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I Hide
September 1977
Vinohrady, Prague
B&W Photo and text on paper
29,7 x 21,3 cm
Edition 3/3,
Signed, titled and numbered
Inv. Nr. 192

Born in 1953 in Prague, Czech Republic
Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic

Jiří Kovanda first appeared on the art scene along with the second generation of Czech “actionism” in the late 1970s. He has recently been discovered in the West through his minimalist actions and “action-interventions,” which might be referred to as protocols of a general record. They differ significantly from older Czech Fluxus activities, which had pedagogical and utopian aims, and from those of his contemporaries, whose performances often explored physical and existential frontiers. Kovanda’s minimalist actions and interventions of the 1970s, were often so subtle they were almost imperceptible. They could not attack immediately, but they did have an effect in the long run. There is a certain romanticism in his artistic gestures that may have been stimulating in the depressing 1970s, when it served as a contrast to so many traumatic and politically-laden performances.
XXX, I Arranged to Meet a Few Friend…We Were Standing in a Small Group on the Square, Talking…Suddenly, I Started Running; I Raced Across the Square and Disappeared into Melantrich Street..., January 23, 1978, XXX, Scratching Previously Drawn Hearts Off the Wall With my Nails..., June 29, 1977, I Hide, September 1977, and XXX, I Played a Recording of Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” From a Tape Player to a Group of Listeners Gathered Round, February 23, 1978, take part of a series. There are made up of Czech typewritten texts, translated in english in the title, which is sometimes underhand by pictures which memorizes the former “discreet” performances of Jiří Kovanda in Prague during the late 1970s as reveled by the date in the title.
In parallel of its performances Kovanda was used to draw like with the series I Crossed It Out and Circle from 1977, drawn on a particular green graph paper. Jana's Hair, 4/77, is part of these pictures, mostly unrecognized, and realized in the late 1970s as well.