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Ján Mančuška (1972–2011) / Prague

A few months ago Mančuška was in Italy with the group show “Senza titolo #1 – Landscapes (confini in disordine).” His passing was, in fact, announced by Il Magazzino, Mančuška’s gallery in Rome, which provided no further information on the circumstances of the artist’s death. The Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper reports that the Slovakian-born artist Ján Mančuška passed away in Prague after a long illness.

Mančuška’s work was daring. In a highly specialized, labor-divisive world Mančuška had been able to garner international reputation for his eclectic mixture of video installation, art films, writing and painting, with occasional incursions into the realm of body art. He had amassed a considerable number of exhibitions in many different places (Kunsthalle Basel, Tel Aviv Art Museum, L.A. at Marc Foxx gallery, New York with Andrew Kreps Gallery and various museums and galleries in Berlin). His career had touched many around the world and it still surprises in how quickly the still-young artist was able to develop such a manifold practice.

Flash Art International published an interview with Mančuška in its October 2010 issue, in which he is quoted as saying of his work bridging the east and west: “I have to say that I share the trauma arising from what happened at the end of the ’30s: the avant-garde was thrown out of its social and political program, both Stalinism in the Soviet Union and through its relocation to the US, where it became a narrowly elitist discipline. The question is how can this heritage be overlapped?”

Mančuška was awarded the Jindřich Chalupecký award for young visual artists in 2004, and in 2005 he represented the Czech Republic at the Venice Biennale. Mančuška died at the age of 39.

Ján Mančuška, The Other (I asked my wife to blacken all the parts of my body which I cannot see), 2007