How it started

The title of the exhibition is a play of words on „checkpoint“, as a point at which an inspection or investigation is performed especially at the borders between states. It is a point of exchange of persons, goods and decreasingly of information that functions as a selectively-permeable membrane between regimes, between economics, between beliefs. Bordering social establishments often have their frictions and the border checkpoints become points of high pressure. We think of checkpoints such as between West Berlin and East Berlin or border between Israel and the West Bank.

The goal of this exhibition and its accompanying program is to present and further activate the potential of local artists whose work concerns issues of politics. The participating galleries in Prague, Poznań, Budapest, Dunaúujváros, and Žilina became „checkpoints“ offering a possi- bility to examine a wide range of social and political issues.

The aim was to confront the upcoming generation of artists with already established artists and to map their choice of political themes which currently gained importance. The range of presented approaches and media is intentionally very wide spanning from painting, photography and objects through video, animation and concept to performances and social interventions.

The project is a loose continuation of the exhibition POLITIK-UM / New Engagement which has been organised in 2002 by Center for Con- temporary Art in Prague. Controversies that accompanied the opening of this exhibition have revealed problematic issues of the past and present which trigger heated reactions in the majority of the Czech public such as the forced moving of Germans from the Czech border areas after the WWII, the influx of refugees, intolerance toward minorities or corruptibility of officials.

Exhibition CZECHPOINT returns to the sphere of political art, aware of the fact that one does not step in the same river twice. The global political scene has changed since 2002 and this experience is reflected in the works of young Czech and Slovak artists. Despite the increasing possibilities of interconnecting the local art scene and the global political issues, in Czech Republic the art is often seen by both the professio- nal and non-professional public as timeless and therefore strictly apolitical. The CZECHPOINT project is trying to challenge these ideas.

Zuzana Stefkova and Tamara Moyzes