For the exhibition Time Capsule, Ondák expands on this trajectory with the creation of two new works that reference recent world events. The first work, an installation entitled Time Capsule, makes direct reference to the incident at the San José mine in Chile in 2010, in which 33 miners were trapped 700 meters below ground for 69 days. The miners were in the end raised from the mine through a drilled escape shaft and by the use of the rescue capsule called Fenix 2. Ondák has created an exact replica of the capsule, which will be installed in the darkened gallery and connected by a rope to an escape shaft attached to the gallery’s ceiling. Where Time Capsule evokes the isolation experienced in the mine, the performance Stampede - its counterpoint executed in the second gallery - touches on the other extreme, when people experience overcrowded situations. For this work, Ondák stages a performance involving a large crowd of people walking into and out of the darkened gallery prior to the exhibition. The traces of the performance will be then left evident.
Taking on a variety of forms, from installation and photography to drawing and performance, Ondák’s work makes subtle interventions into social and cultural structures and crosses the borders between art and everyday life, the private and the public, the personal and the institutional. For Loop, 2009, designed for the Czech and Slovak Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale, Ondák extended the gardens outside through the pavilion itself, playing with viewers’ experience of interior and exterior, reality and the exhibition space. In Measuring the Universe, 2007, gallery attendants marked viewers’ heights, first names, and the date of the measurement on the gallery walls, so that over time the gallery gradually accumulated the traces of thousands of visitors.
A monograph will be produced to accompany this exhibition, in collaboration with Kunsthaus Zurich, and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K21, Düsseldorf. The publication will cover Ondák’s exhibitions of newly commissioned work at these three venues, alongside a retrospective survey of the past twenty years of his practice.
Miroslaw Balka, Topography and Pawel Althamer, Common Task, Modern Art Oxford, UK