Milan Salák intervenes in a multidisciplinary way in contemporary art operations. Beside independent art works he also focuses on curatorial and critical activities. The artist’s approach bears traits of engagement. He requires that his artistic activity devote itself to social, political and cultural contemplation and critique. The artist has served on organisational committees for thematic exhibits (Sport-Gallery, Green/Zelená, Source of New Style, etc.). These exhibits expressed a new curatorial approach, different from traditional group or artist-focused presentation.
The bonding link of these events became a certain current socio-cultural theme that of course did not have an expressed sociological nor theoretic nature. This theme can be understood rather as a metaphor, expressing unconscious social phenomena and stereotypes. Drawing attention to the common, or the seemingly non-problematic, plays a marked role in Salák’s activities. Sometimes in this way he exposes his own personal „myths“: an obsessive interest in maps, aviation technology, etc. Elsewhere he works with „evident“ stereotypes and conventions of contemporary Czech society (media images, logos, sports, entertainment). He tries to expose new societal types (icons), methods of discussion, dress (civil uniforms). His artefacts thus oftentimes have a simplified symbolic form (albeit highly professional) that facilitates communication with the viewer. The viewer is often provoked and attacked. Sometimes the media image is merely recoded: the positive pole is flipped to the negative (a car becomes a skull, Conan the Barbarian becomes Onan the Barbarian). Salák focuses on the simple and readability of his works. He wants to elicit a concrete reaction from his viewers, to eliminate any type of confusion derived from possible misunderstanding. Visual communication is also an area tied to the artist’s pedagogic activities. The artist’s approach is to a large degree conceptual. Thought here plays out, however, in concrete, visual codes, which are not a mere illustration of theoretical hypotheses.
(selection of curatorial projects)
Chaplin Resident Fighter (společně s J. Davidem a J. Kadlecem), galerie Futura, Praha
Videocamp, Altán Klamovka, Praha
Obsese sběru, OGV Jihlava, Jihlava
Jarní Sklizeň, galerie Tvrdohlaví, Praha
Enkláva (společně s J. Ruchařovou), Praha
Jižní záležitost (společně s V. Soukupem), České Budějovice
Zdroje nového stylu (společně s J. Kadlecem), Jízdárna pražského Hradu, Praha
Nevystavujete v roce 2001, Galerie VŠUP, Praha
99CZ (společně s J. Davidem a J. Kadlecem), Praha
Sport-Gallery (společně s J. Dolejšem a J. Kadlecem), Strahov, Praha
Zelená (společně s J. Kadlecem), Galerie AVU, Praha
Boystory (společně s J. Dolejšem a J. Kadlecem), Praha