The departure point of Jiří David’s site-specific installation Apotheosis (2015) is the monumental painting Apotheosis of the Slavs: Slavs for Humanity (1926) by the Czech Secessionist artist Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939). This, the last in the series The Slav Epic (1911 – 1926), consisting of twenty large canvases with a distinct romantic sentiment, is the culmination of Mucha’s heroic saga on the history of the Czechs and the Slavic nations, which he created in honour of the birth of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. David approaches Mucha’s painting from the position of a contemporary artist with an analytical-critical point of view and an ambivalent stance. David’s gesture of appropriation and reinterpretation of Mucha’s work, represented by a black and white reworking of the original image, simultaneously constitutes an act of deconstruction enhanced by his subtle intervention in the individual parts of the composition in the form of apocrypha.

The point of the installation with intertextual crossovers is the active spectator, whom David provides with a whole range of interesting mental, emotional and visual experiences via participation in an empty space and a cramped one with the key focal point of a corridor, which presents the spectator with the challenge of submerging into the “archaeology of knowledge and memories”. Here the viewer/participant encounters the reinterpreted Apotheosis, reflected in a mirror wall of identical dimensions, and becomes an ephemeral part of it. The mirror is an important metaphor in the context of this work, because it offers the spectator the possibility of self-reflection and introspection. The installation based on meditation as well as playfulness motivates the recipients to consider geopolitical and socio-cultural issues in a timeline of more than a century and asks them questions relating to the re-evaluation of concepts such as home, country, nation, state, the history of the Czechs and the Slavic ethnic group. In this way, Apotheosis also becomes a time-specific installation that is a stimulus to critical thinking about a number of serious political, economic, socio-cultural, philosophical and sociological issues that reference the past and the present of the world in the broader relationships in which local and global issues intersect.


The exhibition is accompanied by a book – a reader titled Apotheosis, Apocalypse, Apocryphon: Deified Nations, Deified Art consisting of five essay reprints. The essays have been written by significant European and American philosophers, sociologists and historians, such as Jacques Rancière, Zygmunt Bauman, Peter Sloterdijk, Timothy Snyder and Susan Buck-Morss. The reader also includes seven new essays by relevant Czech, Macedonian and Slovak philosophers, sociologists and art historians, such as Jiří Přibáň, Václav Bělohradský, Miroslav Petříček, Karel Srp, Milena Slavická, Suzana Milevska and Katarína Rusnáková. The collection of diverse contributions resonates with the key connotations of Jiří David’s oeuvre, which focuses on historical, philosophical, aesthetic, artistic, social and political topics and introduces them into ambiguous correlations.

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La Biennale di Venezia 2015
56th International Art Exhibition
“All the World’s Futures”
Curated by Okwui Enwezor

Czech and Slovak Pavilion
Giardini della Biennale
Sestiere Castello
30122 Venice

9 May – 22 November
Tuesdays – Sundays
10am – 6pm


Jiří David

(* 1956, Rumburk; lives and works in Prague)


  • 1982–1987 studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
  • 1987–1991 member of the art group Tvrdohlaví
  • 1995–2002 head of the Visual Communication Studio, Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
  • Since 2004 head of the Intermedia and Concept Studio at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague

Selected Individual Exhibitions

  • 1987:
    Jiří David: Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
  • 1988:
    Jiří David: Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
  • 1988:
    Jiří David, Riverside Studios, London
  • 1989:
    Jiří David, Gallery Opatov, Prague
  • 1990:
    Jiří David, Na bidýlku Gallery, Brno
  • 1990:
    Jiří David, Bahnwärterhaus, Esslingen
  • 1992:
    Jiří David: At the time of his averted face, MXM Gallery, Prague
  • 1993:
    Jiří David: The reality as regret, the regret as the suicide of arts, New Hall Gallery, Prague
  • 1993:
    Jiří David: The Last Paradise and Hitler's eyes, MXM Gallery, Prague
  • 1995:
    Jiří David: Hidden Image, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague
  • 1996:
    Jiří David: Hidden painting, Art Center Współczesnej Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
  • 2001:
    The Project Glow, Rudolfinum, Prague
  • 2002:
    Jiří David: Heart at the Castle, Prague Castle, North Tower of the Saint George Basilica, Prague
  • 2003:
    Jiří David: No Compassion, Spala Gallery, Prague
  • 2012:
    Jiří David: Too easy … Vertigo … Panic … Stendhal Syndrome … Local anesthesia … Geopornography, Zahorian & Co. Gallery, Bratislava
  • 2013:
    Jiří David: Baboon Shriek, Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace, Prague

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 1990:
    „Zeichen im Fluss“, Museum of 20th Century, Vienna, Prague, Pecs, Zagreb
  • 1991:
    Aperto Venice Biennale, Italy
  • 1992:
    „Prague-Bratislava D’une generation l’autre“, Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
  • 1993:
    Second Exit, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany
  • 1993:
    „Coexistence of Art“, Biennale Venezia, Italy
  • 1993:
    „Temporare Kunstnallee München“, „Nomad Sommer 1993“, Munich, Germany
  • 1993:
    „Unfair“, Artelier Graz, Frankfurt, Köln, Germany
  • 1993:
    „ART Hamburg 93“, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2000:
    „The Century of the Body: Photoworks 1900–2000“, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2000:
    „Anagrammatical Body“, Kunsthaus Muerz, Murzzuschlag, Austria
  • 2000:
    „50 Years of Art in Central Europe 1949–1999“, Museum of 20th Century, Vienna, Budapest, Milan, Barcelona, Southampton
  • 2002:
    Wonderland, Aeroplastics Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2003:
    Mars, Neue Galery, Graz, Austria
  • 2003:
    Gallery Künstler, München, Germany, 2004 – Je t’envisage, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
  • 2003:
    PHOTOESPAÑA2004 Madrid, España
  • 2003:
    „The 10 Commandments“, The Hygiene Museum Dresden, Germany
  • 2003:
    „About Face“, Hayward Gallery London, United Kingdom
  • 2003:
    „Pulse of America“, Aeroplastics Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2005:
    Berlin Photography Festival 2005 in Martin Groupius Bau (September till November), Berlin, Germany
  • 2006:
    In time between, National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow
  • 2009:
    Czech Photography of the 20th century, Kunsthalle Bonn, Germany
  • 2011:
    Undeniably me (Já, bezesporu), Galerie Rudolfinum, 2011, Czech Republic
  • 2012:
    Ostrovy odporu-Islands of Resistance (Between the First and Second Modernity 1985-2012), National Gallery, Prague
  • 2013:
    The Desire for Freedom, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK, Poland
  • 2013:
    Responsibility, Vögele Kultur Zentrum, Pfäffikon, Swiss
  • 2014:
    Jiri David, Andy Hope 1930, Florian Meisenberg, Spala Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2015:
    Redundant earth from the grave, Zahorian gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia


  • Jana a Jiří Ševčíkovi: „From Prague“, Flash Art International (N.139, March), 1988
  • Stuart Morgan: „Jiří David“, Artscribe, May, 1988 (N.69)
  • A.B.Oliva : „Neo Europe East“, Flash Art Internationál (N.140,May), 1988
  • Euan Mc Artur: „Jiří David“, Art Monthly (N.114, March, London), 1989
  • Kim Levin: „Avant - Slav“, Voice (June,N.20), 1989
  • A.B.Oliva: „Super Art“, Giancarlo Politi Editore, 1989
  • Claudia Jolles: „Eine Revolution im Samt und Rosen" Art(May, N.5), 1990
  • Helena Kontová: „Jiří David“, Flash Art Italia (N.156, June-July), 1990
  • Valerie Smith: „Third Way“, Art Forum International (January 1991)
  • Pepe Karmel: Art in Rewiev-Hidden Image, New York Times (July 28), 1995, Jiří David: Skryté podoby
  • Hidden image, 1995, Bělohradský V & co., 252 s., Published by Kant, Prague, ISBN 80-901903-1-6
  • Jiří David, 2001, Dostál M. & co., 166 s., Published by Kant, Praha, ISBN 80-86217-39-6
  • David, 2002, Dostál M. & co., 92 s., Published by Kant, Praha, ISBN 86217-26-4
  • Výtvarná skupina Tvrdohlaví/The art group Tvrdohlaví 1987 – 1999, 1999, Olič J, 292 s., Published by Kant, Praha, ISBN 80-238-3863-6
  • Erik Perret: Man at his Best: „Better Halves“ Esquire, New York, (1995 February)
  • The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London 2006
  • Inside Out –texty Jiří David, Jaques Derida, Martin Dostál, vydal Kant 2006

Katarína Rusnáková

Katarína Rusnáková graduated in Art History from the Faculty of Arts at Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia) in 1983. After her two-year fellowship there, between 1985 and 1990 she was a member of the Architectural Bureau of Žilina City, in 1990 curator of Považská galéria umenia (Museum of Arts) in Žilina, and from 1992 – 1997 she was the Director of this gallery. During the following two years she worked as an independent curator, between 1999 and 2000 she was the Director of the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art of the National gallery in Prague (Czech Republic). During the following three years she worked as an independent curator, critic and art historian. From 2003 to 2005 she was research fellow at the Institute of Art and Science at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. Since 2006 she is Head of the Department of Art Theory and History at the Faculty of Visual Arts, Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History (Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, 2009). Rusnáková is a laureate of the Martin Benka Award (1994) and is a member of the Slovak section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

Rusnáková has curated more than 50 exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad with accompanying catalogues, e.g. video – vidím – ich sehe. Považská galéria umenia, Žilina – Dům umění, Brno – Galéria mesta Bratislavy – Kunstmuseum Thun, 1994 – 1995, Aspekte/Positionen. 50 Jahre Kunst aus Mitteleuropa 1949 – 1999. Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Vienna – Ludwig Museum, Budapest – Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona – Hansard Gallery/City Gallery, Southampton, 1999 – 2000 (co-curator), Invitation for a Visit (Ilona Németh and Jiří Surůvka), La Biennale di Venezia, 49. Esposizione Internationale d´Arte, the Czech and Slovak pavilion, 2001, Ilona Németh. Segment. Štátna galéria, Banská Bystrica, 2004, re-VISION. Stredoslovenská galéria, Banská Bystrica, 2013 (co-curator). Rusnáková has written numerous essays, articles and reviews on Slovak and international art, media art and gender art in art journals, Slovak and international books, e.g. Barbara Buscher – Jana Horáková (Eds.): Imaginary Spaces. Raum/Prostor-Medien/Media-Performance/Performance (Praha, 2008), Edit András (Ed.): Transitland. Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989 – 2009. (Budapest, 2009). Rusnáková is editor/author of the publications: V toku pohyblivých obrazov. Antológia textov o elektronickom a digitálnom umení v kontexte vizuálnej kultúry [In the Flow of Moving Images. Anthology on Electronic and Digital Art in the Context of Visual Culture] (2005), re-VÍZIA [re-VISION] (2013) and she is author of the books: História a teória mediálneho umenia na Slovensku [History and Theory of Media Art in Slovakia] (2006), Dve štúdie: Rodové aspekty súčasného vizuálneho umenia na Slovensku/Gilles Deleuze a myslenie o filmovom obraze [Two Studies: Gender Aspects of Contemporary Visual Arts in Slovakia/Gilles Deleuze and Thinking about the Film Image] (2009), Rozšírené formy diváckej recepcie digitálneho umenia [Expanded Forms of Audience Reception of Digital Art] (2011).