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Artlist — Center for Contemporary Arts Prague

Pavel Sterec

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Birth place
Place of work
↳ Find in the VVP AVU database
conceptual art
installation art
CSU Library
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About artist

Pavel Sterec mulls over his work for a long time. He combines performance, object, installation, photography and other media in a variety of ways. His interest circles around the issues of research, science, museums and archives, social structures and our dependency on tangible or symbolic capital. These days he is one of a wave of artists who express themselves through the social environment and its semantic and metaphorical potential. As he himself writes: “I experiment on a small scale with social engineering as an artistic procedure”.


The very title of the work “When several things are happening outside that I’d like to see, I mostly stay at home”, which formed part of Sterec’s graduate exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, hints at the inclusion of heterogeneous elements within a laconic output. The strategy of the social happening, which Sterec intentionally developed, relates to hobbyists and other representatives of special-interest activities. The inclusion of the viewer through a large amount of information on these events is the result of the entire matter, even though artistic activity is wilfully denied in it. We can encounter this only ex post in a gallery as viewers of art and not as viewers or participants in special-interest events. In his previous events and projects, Sterec uncovered a kind of psychoanalytic character to the natural environments influenced or sought by man, including caves and coalmines. An example of a similar descent into a metaphorical unconscious is the coalmining inspired performance “Canary” – a walk through a graphite mine with a canary in a cage.


In 2011, Sterec participated in the Jindřich Chalupecký Award with the project “Two small points of intersection on a large vertical”. His installation was a kind of reinterpretation of a museum containing geological exhibits. However, it also included two performative events. The first was called “Living Library” and took place in the Koněprusy Caves, and the second was called “Speed Dating” and was held at the astronomical observatory on Petřín Hill. In Living Library, representatives of scientific disciplines such as philosophy, mathematics, physics and astronomy met both invited and random guests to the caves and engaged in free discussions in the interior of the underground building. The discussions examined the areas of expertise of the participating scientists as well as their personal lives, and took place on an eye-to-eye, non-hierarchical and horizontal basis. This was also in its way a social form of happening and a return to the cave as a physical metaphor for the unconscious. In Speed Dating, clients of a dating agency met up with everyone else in the observatory in a similarly non-hierarchical and horizontal way. These two “horizontals” were symbolically intersected by a vertical only in the space of the gallery, in which Sterec placed a glass window in which a fragment of stalagmite and meteorite approached each other symbolically. Two points “between heaven and earth”.


Sterec’s intellectual polysemy and background knowledge led him to work featuring a structure thought out in advance and almost scientific, while still being kaleidoscopic, and which is deliberately exhibited to a collision with randomness and irrationality. For instance, the exhibition entitled Motionless Exchange at the Atrium of the Moravian Gallery in Brno comprised several different artefacts made from various materials but all describing a single phenomenon. The central work was a replica of a stone coin, the original of which came from one of the Micronesian Islands, where it served as a motionless legal tender that did not circulate (because it was too heavy), but was exchanged between different owners. The stone and its weight are a symbol of capital both invested and acquired without having to change its position or be transformed in any way. Sterec charts the migrating image of this stone coin in its Western representations and shows how it has become a screen for the projection of opposing political and economic ideologies.


The themes of value, fetishisation and ownership are common in Sterec’s work. He reopens the question of the artist’s dependence on her own skills as craftswoman, forms of authorship, cooperation and appropriation. Intellectual tools of knowledge form a theme in themselves, as well as being subjected anew to an artistic form of inspection, criticism and analysis.

Author of the annotation
Radim Langer



2009 Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, studios of painting II. - Vladimír Skrepl and Jiří Kovanda
2008 Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, studio of hosting professor - Zbigniew Libera
2007 Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, studio of conceptual tendentions -Miloš Šejn
2006 stipend at FAMU in Praze, DAT – Petr Skala
2004 FAVU in Brno, studio of performance – Tomáš Ruller

2011,2015 - finalist of Jindřich Chalupecký Award
Member of art groups included in ARTLIST.


Solo exhibitions
Nehybná směna, Moravská galerie, Brno
For the Future Audience, Labor, Budapešť (2012)

Co udržuje elity při životě? (společně s V. Artamonovem), galeria HIT,
Podezřívat, galerie D9,České Budějovice

"Já bych raději ne", galerie Luxfer, Česká Skalice
Cožpak se pod stolem, který nás dělí, nedržíme všichni tajně za ruce?, Karlin Studios, Praha

Nocturama - galerie Ve Sklepě , Praha

Dohoda mezi vrstevníky - galerie F43, Praha
Kolorista- galerie 207, Praha
Nízké napětí - galerie Mladých, Brno
Hypnóza a morálka - galerie Jelení, Praha

Den před večerem- Meet Factory, Praha
Zlevněnka- Galerie Potraviny,Brno
Po Proudu (společně s K. Držkovou) - Galerie 35M2, Praha
Menší poštovní blamáž - galerie 36, Olomouc

Osobní ropná skvrna – výstavní prostor Benzinka, Slany
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Now is Now, Institut Wyspa, Gdaňsk
Ostrovy odporu - Mezi první a druhou moderností 1985-2012
Národní galerie v Praze, Praha
Diplomanti AVU, Národní galerie v Praze, Praha
VI. Zlínský salon mladých, Krajská galerie výtvarného umění ve Zlíně, Zlín

Vystavovatel a jeho diváci, Dúm umění města Brna, Brno
Praguebiennale 5, Praha
Píle,U dobrého pastýře, Brno
Post project - Power to the People,The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
finalisté ceny Jindřicha Chalupeckého, DOX, Praha

Kašpar noci, Futura, Praha
Demonstrace prostoru, dočasné umělecké centrum BLOX, Praha
Bienále mladých, Dům U Kamenného zvonu, Praha
Ears Like Loops - ZONA sztuki aktualnej, Lodž
Prostor Zlín, Krajská galerie výtvarného umění, Zlín
Ekonomie nechtěných přátelství, Karlin Studios, Praha

Historická Práce - Galerie Václava Špály, Praha (CZ)
Místo a formule - Kutná Hora (CZ)
Revised Edition - GUM studio, Carrara (IT)
Bílý papír černá nevěsta - Praguebiennale 4 (CZ)
Hlava - Karlin Studios, Praha (CZ)

Magnesite - Košice (SK)
Qui Vive? I Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (RU)
Cosmopolitics – Art Laboratory, Berlin (DE)– galeria Nuova, Bukurešť (RO)

Agorafolly - ECCA-Central Electrique, Brusel (BE)
Cargo – Boraros ter, Budapešť(HU)

Radio Revolten – Halle (DE)



Center for Contemporary Arts Prague www.fcca.cz 2006–2018
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