Curator: Ivana Janković
This year, the Museum of Avant-Garde is represented with the artist Július Koller (Piestany, 1939. — Bratislava, 2007.) who, with Stano Filko and Rudolf Sikora, is one of the pioneers of Czechoslovakian Conceptual art and one of the radical protagonist of the Neo-Avant-Garde scene of the 1960s and 1970s, of the time of the political repression in the then Czechoslovakia.
Július Koller (Piestany, 1939. — Bratislava, 2007.)
Koller graduated for the Academy of Arts and Design in Bratislava in 1965, under Dezider Milly, Orest Dubay, and Ján Želibský. Alongside his work in painting/anti-painting be did sculpture/anti-sculpture and anti-happening in the spirit of Dada and Fluxus, and was also involved in pedagogical work.
From the mid-1960s he engaged in collecting object of cultural significance and collective conciousness, of articles, art books, books on space explorations, UFO-fever, on ancient civilizations, as well as amateur documentation, photography, and scrap-booking the documention and notes of his life. In this period he created a series of anti-paintings and objects as a critique of the "modernist cult of painting and object."
Since 1967 he started pedagogical work and amateur paining, he organized classes and programmes all around Czechoslovakia. Amateur painting was, for him, just another form of resisting the mainstream. His continual photographic series U.F.O.-naut started in 1970. He was expelled from the Artists' Society in 1972 because of his untraditional and anti-academic activities (anti-happenings, mail-art). From the 1970s until the 1980s, he was actively engaged in the events and programmes of the Czechoslovakian Neo-Avant-Garde underground scene in various alternative spaces, but sometimes also as part of public institutions' official programmes. With a few like-minded friends, in 1980 he founded a fictitious Ganek Gallery on the highest point of the High Tatras, focused on the exploration of cosmos-humanist culture. In the 1990s he founded the New Seriousness art society.
He exhibited on many group and solo exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad. After the artist's works were donated to the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, the Gallery hosted a posthumous retrospective exhibition in 2010 titled Július Koller Science-Fiction Retrospective.
His works can be found in many notable public and private collections and museums, such as: Tate Modern, Museum of Modern Art New York, galleries in Bratislava, Generali Foundation, the Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation, as well as many other European galleries and private collections.