Objects, images and text that lead to the concept of “klasikon”. The word is neither Czech nor English, but somehow we subconsciously know what it means.
Klasikon, an exhibition by Richard Nikl with a text intervention by Jiří Maha, is embarrassing by being so symptomatic, which is both confirmed and relativized, as well as ironized. We find ourselves in a museum, a collection, on a promenade, an agora, in a tomb, a vessel or in a game of cultures, which ontologically leads to the concept of Klasikon. Klasikon is most of all an environment, a hiding place primarily for the human species that is incomplete without techne. Klasikon is a technology of the past and of the future. Our origin is Klasikon, we keep comparing ourselves with anthropocentric benchmarks and hierarchies, which, in spite of everything, keep us relatively calm and in control of our universal settling in artistic and artificial structures. However, this cornerstone and difficult-to-replace universality, stabilized by the right proportions, loses its orthogonality at the top and transforms into another universal form, an organically liquid archetype, though not at the cost of losing its supporting capacity. In the exhibition, the carrier is the reversible character of the plinth; if the sculpture is turned upside down, it will still stand. Hierarchy is an atmosphere rather than order. Klasikon has a distinct style, but it goes beyond time. The exhibition is Klasikon, consisting of objects, paintings and text, just like other exhibitions. Significant concepts passing through Richard Nikl’s exhibition and Jiří Maha’s text are environment, memory, object/process, infrastructure and sequence. “The universal metric is the absence of a goal” (JM).
Richard Nikl lives and works in Frankfurt am Main and Prague. He studied in the studios of Jiří Kovanda at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. In 2017, he graduated from the Städelschule Frankfurt. He has exhibited at the Palais des Beaux-Arts Bozar in Brussels, the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, the Czech Centre in New York, the National Gallery in Prague, the Shore Gallery in Vienna, the Lovaas Gallery in Munich and the KIM Contemporary Art Center in Riga. In 2013, he was one of the five finalists of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award.
Jiří Maha is currently primarily involved in the design and development of educational materials at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. He also has a theoretical interest in the relationship between design, technology and society. In 2016, he graduated in New Media at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague with a thesis on the work of Gilbert Simondon. He also graduated from Jiří Kovanda’s studio at the Faculty of Art and Design of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (2010). He has exhibited, for example, at the Fotograf Gallery in Prague, the Brno House of Arts, and the Magazin Gallery in Vienna. Jiří Maha’s text and video are also available on the Octopus Press website – www.octopus-press.cz.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Moravian-Silesian Region.