Milan Kozelka is among those artists understanding art’s roles as a tool of social change. He clarifies his attitudes toward the state of society in straight-forward texts, performances and lectures on the link between art and power systems. In addition to his individual activities in the pre-revolution period, he initiated several unofficial exhibitions and established in Karlovy Vary in the early 1990s the alternative organization Artforum with which, during its temporary existence, he took part in carrying out literary festivals, author readings, lectures and concerts. He later worked as editor at the Votobia publishing house and established the Gulu-gulu publishing house shortly after 2000. He has regularly published since his first collection of poems They Hitch the Horses to the Slot Machines (Votobia, 1999).
His work, both literary and performative, shares a common denominator of opposition. Serving as a metaphor of his work could be one of his first performances Walking Upstream (1979) that he undertook in the Šumava Forest as a purgative manifesto after returning from prison. It contains formal elements of land art and body art, but does not lose a direct link to the nature of the performer.
Walking Upstream (1979) is from the series of Kozelka’s performances entitled Contacts with the Vydra River that he repeated two years in a row. The first of this series was Lying in the Hamerský Brook. He spent a night lying on two logs with the current and felt its flow. His older performances have a simple concept and relation to nature. Similar performances consisted of Fusion (1979) when he stood for several hours pressed to a cliff in the wind and rain, or crawling across a field in Suchdol (winter 1980) before he became covered with snow and a year later in autumn with leaves. Besides water and climatic conditions, he also worked with stone. This element appeared in his first happenings Welcoming Spring (1973 Prague, 1974 Olomouc) and between 1978 and 1980 the stone was a primary object of a number of performances he included under the title Contacts (with stones). He moved from happenings and body art performances with stone to concept art, and in 1982 and 1983 created in the forests of the Ore Mountains his stone “Ground Plans”.
Along with his individual performance, his personal activities helped form Czech art of the 1970s. In 1978, he moved to Prague where he met with other artists (Petr Štembera, Pavel Büchler, Jiří Kovanda, Vladimír Havlík, Tomáš Petřivý, Robert Cyprich, Ján Budaj, Vladimír Havrilla) resulting in the plant to organize a symposium on a hop-field in Mutějovice, which he took part in the early 1980s.
He currently devotes himself primarily to literature and the digital archiving of international art. In addition to his own prose work, he created the anthology of literary texts of the Ostrava Region (In the Heart of the Black Spider, 2000), of Northern Bohemia (From the Shores to the Mountains, 2000) and of the Olomouc Region (Vertical Nostalgia, 2002). He is active on the art scene, taking part in author readings and continuing in performances that have transformed from the 1970s to the present day from natural meditative rituals to harsh, albeit humorous, social-political criticism.
Morganová Pavlína: Akční umění, Olomouc 2009