1973 · Czech Republic
Zbyněk Baladrán is an author, artist, curator and exhibition architect. He studied art history in the Philosophy Department of the Charles University (Univerzita Karlova) and in the studios for Visual Communication, Painting and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Prague. In 2001 he co-founded Display, a space for contemporary art, which in 2007 was transformed into Tranzitdisplay (http://www.tranzitdisplay.cz/en) where he is responsible for the exhibitions program. Together with Vit Havránek he curated “Monument to Transformation”, a three-year long research project on the social and political transformations. He was a member of the curatrorial team (through tranzit.org) of Manifesta 8 in Murcia, Spain (2010). He took part in the 11th Lyon Biennial, in Manifesta 5 in Donostia / San Sebastian (2004), in the 56th La Biennale di Venezia (2013) and in MoMA (2015). He is represented by the Jocelyn Wolff Gallery in Paris, Gandy Gallery in Bratislava and Hunt Kastner in Prague. In his works he is investigating territories that are occupied by that part of civilization, which we call Western. Using methodology similar to those used by the ethnographer, the anthropologist and the sociologist, this post-humanist “archaeologist” is digging up the remnants of the not-so-distant past. He is searching for spatial “pockets” where the way of life is reflected with its systems, rules and coincidences; as well as for the objects through which humanity, obsessed with itself, is arranging the image of its past and future.
(The works of Baladrán might be seen within the anthropological and ethnographic approaches for investigating society through art that have become especially productive lately. He is dealing in practice and in theory with the metaphor of archaeology as a creative method. He is interested in what kind of an image will humanity come up with and in what kinds of societal systems and regimes will it function. The artist is using video, text and installation. His works could be characterized as an analytical search for interconnections in the past and its construction as an attitude towards the dominant epistemological models. Baladrán is one of the first Czech artists to interpret analytically the format of the video in relation to the leftist heritage of the past. He is using references to the avant-garde and analysis of the new aesthetics of information distribution, lectures and the working environment. Together with Ján Mančuška and Vit Havránek he is exploring the rhizomatic models of functioning of societal structures. In spite of the rational and analytical approach, the works of Baladrán are distinguished by their sensory quality.) Iara Boubnova, ICA, 2015