Jiří Kovanda On Paper/ On Air

Piece for Seagulls, 2008, performance documentation
Courtesy of the artist, SVIT(Prague)


Jiří Kovanda


On Air
Dec 19, 2020 – Jan 24, 2021  Feb 14, 2021  Feb 21, 2021 (Extended)
at Aoyama Meguro
soft opening Dec.19. 16–18h.

Thu. and Fri. 12-19h
Sat. and Sun. 12-18h
Closed on Monday to Wednesday

Winter Holidays:
The galleries will be closed for the following dates:
Dec 28, 2020 – Jan 6, 2021

Location: Aoyama Meguro
2-30-6 Kamimeguro Meguroku Tokyo Japan 153-0051

Supported by Ministry of Culture Czech Republic

Collaboration with SVIT (Prague)



On Paper
Jan 18, – Feb 12, 2021   Feb 19, 2021 (Extended)
at Czech Centre Tokyo

Hours: 14-19h
Closed on Sat, Sun and National Holidays

Location: Czech Centre Tokyo / České centrum Tokio
2-16-14 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokio 150-0012 – Ministerstvo zahraničních věcí

Sponsorship: České centrum Tokio
Collaboration with SVIT (Prague)


Special thanks to:Eva Takamine (České centrum Tokio)
Michal Manek (SVIT)
Seiko Hihara
Sachie Hoshi
Pablo Cendejas


The venue will implement the necessary measures to prevent coronavirus infection.

Czech Centre Tokyo and Aoyama Meguro are pleased to announce that we are simultaneously holding two solo exhibitions of a Prague-based artist Jiri Kovanda (born 1953) for the first time in Japan.

Kovanda is a self-taught artist and started his career in the middle of the 1970s with no private studio.During the period, he carried out self-effacing style of actions in crowd, street, public spaces and etc. in Prague; they were documented through black and white photos and compiled into leaflets along with simple scenario (on what to do and how to do it). Actually, these inconspicuous actions were intended to spread their effect to urban space in an undisturbed manner.

These performances include “Untitled (On an escalator … turning around, I look into the eyes of the person standing behind me …), September 3, 1977,” “Untitled (I’m crying. I gazed at the sun for so long that I have started to cry.), 1977,” and “I take some water from the river in my cupped hands and release it a few metres down the river, May 11, 1976, Strelecky Island, Prague.” Presumably, under the social circumstances at that time, he neither put an emphasis on introducing his activity to many people as “work of art,” nor on making himself popular.

His delicate, unnoticeable activity can smoothly blend with surrounding situations and its powerlessness positively helps to heighten the preciousness of an individual.Kovanda has a stronger sense of purpose rather than the one who expresses social rebellion and the abundant potential of his performance makes it hard to define with language or be understood in the context of conceptual art. His silent but determined actions cannot be suppressed under any political circumstances and contain powerful force as if it were an anthem of anonymous people.

The simple impression of his actions can also be perceived in his paintings, drawings, and sculptures and installations which are carefully situated in space. These artworks quietly indicate that no matter how things are transient, emotions and circumstances of everypeople are valuable, every material is rich, and every time and space is plentiful.

Since the 2000s, Kovanda’s artistic activity was rediscovered by researchers and other interested people.He has participated in important international exhibitions and been widely influential while pursuing his career through active creation.

In the two exhibitions which will be held simultaneously, performances based on the artist’s text instruction sent from Prague are planned to take place at both venues.


Hideki Aoyama / owner Aoyama Meguro gallery

Translation: Katsumi Ota