press release

Biennale Matter of Art 2020 "Come Closer"
Various locations


Exhibition opening: July 21, 6pm–12am
Prague City Gallery & Prague Market

curators of the exhibition:
Tereza Stejskalová & Vít Havránek

The Biennale Ve věci umění / Matter of Art 2020 (VVUMOA) will be held in Prague from July 22 to November 15, 2020, and highlights the themes of care, empathy and intimacy in relation to divisions existing across race, culture, class and gender. The project, organised by the initiative for contemporary art, comprises the international exhibition entitled Come Closer, curated by Tereza Stejskalová and Vít Havránek, who are also editors of Come Closer: The Biennale Reader—a book published concurrently with the biennale and distributed internationally by Sternberg Press. In order to promote the accessibility of art in general, all venues of the biennale have wheelchair access, and free admission applies to the exhibition as well as to all the events presented as a part of the extended community programme. Further details on the programme will be announced in the forthcoming weeks on the biennale website, via the newsletter and on the Facebook & Instagram profiles.

Featured among the 40 participating artists are Candice Breitz, Ragnar Kjartansson, Karol Radziszewski, Sung Tieu, Róbert Gabriš, Taring Padi, Anna Kravets, Alina Kopytsa, Tuan Mami, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Eric Baudelaire, Lucy Beech, Alžběta Bačíková, Otty Widasari & Hafiz, Jiří Žák, Institute of Anxiety and many more. Nearly a dozen of the artists were commissioned to produce new artworks for the biennale. The list of authors who contributed to the reader includes Jérôme Bazin, Sarah Sharma, Eva Koťátková, Jiří Skála, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu, Simone Wille and others.

“The exhibition communicates emotional and physical experience that is both ambivalent and complicated. Closeness and empathy, the exhibition’s two main themes, are basic human needs and expressions of caring, of the emotional work we perform for others and for ourselves. Can art mediate experience across class, gender, and cultural lines? Is it possible to emotionally and sensually feel someone else’s experience, someone with whom we have nothing in common? Can we share an experience that, by its very essence, is alien to us because we come from a different socio-cultural environment and have different experiences?”—state the curators of the biennale, Tereza Stejskalová and Vít Havránek, with regard to their curatorial approach.

The project builds upon the activities of the initiative, which has had a significant influence on the Czech art scene as a part of the network, founded in 2002 and working independently in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Romania. During the course of its existence, has been engaged in numerous international projects and exhibitions within the framework of, such as Monument to Transformation 1989 – 2009; Manifesta 8; Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module and others. Furthermore, VVUMOA is a founding member of the East European Biennale Alliance, together with OFF-Biennale in Budapest, the Visual Culture Research Center in Kiev and Biennale Warszawa. ERSTE Foundation is the main partner of

Participating artists
Adriena Šimotová, Alena Kučerová, Alice Nikitinová, Alina Kopytsa, Allan Elgart, Alžběta Bačíková, Anna Kravets, Atelier of Irreversible Change, Bohumila Doleželová, Candice Breitz, Elisabeth Subrin, Eric Baudelaire, Eva Springerová, Hafiz, Institute of Anxiety, Isabela Grosseová & Jesper Alvaer, Iza Pavlina, Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Jiří Skála, Jiří Žák, Karol Radziszewski, Krešimir Golik, Lucy Beech, Marina Abramović, Naděžda Plíšková, Olga Čechová, Otty Widasari, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Ragnar Kjartansson, Raša Todosijević, Renato Guttuso, Róbert Gabriš, Sung Tieu, Taring Padi, Thomas Hirschhorn, Tuan Mami, Věra Merhautová



Prague City Gallery (GHMP) Městská knihovna, 2nd floor Mariánské náměstí 98/1 110 00 Prague

Prague Market Bubenské nábřeží 306/13 170 00 Prague

and other locations