• City Gallery of Contemporary Art


Temporary Structures 5

The Powerless Source of All Power

  1. PLATO Bauhaus, Janáčkova 22

Zbyněk Baladrán

Michal Novotný


The main function of the display structure is to produce an environment for the presentation of art in all its forms. The display interacts with art and creates specific conditions for its presentation, through which it also influences the manner in which an artwork is showcased. The Powerless Source of All Power, a third display, in which Zbyněk Baladrán worked together with the curator Michal Novotný, follows in the tracks of the two previous structures, Liquid Octagone by the Belgian artist Wesley Meuris and Sheer Indulgence by the Estonian artist Marge Monko.

“As PLATO operates in a former DIY store, our objective was not to create an art and exhibition infrastructure in the true sense of the word, like plasterboard walls, pedestals, platforms and projection boxes, but to work with artists interested in non-artistic manners of exhibiting, and especially in thinking about how different manners of presentation influence our perception of what is displayed. Rather than an ideal gallery, the result is a presentation scenery into which further artistic activities are inserted.

The third presentation structure – display is by the Czech artist Zbyněk Baladrán (*1973), whose work can be briefly described as a probe into how notions of the organisation of knowledge in individual social systems back-influence the functioning of these societies. Be it a database, film strip, diagram, photograph, film or subtitles, Baladrán always combines these information displays with transformation- utopian moments of the society, and their criticism.

The Powerless Source of All Power display, the title of which is loosely inspired by the essays by the Czech philosopher Karel Kosík, continues in the tracks of Baládrán’s interest in the collective unconscious as a prerequisite for all behaviour, and thus also for historical development. The presented video examines the unconscious of artificial intelligence, a kind of huge data storage, and the simulation of subjectivity which is now conduced via algorithms. The installation is an allegory of the human collective unconscious, of the way in which it was formed by the economic system in which we live, and to what extent it affects the functioning and the possibility of artistic imagination as such. The frame of the installation, which in one of its parts resembles a digestive system and in another a memory storage, is an autonomous work of art, yet it also offers a space for further presentations.”

Michal Novotný

Zbyněk Baladrán (*1973, Prague, CR) studied art history at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Prague, and later in the studio of visual communication led by Jiří David, in the studio of painting and in the studio of the new media at the Prague AVU academy. He produces multimedia installations and video-films characterised by the search for the links and patterns in the subjective perception and behaviour of both individuals and society. He is one of the founders of the display space for contemporary art and participates in the preparation of the exhibition programme for tranzitdisplay. He was a curator of The Monument of Transformation project and is a member of a team of curators (tranzit.org) for Manifesta 8. He has taken part in major international art shows and festivals (Manifesta 5, 11th Lyon Biennale, 56th Venice Biennale, MoMA).



photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák
photo: Martin Polák