As excitement builds for Sydney Festival’s 2014 program, we know you’re waiting to know more about what we have in store for our upcoming Project 28: Roman Ondák.
Paramatta Town Hall will be the site for a trio of works from the celebrated Slovakian artist, including the never seen before Terrace (2014) in which Ondák’s own terrace will be recreated in Parramatta especially for Project 28.
Ondák’s participatory works frequently involve subtle, often humorous interventions into everyday life. Those of you who were able to join us for Project 27: 13 Rooms earlier this year will remember Ondák’s Swap (2011), in which viewers were invited to trade objects with the performer, in a theatrical cycle of exchange that explores everyday notions of value. If you missed out on the 13 Rooms experience, you’ll have another chance to be an essential part of this amazing work.
The interactive installation Measuring the Universe (2007) transforms the family tradition of marking a child’s height on a doorframe. Beginning with a blank white wall, attendants invite viewers to record their own name and height on the wall, to become part of the work. Ondák brings this intimate, private tradition into a public place and explores our desire to gauge and compare our place in the universe.
In transforming the exhibition space into a site for intimate and unexpected social interaction, Ondák‘s work asks us to consider the social codes with which we engage everyday. Elements of everyday life are placed in a new context that questions social relations and human experience, which are the focus of relational art practice such as Ondák’s. You might remember Michael Landy’s Acts of Kindness (2011) for Project 24, another work where social exchange and everyday interactions formed the basis of the artwork. Relational art tends to break with the traditional idea of the art object and instead, the constructed social environment becomes the art.
Ondák’s work overcomes the divisions between artwork and spectator, production and reception, public and private. While these works don’t all necessarily involve direct participation, you’re certainly no longer a passive viewer, but an active participant engaging with a constructed situation. In a sense, these artworks don’t exist until you become a part of them, so get ready to join us for a truly remarkable experience!