Boris Ondreička. The Beginning and the End of the Passage

Date: 29.09.2015 - 03.01.2016
Place: Trade Fair Palace

Performative Reading, 29 September 2015, 9 p.m., Trade Fair Palace

In Plato's criticism, poetry forbids a discursive thought, dianoia, the thought that traverses. The poem dwells on the threshold; it is "not a rule-bound crossing, but rather an offering, a lawless proposition". For 'Bifo' Berardi, on the contrary but also paradoxically in a similar manner, the poetry is "an excess of language, a hidden resource which enables us to shift from one paradigm to another".

With Slovak artist, Boris Ondreička's performative "poem in progress", "The Beginning and the End of the Passage", the National Gallery in Prague launches a new series of events whose aim is to emphasise the permanence of poetry and an importance of language. Improvised and spontaneous, it is a revived republic of letters which legitimates the space of words and activates the speech. Here, in this stage-cum-auditorium-like habitat of a blinded staircase, the performance, theatre, act of reading, writing and recitation collide and rehearse. 

Ondreička's inaugural, site-specific textual installation, "The Beginning and the End of the Passage", conceived especially for the National Gallery in Prague, is a delirious manifesto of a poetic flâneur, structured by the historical and architectural principle of functionalism. Combining institutional self-criticism and neo-dadaist desire of a (linguistic) autonomy, it is the artist's praise of poiesis as a vehicle of world-making. 

"Cultures with richer vocabularies are more fully human – farther removed from the beasts – than those with poorer ones; individual men and women are more fully human when their memories are amply stocked with verses", the philosopher Richard Rorty concludes.

Curated by Adam Budak.

Free entry


Boris Ondreička, born 1969, is an artist, curator, author and singer based in Bratislava (SK).

He worked as project coordinator at Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts, Bratislava, and director of art-initiative, Bratislava (SK). Since 2012 he has been working as curator at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (AT).

He (co-)curated Rare Earth, Supper Club, Ephemeropteræ (since 2012 ongoing), Tomorrow Morning Line (with Franz Pomassl) all at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (AT), and Manifesta 8, Murcia and Cartagena (ES), Being The Future, Palast der Republik, Berlin (DE), Symposion at The Event, Birmingham (UK), Auditorium, Stage, Backstage, Frankfurter Kunstverein (DE), Poetic Materialism at Soda, Bratislava (SK), and individual projects of Lois & Franziska Weinberger, Stano Filko, Andreas Neumeister, Július Koller, Denisa Lehocká, Zbyněk Baladrán, and other projects – all at tranzit Bratislava.

In 2010 he co-founded the Július Koller Society.

His artistic projects were exhibited at Manifesta 2, Luxembourg (L), Venice- (Czechoslovak & Roma pavilions), Prague-, Gyumri-, Torino-, Anzengruber-, Tai-Pei-, Athens- , Jakarta- and the most recently Kyiv biennales; PS1 NYC (USA), BAK Utrecht (NL), W139 and De Appel, Amsterdam (NL), Smak, Gent (BE), Kunsthalle Loppem (BE), Marres, Maastricht (NL), Tramway Glasgow (UK), Fondazione Sandretto re Regaudengo Turin (IT), Le Plateau, and Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, both Paris (F), Frankfurter-, Kölnischer-, Badischer-, Münchener-, Stuttgarter Kunstvereins (DE), Kiasma, Helsinki (FI), HKW, Berlin (DE), ACAF, Alexandria (EG), e-flux online, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava (SK), The National Gallery in Prague, Prague (CZ), Secession, Mumok, Kunsthalle – all Vienna (AT), Donaufestival, Krems (AT), Cycle 2015, Reykjavik (Island), Magazin 4, Bregenz (AT), KJUBH Cologne (DE), and elsewhere.

His HI! lo. was published at jrp Ringier, and One Second / Out of Time at Revolver. Since 1987 is a lead-singer and lyrics writer of the band Kosa z nosa, Bratislava, SK.

Franco 'Bifo' Berardi: Language limit and excess

Lecture, 30 September 2015, 7 p.m., Trade Fair Palace

What happened to poetical language during the century of abstraction?

What is happening to the social body, what is happening to the erotic body in the digital age? Finance as a language. The limits of language and the limits of the world. Poetry as excess. Poetry is the coming back of the body in the space of financial abstraction.

Franco 'Bifo' Berardi was born in Bologna 65 years ago. He has been the founder of the magazine a/traverso and an animator of the Italian Movement of Autonomia. He published "The soul at work", "The uprising", and "Heroes". His next book, "and - phenomenology of the end" will be published by semiotexte at the end of the year.

With a generous support of Italian Embassy in Prague, Institutio Italiano di Cultura, Eleutheria Foundation and UniCredit Bank.

Lecture will be in English.

Opening hours
Daily except Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Trade Fair Palace, Dukelských hrdinů 47, Prague 7

Getting here
Metro C – Vltavská
Tram 6, 17 – Veletržní palác
Tram 1, 6, 8, 12, 17, 25, 26 – Strossmayerovo náměstí
Related photos
Attached files
tiskova-zprava_prostor-pro-poezii.doc (Tisková zpráva: Prostor pro poezii)
press-release_poetry-department.doc (Press release: Poetry Department)
Permanent exhibitions

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