Profiles

Tereza Stejskalová is one of the most prominent feminist and critical voices on the Czech art scene. At present, she works as a curator in the initiative tranzit.cz and in the long term focuses on art critique.

Between 2012 and 2015 she was an art editor of the cultural biweekly A2 and online platform A2larm. Her articles were published in several other magazines, such as Artalk.cz or Political Critique. Besides art, often in relation to art, she focuses on political and social topics. When she was awarded the Věra Jirousová award for established critics, the jury praised her aiming not only at art itself but also at problems of art or cultural practice in general.

One of the topics Stejskalová dealt with was the question of wages in art institutions. In 2011, together with Pavel Sterec and Jiří Ptáček, she published the article Nulová mzda (Zero wage) in A2, in which the authors articulated their outrage at the unfairness of the distribution of funding in art practice. In particular they criticise the fact that artists and curators exhibiting in art institutions are not, as opposed to other people involved, rewarded financially- thus receiving zero wage. This article led to Výzva proti nulové mzdě (Call against zero wage) with more than 150 signatures, addressed to cultural contributory organizations that had problems with paying wages. Stejskalová then became one of the initiators of the discussion about a topic that had till then been a taboo on the art scene. Following this appeal and other activist deeds, such as the protest against privatization of the Mánes Exhibition Hall, Stejskalová was one of the founders of the Spolek Skutek in 2013. This collective, besides other things, tries to make art practice be perceived as a regular job with adequate rate of pay.

As a curator, Stejskalová often works through postcolonial and feministic prism. Her curatorial practice is typically an outcome of a long term research, such as the project Filmaři všech zemí, spojte se! (Filmmakers of all countries, unite! (2016). This project presents forgotten movies of filmmakers of the so-called third world countries who studied at FAMU in Prague in the fifties and sixties. Their studies in Czechoslovakia were part of Czechoslovakia’s extensive humanitarian help to African and Asian countries. She focused on the same topic in the exhibition project Biafra ducha. Studenti z třetího světa v Československu 2017 (Biafra of Spirit. Third World Students in Czechoslovakia), that she processed together with Zbyněk Baladrán. Biafra of Spirit, dealing with cultural exchange between these countries and Czechoslovakia, had been exhibited in several world cities before arriving at the Trade Fair Palace in Prague. Following collaboration with the National Gallery on this exhibition, Stejskalová published commentary Jak jsem spolupracovala s Národní galerií (How I collaborated with the National Gallery) on Artalk.cz in 2017, where she criticised the working conditions and thus started a discussion about the functioning of one of the main Czech art institutions.

In tranzit.cz, where she has worked as a curator since 2015, Stejskalová held a series of lectures and seminars in 2017 debating the question whether an institution can be feminist. These seminars led to a collectively developed Code of Practice of a Feminist Art Institution, defining main principles that an institution should follow if they want to be built upon fair and ethical foundations.

Natálie Drtinová

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