at the Experimental Venue Roxy/NoD and today he works as a curator at the Photographer Gallery.Besides he is thoroughly devoted to art reviews and journalism (among others periodicals Umělec, Fotograf, A2, Flash Art or Nový prostor). Between 2003 and 2006 he was an editor in chief of Umělec magazine. Before opening his presentation he adopted a strictly disapproving attitude to being filmed. According to him, the presence of camera makes the natural contact with the viewers more difficult. It also causes that people tend to replace a direct social interaction for watching the recording comfortably at home.

Jiří Ptáček emphasized the importance of social relations, affiliation „for“ and movement „to“ the art community and expressed his reservation about exhibitions that just „land“ here without any evident relation to the community (as an example he mentioned the Rudolfinum Gallery).
Jiří Ptáček arranged his first exhibitions in his hometown České Budějovice. Together with contacts he had made, they did not spectrally disappear from his CV even after his relocation to Brno and Prague. Since 2010 he has been governing the dramaturgy of the Zutý Mánes Gallery in České Budějovice in a studio/flat of Michal Vavrečka (a painter who he prepared one of his first exhibitions in České Budějovice to). One of the most distinct artists of his curatorship portfolio is for example Václav Stratil he met in Brno and whom he has arranged exhibitions regularly since the beginning of the millennium, besides Brno also in Olomouc, Prague and of course in České Budějovice (among others in Zutý Mánes).
In 2011/12 he worked at the studio of video of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno as a lecturer under Martin Zet. There was also established the Banja Luka Studio, a spontaneous grouping of a broader circle of people from the Faculty of Fine Arts and outside participants. The initial motivation was an appeal of two young Bosnian artists for exhibition in Banja Luka, the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The community of artists and theoreticians predetermined an aim to test possible models in a team. It was actually an experiment during which it was possible to study how standard social relations and identities violation made new relations and identities emerge. The Banja Luka Studio was presented by Jiří Ptáček in Tranzitdisplay Gallery in 2012.
There he adapted a group therapeutic method of so-called systemic constellation. Ptáček regards this exhibition together with the „studio“ activities as a certain metaphor for a curator’s work.

Josef Ledvina

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