processual installation in collaboration with Robert Gabris
21 July – 15 September 2022
Šaloun Studio
Prague, Czech republic

curator: Piotr Sikora

* within Biennale Matter of Art

The work explores the concept of collective imagination through the lens of identity, inclusion, and societal structures. It delves into the urgency of communication and the importance of envisioning beyond current possibilities. It emphasizes the intersectionality of queer Roma identities and the struggle against negation and exclusion. The work also refers to the creation of a fluid collective spaces and the challenges faced in defining safe spaces amidst political repression. Ultimately, it calls for honest reflection, resilience, and the building of caring institutions to support collective growth and healing.

(transcript of the text within the installation)


We thematize a collective and individual inclusion in the different political systems, but also in ourselves. We ask from experiencing perspective: What does identity mean in different cultural relations, how much is our identity included in society? Who are we, who have we become and who do we want to be? With these questions we form a collective consciousness based on urgent communication from the inside to the outside. We can't keep it inside anymore, otherwise we don't belong in society. Inclusion is communication that should be ongoing, always renewed, and it should always be addressed to the major societies.

Puddle: For this we need Us.

Does one's identity threaten the collective? No, if collectives become more diverse and more solidary. Do we contribute with our work a surplus of unreal, unrealizable utopias? No, if we collectively free ourselves from forms of power. But what is available for us here and now? With what materials can we, queer Roma identities work? To find out, we imagine a collective entity. It has to emerge in order to be sure of our own and collective identity, because we need an imagination of the Whole. We are redefining the "we feeling." Who we want to be? To formulate this, we need to urgently imagine and create open participatory spaces of becoming.

"We have to be different with each other. We have to be a collective, we have to be communal. We have to make decisions as one. We have to think about everyones presence. We have to make space for what everyone brings, because it makes us stronger, when we all bring what we have. We all have the right to claim the future. We have to create spaces that allow us to envision beyond what we have been told is possible. To truly imagine justice. We have to go to fantastical places to do that because we haven't see that on a structural institutional level. And yet, we know this is possible because we can look into history and we have seen again and again the fact that folks had dreamt about possible justice. And they have changed the entire world to makes those dreams reality. We have the right to dream and we have the responsibility to build those dreams into better futures and into better presence". (Octavia E Buttler)

With the understanding of historical circumstances of Roma and queer history, today we push our values of dignity and social recognition to the social surface. How do we fight against a negation that makes one nothing, erases us from history and overlooks and hates us until today? How are we to stand upright when political repression queer trans non-binary Roma bodies are systematically excluded until today? We search together for thought and implementation strategies, We collect ourselves.

Puddle: Transgenerational transmission, poraimos.

Puddle: Remembering means mourning work.

Puddle: The killing of the unique, the denial of love, is the worst form of defense against mourning. A society that cannot mourn treats the things it uses, the nature it lives on, ultimately itself without love. (Donald Winnicott)

With the implementation we question the concept of a collective body that builds, changes, modulates, elevates but also collapses over time in an art institution. Roma Queer Identities negotiate concepts of poverty in the capitalistic system in our asymmetrically built societies, and the addictive attributes of sugar, intoxication, paralysis in the context of racism. We have come into play with our own bodies as a tool that absorbs, accepts, eliminates, embraces or resists its complexity. We form a collective that has emerged from individual experiences, reflecting the closeness but also the distance between us. These tensions are fields in which we will liquefy and thus define a new fluid space in between. This space is built of many puddles. Adaptable, hospitable, caring, healing, playful, tricky, but above all resilient.

We formed a collective body from three different perceptions. In our process, we seek our own ways of looking at and navigating the world. We organize ourselves and form relationships with relatives, our alliances, we create our own chosen family. For this we set rules, a structure that can keep a fluid body stable. We are adaptive - able to adjust to the changes of the environment, we practice resilience. We merge into each other like a puddle of liquid sugar, absorbing the world around us. We created a puddle of our own spit on our hands that penetrates the space. Silicone molds and other tools for our hands, exhibited in the space, are fisting the institutional power, its patriarchal inner structures with radical softness and care.

Puddle: „We raise our hands against the violence of order and against all those who defend this order. Disorder is our origin, our craft and our future." (Seyda Kurt - Radical Softness)


In the various processes we experienced a collapse of our collective body. The sudden attack of weakness paralyzed us and called into question all our efforts. That hurt a lot. Today we resist such an impossible end, because it means to be unproductive and not being curious. Our experience demands a lot of attention, at least as much as the creation of our physical work. It requires sensitive processing to avoid potential traumatic consequences for all of us. At the same time, I am still strongly convinced that this experience can become a beginning of an unexpected new and exciting dialogue.
Puddle: We must overcome the past in order to become sustainable for the future.

Puddle: One no longer lives in oneself - I Disintegration. The feeling of fragmenting, of falling apart into individual parts that no longer stick together but revolve around a loose center or fall apart altogether - the feeling of no longer being carried. (Donald Winnicott - The fear of collapse)

This diary does not clarify and establish things, but identify them anew and thus enrich our long-running project with something valuable. To face this task means to explore many unknown resources of knowledge. We have experienced something real that lies far beyond the boundaries of art production. We process our experiences of failure, we create new strategies and over all, we share a common secret - a need to come to terms with ourselves and with the world.

Puddle: Unjust relationships in an unjust world".

Puddle: I will never know what it means to be invisible". (Sasha Marianna Salzmann)

We seek to have a conversation through art about how we treat each other, even when we criticize. If art can hurt, does it have the power to heal us? We sharpen the view and talk about the risks of a collective existence. Art is an important mirror that should reflect exactly this, instead of just pursuing the desire to achieve a successful result of an exhibition. Failure can sensitize and challenge us. We see our field of tension as a renewable energy that can be constructively transformed if we strive again to move on instead of giving up.

Puddle: Collective identities are impossible and necessary at the same time." (Heike Delitz)

Puddle: To form a collective means the permanent work on the imagination.A unit is a construction that tries to move homogeneously in one direction. In this way we build a clear structure, against which we actually strive - uniformity in a collective and in society. A collective must live in constant change and as a unity should always be imagined and created anew. It must be discussed what constitutes our collective identity! A collective constructs itself only in a conflict - this is the true discourse we should talk about. The search for truthfulness lies in an honest reflection of our thoughts and actions. Our experience has taught us to stop claiming the "naturally occurring connection" between us. This demands so much more than just a good intention towards ourselves and others to fulfill this desire. Our disagreements and differences are the building material of our collective. Can we imagine and create something common out of it?

One of the most important issues for us was the definition of Safe Space. An oasis, relaxation, mutual trust and a sense of belonging that we so often miss. We are sharpening a wide angle lens in a microscopic collective. At the same time, we are overwhelmed by political moments of repression that take us out of our own power structures or step into us at will. We create a space around us, a sticky puddle with our bodies to create a solid hold to survive the counter-flood. The sugar mass could hold us, but it also stuck exits that we often needed when it became unbearable.

How can we reach each other and hold each other without taking away the possibility of letting go? Can we control such processes, or is it a matter of a total loss of control? If it is, where do we learn how to endure? So is a safe space a dangerous space where you have to give up everything you have? Safe Space triggers our traumas, but also provides a surface to manage them. We congregate in free zones. Our freedom becomes a snapshot, reduced to a specific space and time in a toxic ring in which we circle because we have blocked many exits from a fear to not being protected.

There, where we don't have to behave as others demand, we become ourselves. Vulnerable, naked and at the mercy of our inner, often still unknown feelings. It is there that we allow ourselves to be negative because we feel safe. We want to allow ourselves to not have to hold back and slow down. It is a painful space, because there we no longer compromise. The mutual hurt has become its own defense mechanism to endure the world for itself. It always happens just a moment before the disaster, before the ego disintegration, as the last protective measure before falling to the ground. Maybe we shouldn't be afraid to talk about it. This is exactly why we should build caring institutions, to be able to hold each other.

Puddle: Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small) ... Change is constant. (Be like water).
There is always enough time for the right work ... Never a failure, always a lesson. Less prep, more presence". (Adrienne Maree Brown)

What is a collective memory? Is it a standstill to undermine, or even forget, the current almost unbearable situation? Our memories of the collective processes of conflict do not necessarily have to contradict each other, but support and encourage each other. This can become our strength. We invite you to follow your own emotions rather than an idea of keeping certain collectives alive at any cost. We can lean on what we have experienced so far and imagine what it can become. I ask you to join in and share your thoughts with each other, because the loneliness is unbearable.

We want to support something that has left enormous emotions in us. It was an attempt to formulate a common idea, our imaginary spaces and create a layout for them. Our space today is cast from puddles. They denote a construction and decay of our own techniques of becoming. They reflect something very valuable - our emotions and ourselves.

the artist makes things happen

3D printed tapestry in collaboration with Daniela Danielis and PrusaLab
Světy Jindřicha Chalupeckého
23 November 2022 – 19 March 2023
The City Gallery of Bratislava
Bratislava, Slovakia

curators: Tereza Jindrová, Karina Kottová, Tomáš Pospiszyl

*commissioned by Jindrich Chalupecky Society

The work of Ľuboš Kotlár, created in collaboration with Daniela Danielis, responds to the canonical text of Jindřich Chalupecký from 1940, The World We Live in. Chalupecký got quite ahead of his time by reflecting on the actually lived and experienced life on the one hand, and automatization of not only production, but also human behavior on the other. Danielis and Kotlár decided to review this text from the perspective of current debates about the potentials and (ethical) pitfalls of artificial intelligence and its position in art and culture. In the last, most often cited section of Chalupecký’s text, the author writes that if modern art is to find its justification, it must discover and create reality instead of mechanically replacing old subjects with new ones. Kotlár and Danielis had the entire paragraph transformed into accessible language by AI in two phases. The result was a reduction to a single sentence - ‘The artist makes things happen’. This inscription became part of the tapestry, which, however, instead of returning to handcraft, is printed on a 3D printer. The work raises questions regarding the limits of the creative use of the latest technologies (or, conversely, the technological mastery of the creative process) and experimentally explores the theme of autonomy versus automation of art.

Karina Kottová

*photo by Barbora Girmanová

act III:
hot in here

5 November 2021
fallout shelter under Kunsthalle Bratislava
Bratislava, Slovakia

exhibiting and participating artists:
Jana Bernartová, Marek Burcl, Katarína K. Cvečková, Daniela Danielis, Terézia Feňovčíková, Šimon Chovan, Ľuboš Kotlár, Kati Linek, Paula Malinowska, Svätopluk Mikyta, NaiKavols, Eva Priečková, Jan Picko, Juraj Rattaj, Gabriela Smetanová, Milan Vagač, Vladimíra Vrbiňáková

curators: Ľuboš Kotlár, Erik Vilím

production: Erik Vilím
visual identity: Dávid Koronczi
technical support: Ján Gašparovič
translation: John Minehane
photo documentation: Leontína Berková
video documentation: Denis Kozerawski
partners: Kunsthalle Bratislava, NOC, Festival OFF Bratislava

nature and the gallery space
The attempt at a thinking which does not respect primary binary oppositions, such as, for example, natural/artificial, technological/organic, human/extrahuman, outer/inner, us/them or male/female, is nothing new; we find it already in the 1980s,when it was generated against the background of techno-humanist ideas and the struggle to be first in the conquest of outer space. But before we can be aware of what this really means, it is necessary to go back in time and understand the broader circumstances which today are leading us towards a new view of things. One of the examples in which one can plainly see the separateness of culture and nature is the concept, created by modernist thinking, of the white cube. Specifically, in the idea of a gallery space that is radically demarcated from external reality, via the absence of windows and the overall neutrality of its interior, which is stripped of traces of past, present or future. The flat walls seem to suggest that what is found between them does not have any direct relation to nature, apart from imitating it visually. The white cube creates an appearance of being a sacred place devoted to silent aesthetic contemplation. It is a place deprived of the signs of social reality and surrounding nature, which is characterised by timelessness.

undermining and domination of the subject
Modernism, under the influence of 19th century aesthetic ideas, had its own reasons for defending the autonomy of cultural activities. It was following on from the classical division of nature and culture in the western tradition. Today, however, we find ourselves in an entirely different world, and the environmental consequences of the industrial revolution, which “drove the motor” of progress in the first half of the 20th century, and of our cherished idea of the dominance and infallibility of human rationality, are visible and palpable all around us. Deprived of the vision of the gods, as modernist people we took to ourselves the conviction that nature is something passive, separated from us and dependent on the thinking subject, which is found at the centre of everything and has power to shape all things and transform them. Human, and hence also cultural, activity has had (and continues to have) a devastating impact, which is without precedent in the planet’s history. Through its own expansion, in forming conditions on the planet the human species has thus come next in line from the other natural elements that changed environmental conditions (meteorite, volcanoes, tectonic plates). This thinking – centred on humans as the privileged beings of this planet – have brought us to a breaking point, where our original idea of absolute control over nature is falling apart, together with our capacity to anticipate possible scenarios for the future. All of this reveals to us the answer to the question: why is anthropocentrism “undermined”, right to its foundations, among philosophers at the present time?

plants speak
Dualist thinking is peculiar to human beings. It is a kind of universal principle describing the being of things, the world, and ourselves within it. However, if we want to show a recognition of reality where the strict and firm binary oppositions (for example, human and non-human) are lost, we can go deeper into the past. In his text Beyond Nature and CulturePhilippe Descola analyses animist, naturalist and totemic tendencies in archaic society, while attempting to illustrate how the categories of nature/culture or subjective/objective are wiped away. We may take animism as an example: in this belief plants, animals and other entities are endowed with subjectivity. They may thus share individual relationships between themselves and the human being; equally, they may have social characteristics and ethical rules; they may become part of rituals or mythological stories. That is to say, they are conceived of as part of a passive exteriority. Human and extra-human beings take a similar cultural view of their own daily lives, inasmuch as they share a similar kind of subjectivist status, but they have a different surrounding world (or object) – they discover it differently and use it differently, depending on their particular individual physical equipment. Animism, according to Descola, creates elementary categories enabling a social practice in which the dualities of natural/cultural or human/extra-human lose significance.
It is interesting to add that, compared to modern western human-centred thinking, the comparable animist tendencies have a longer history.

bad trip
We may, however, offer an example from a past closer to ourselves (the 1960s/70s), where the application of basic binary oppositions is lost and logic ceases to be dominant. I have in mind a state under the influence of psychotropic drugs (“a bad trip”), when our brain is assaulted by an external substance that evokes specific cerebral resonances. Essentially, it is a reaction to a chemical substance where rationality is suppressed and the structure of the world may be newly ordered. Such a state is often described as a kind of fusion with the universe in one whole, as an awareness of mutual cosmological coexistence. It is defined by a disablement of the dominating ego – the “I”, as it were, is diffused in the multiplicity of things. What is interesting, though, is the relationship that is created here. “I” is assaulted by an external agent (the drug), which takes over control of the visual interpretation of the surrounding world (a vision or loss of perception of time and space).The subject thus ceases to be the privileged arbiter of perception.

technology and nature
The theme of non-binarity, or loss of oppositions in thinking, is very broad. One of the further places where it can be illustrated is technology itself, which is recent decades has been experiencing a rapid acceleration of development. As an object of examination through the optics of the new materialism, it is seen and interpreted primarily in relation to the planet. We may take as an example our mobile apparatuses, which offer a broad spectrum of cultural and social activities, 24 hours daily. More precisely, we are referring to smartphones with Li-ion batteries, which are manufactured from cobalt. As we know, the second largest supplier on earth is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the extraction of this mineral has invidious environmental and social effects in that country. From this perspective, technology appears as something that is not autonomous, dematerialised, or separated from nature. The new materialism thus has the ambition to analyse technologies not reduced to what we as human beings think of them; digital apparatuses are personalised and become active agents which influence not just the course of nature but also, in a radical way, our everyday lives. Jussi Parikka, media theoretician, frames this conjunction of cultural conquests and nature with the concept of “natureculture”, following on, of course, from Donna Haraway, the concept’s author. For this reason among others, Parikka remains one of the most inspiring theoretical authorities of the present time.All of these examples may inspire us in seeking other possible ways of thinking about and understanding nature and our place in it. The new materialism, queer theory, or the aforementioned animism: those are all simply different perspectives for looking at the (co)existence of human and extra-human beings. Needless to say, they are not perfect; they have their snares, and it is necessary to think them through critically in more depth and be watchful when applying them in practice.

artistic artefacts speak
All of our movements of thought have foundations in experience, emotions, or the senses, and therefore art claims a privileged place in philosophical imagination. For this reason, the eventact iii: it’s getting hot in here has a kind of “strange” atmosphere, which provokes our sensual perception. Here we may lose ourselves (physically and in thought), but also find ourselves anew. Similarly to the above-mentioned examples of thinking, likewise the objects and works in the space of a nuclear bomb shelter may become stimuli of our imagination, causing it at least partly to break through the limits of the binary conception of the world. They are not something neutral; quite the contrary, they complement one another in significance, and indeed give enrichment independently of the artist’s control. They are occupying this specific space for a short time, and here they develop the work of removing strict conceptual oppositions with far greater understanding than this text.

Erik Vilím

Milan Vagač: BAU_2.0170521; acrylic on canvas
Svätopluk Mikyta: after fight; blown glass, hard drive
Ľuboš Kotlár, Katarína K. Cvečková: untitled (from the series nowlessness); performance
(performer: Eva Priečková)

Juraj Rattaj: Untitled (from the series Zootopia); mixed media, plaster relief, readymade

Jana Bernartová, Jan Šicko, Kati Linek: Sound and Look of NoWood; 3D print

Ľuboš Kotlár, Daniela Danielis: untitled (from the series nowlessness);
procesual tapestry, wool, leon thread, UV print, textile pigments, cyanotype
Ľuboš Kotlár, Katarína K. Cvečková: untitled (from the series nowlessness);
performance (performer: Gabriela Smetanová)

Šimon Chovan: untitled (sketch from the Organs of Routine); screen, silicon, pump, micro driver
Marek Burcl: untitled; copper galvanic sculpture of plant
Ľuboš Kotlár: untitled (from the series nowlessness); daguerreotype

Ľuboš Kotlár, Paula Malinowska, NaiKavols, Vladimíra Vrbiňáková, Katarína K. Cvečková:
untitled (from the series nowlessness); video

act ii:
the waves

Static installation in the conventional gallery space was accompanied by three performances that lasted for 1 hour during the opening event: a static performer illuminating the space with smartphone, 9 performers repeatedly standing up/lying on the floor in extremely slow motion under the heater, 2 performers constrained in hugging gesture. Each of the performances had no apparent movement to them at the moment of observation. The performance had an indirect relationship to the sounds bound to 2 steel plates, one being the frequency of magnetic resonance, while the other represented seismic activity in the ocean. The two frequencies, despite being asynchronous, met at some point in combination with the vibrating sound of the metal itself. After the opening event, all other elements of the installation remained. It consciously worked with the sensations that are not replicable through still and/or moving images, such as heat, smell, restrictions in movement around the gallery space.
6 November – 30 November 2019
installation at MEDIUM Gallery Bratislava, Slovakia

analog photography
instant photography
UV print. c‑print, digital print
infared heaters
metal racks
stainless steel

Eternal and persistent thought of our existence and acts being connected throughout time and space, while everything has a cause, reaction and meaning. According to theoretical physics, the object does no longer carry energy and/or impact. Instead, it is the wave assigned to matter. The matter is getting dissolved in the system of corresponding waves, which are the elements creating completely new view on the microworld. This has been described by Max Planck. In the general theory of relativity Albert Einstein ascribed dynamic relationship between time and space. The fourth dimension became geometric and epistemological quality. Since then, time is no longer considered as linear quantity. While asking what is real(ity) and where we are, there is now a question - WHAT IS PRESENT?

Beata Jablonská

Beata Jablonská
installation & creative direction:
Ľuboš Kotlár
sound & realization:
Ján Gašparovič
in cooperation with Peter Tilajčík
in cooperation with Terézia Feňovčíková
graphic design: 
Michal Chrastina
photo documentation: 
Ján Skaličan
Peter Tilajčík, Heidi Šinková, Martin Hrvol, Martina Mäsiarová, Gabriela Smetanová, Maroš Greš, Terézia Števuliaková, Ernest Bevi L’acqua, Ester Šabíková, Sandra Ružić, Tomáš Košarišťan, Ľuboš Kotlár

act i:
calm after
the storm

a glimpse into the past
a touch of despair
the burden of dystopia
a party that nobody asked for
all present in the very moment

all of us
bound to each other
when there is no place to fly

the future
the endless repetition
the waves


8 June 2018
Bratislava, Slovakia

Ľuboš Kotlár’s nowlessness project (from 2017) offers several ways of reading, although there is no way that is correct or otherwise privileged. These ways are not strictly separate from one another, bu they are linked by lesser field-paths on which our thinking can turn aside and change direction, or take a more arduous or a less demanding course. Disburdened entirely of the terminological terrain with its obstacles, nowlessness is in the first instance a specific situation that is naturally played out in time; it is mutable and temporary, has its beginning and end, but also an indefinite continuation. nowlessness has no firmly defined “programme” or strictly set goal – each of its new material realisations respects the contemporary change and development of social or natural reality, an on this bases updates its form in a new time and space. It does not try to create an exhibition that would last a few weeks, linear-style, until another replaced it; rather, by its form as an event it draws primarily from a ritual experience in which social hierarchy is lost, the norms of everyday life dissolve, and from a structured community an interconnected whole is created. The difference between viewer, exhibitor and curator becomes almost unrecognisable. nowlessness does not reproduce a conceptual grouping of artistic objects. It produces an associative spatial play without a strict narrative line: the works are designed for contemplation, in the context of which our bodies are equal partners of the mind – looking and asking have an equal weight. The space itself is not a neutral player in the background, but an accomplice supporting the “speaking voices” of the individual works.
Time here is not merely a physical magnitude, and Kotlár fills it with symbolic potential – he makes reference to the contemporary dissolution of its linear flow from past, through present, to future. The general ignorance of the ecological crisis on the part of political representatives has radically “blurred” the view of the future, in which humanity will not necessarily continue to write its new story. Technological dominance and the irrevocable collapse of ecosystems compel us to adopt a perspective in which only the present remains, without relation to a future. To comprehend this new “unanchored” temporality, Kotlár uses the metaphor of queer time. What is involved here is a response to the normative life of the individual in the capitalist system, which is characterised by a linear flow of time (birth, marriage, reproduction, death). This social norm preserves not only the continuity of the family unit but also the accumulation of (financial or cultural) capital. We can see it being implemented explicitly in our local politics. The non-reproductive life of the queer individual represents a political problem, and for that reason also they are so intensively demonised by politicians proclaiming the christian anchoring of values. For the queer community the preservation of reproductive continuity is impossible, and thereby it creates a temporality in which the future loses significance – that is to say, it is defined by temporariness. And that is precisely what Ľuboš Kotlár’s concept of nowlessness is referring to, which may be a key to comprehension of a present deprived of relation to a future.

Erik Vilím

Beata Jablonská
artwork & creative direction:
Ľuboš Kotlár
in cooperation with Tomáš Procházka
in cooperation with Terézia Feňovčíková
set design:
in cooperation Mya Javorková

photo documentation:

Matej Hakár
Dušan Prekop, Dominika Šikulajová, Albert Póda, Šima Müller, Klára Abrahamfyová, Tomáš Procházka