Although Magid is one of the most influential figures on the Czech art scene, PLATO stages the first-ever viewing of several of the artist’s projects that, from different angles and with the use of different methodological procedures, map his primary subjects. From the Aesthetic Education Secret Files (2013) was presented in Kostka Gallery, Prague; Unresolved Problems of Form (2013) was part of an exhibition of artists short-listed for the Jindřich Chalupecký Prize in 2013; the 12 Movements project (2014) was introduced at the exhibition of the Dorothea von Stetten Kunstpreis in the Kunstmuseum Bonn and has its premiere in the Czech Republic; Epimenides’ Lessons (2014) was presented by the Fotograf Gallery, Prague, while Autonomy (2015) is a brand new project.

The major part of Václav Magid’s work relates to the issue of the status of a work of art and the nature of art practice. The determining perspective is a dispute over the autonomous or heteronomous character of art, escalated in the last decade by the multiplication of artistic activities referring to the principles of political or social activism. A parallel and no-less important aspect of Magid’s work is a limited or delimited repertoire of form procedures and strategies of postconceptual art (including archive or didactic reversals in art). The aporia arising out of the modernist ethos of considering autonomy of art (in Kant’s terms) contrasted with the heteronomous character of an artwork as a social fact or construct, and the vicious circle of the form or “technical” parameters of contemporary art practice involving the criticism of the institutional context – in Václav Magid’s work, these result in a paradoxical effort to show or embody through a work of art what it means when something is art in a period that demands from artists either a social and political participation in a change, or emphasises its affirmative function.

The artist’s basic modus operandi is characterized by the contraposition of text and image, as well as by the use of the iconographic repertoire of the Russian avant-garde and derivates of socialist realism that are still affecting the Soviet society at all levels. Another of his principles is based on the incorporation of a theory or discursive field and visuality shaping the public/political, or intimate/ private space in the process of building an autonomous artistic statement that enables to present the aporetic nature of non-artistic (political or theoretical) contents only by disconnecting them from the original context, when they can be “contemplated” as parts of a work of art.

Marek Pokorný