Wedges in the Pavements, Autumn 1980, Alsovo nabrezi, Prague.
Kovanda’s street interventions are always documented according to the same format as the actions: a piece of A4 paper, a typewritten text giving a precise location and date, and a photograph. Contrarily to the actions, he took the photographs himself. One of the rules he stuck to in his artistic practice was to always use material at his disposal, a real economy of means. Since he worked in the Prague National Gallery store between 1977 and 1995, he was able to use left-over art handling materials like string, paper, wooden wedges and so forth.
Most interventions tended to be small in scale and ephemeral, with no particular audience since they occurred outside the art gallery space (certainly until the late 1990s). This was perhaps a ironic counter-commentary on monumental Minimalist installations and a consequence of the context of an Eastern European country during the Soviet period. In this document, wooden wedges are inserted in the interstices of stone pavings, as if standing guard. Stuck in an ominous corner, they create stark shadows on the ground.
Jiri Kovanda was born in 1953 in Prague, Czech Republic. He lives and works in Prague.