press release

Peter Bartoš was an early exponent of conceptual and action art in Slovakia. Coming from an exploration of painting as a process, he realized actions in the late 1960s in which he poured paint on various support media or scattered grids of materials like cinder, dust, chalk powder, or peat over the streets and squares of Bratislava. His primary interest in these projects concerned the physical properties of the materials, the temporary nature of works existing only as processes, and the ways in which materials might be transformed by way of accumulation or dispersal.

Nature is an important source of inspiration for Bartoš. Many of his conceptual works, which often evolve and grow more complex over the course of decades, intertwine questions of ecological planning and the shaping of natural settings with issues of liberty and privacy in connection with (national and political) boundaries. He has worked with live animals on several occasions, thus in the 1971 action Vypúšt'anie holubov na slobodu [Releasing the Pigeons], which must be read in the context of the isolation of his country at the time.

In Situations 1945–2014, an exhibition designed for the Secession, Bartoš presents a first survey of his multifaceted oeuvre in the form of a chronological xerographic catalogue raisonné. In a perspective schooled by anti-art, he regards the photocopy as both a work in itself and a medium that lets him record and distribute his concepts.

Peter Bartoš was born in Prague in 1938 and lives and works in Bratislava.

Invited by the board of the Secession Curated by Annette Südbeck