The project succeeded in its main goal, which was to connect international artists and curators in preparation of the biennale “Matter of Art” in 2022. It was important for the selected curators and artists to emerge themselves into the cultural scene of the Czech Republic, to dive into the local context and particular artistic research to work successfully on new art pieces as well as the overall curatorial concept together with the team of tranzit.cz.
In 2021, thanks to the support of the EUNIC cluster fund, the project welcomed in Prague the residents: Alina Kleitman (UA), Marie Lukáčová (CZ), Rado Ištok (SK), Piotr Sikora (PL), Sina Seifee (DE) and Gema I. Miangollara (ESP). French artist Eric Baudelaire (FR) is doing a specific historical research remotely with the help of a young Czech researcher Tomáš Vobořil (CZ). The first edition of the biennale reached an audience of 5.000 people in 2020. The project allowed to interconnect different people and enabled them to collaborate. For example, the resident Eric Baudelaire is collaborating with the young Czech artist and researcher Tomáš Vobořil, who is participating in his historical research as a preparatory phase of his artistic project to be displayed at the Biennale “Matter of Art” 2022. There were other similar collaborations, for example an artistic collaboration of Marie Lukáčová & Alina Kleitman and plenty of dialogues between our curatorial residents and Czech artists, which were done in the form of studio visits.
Challenges and Learnings
The main challenge for the project was the corona pandemic. Travels were very difficult to realize and flexibility was key to managing this project. Nevertheless, the planned residencies were successfully conducted and some took place remotely. Another challenge that arose for the same reasons during the implementation of the project was to conduct a public in-person event. However, to reach the public and share the results with a wider audience five interviews were live streamed in December 2021, always in the form of a dialogue between an artist, a curator and the moderators Tereza Stejskalová or Veronika Janatková. The residencies were also influential in designing the podcast series RAUT.
The support from EUNIC was vital in our effort to explore the dynamics between the global and local contexts in contemporary art, theory and beyond. Following the first waves of the COVID pandemic, the artists and curators were eager to collaborate in real life. While we took this opportunity to explore new models of collaboration, we believe that it is crucial to build and maintain strong and long-term connections between artists, curators and audience that are based on physical presence.Tereza Stejskalová, artistic director, tranzit.cz
Cultural exchange and mobility is a tool that could help us overcome the growing divisions in society due to geopolitical tensions, fear of migration or pandemics. Art and culture can show us a path towards universal language through which we can discuss the challenges of today, regardless of our origins. Our institution strives to achieve this through complex international projects, and a strong partnership with EUNIC has proven to be essential for us on this journey.Veronika Janatková, executive director, tranzit.cz