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jesper alvaer & isabela grosseova

The artist was born in Copenhagen in 1973, grew up in Oslo, now lives and works in Prague. He led a nomadic life, in quest for the right place. He traveled a lot in Japan, China and Mongolia. His interest in the issue of emigrants resulted in working with Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Prague. Video is his major medium. Alvaer is most absorbed in his immediate surroundings. With a certain naivety the artist tries to express what surrounds him, attempting at preserving ephemeral events "forever". Alvaer explores the subtle boundary separating the real from fictional. His works attract us not so much with their reflection on a medium as ephemeral experiences caught just for a few seconds. Alvaer enjoys collaborating with other artists. Second Planet: Tokyo/Prague, Prague/Tokyo was a project realized together with a Japanese artist Tetsu Takagi. His project for Bunkier Sztuki is a collaboration with Isabela Grosseova. Both artists undertake a journey across the peripheries of Europe to encounter a Stranger. Alvaer's works feature several constant elements - his eagerness to meet another man, true experience of place and hardships of a journey adopting an attitude of a person who wants to get to know without manifesting his superiority.

In the scheme of the first part of Transculture project realized at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Jesper Alvaer and Isabela Grosseova presented their installation in the Atrium of the Prazak Palace (private view on October 12th, 2006). It is closely related to their journeys and consists of various objects, borrowed from public and private Czech art collections, directly or indirectly corresponding to North Africa. The diverse provenience of the collected objects illustrates cultural connections, from private through historical to ideological. The artists' next realization accompanying their travel to five countries - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt - is a project to invite five individuals from respective countries encountered there. The guests will be invited to stay in Brno for the whole duration of the project, feel free there, making use of the potential the city offers. Their private trip to Brno could be impossible due to all kinds of restrictions.

^ Jesper Alvaer, Praque Open, wideo, 2004

^ Jesper Alvaer, Traffic, audio cd, 2003

^ Jesper Alvaer, Draw a Lline and Follow, wideo, 2001

^ Jesper Alvaer, From 36 Views on Fuji, wideo, 2001

^ Jesper Alvaer, Gravity, wideo, 2001

^ Jesper Alvaer, Feflex, wideo, 2001

^ Jesper Alvaer, Oranges, wideo, 2001

^ Jesper Alvaer, Birds, wideo, 1999

Jesper Alvaer:

"Movement has been an continuous aspect in my life. I was born by a Swedish mother and Norwegian father who met in Tunis and moved to Copenhagen for work where I was born. Three years later, the family
moved to Oslo where I grew up. We lived in various locations in Oslo, moving from an apartment to a house, back to an apartment, still another place, then back and forth between parents when they got divorced. For Christmas and summer holidays, we went to visit my grandparents, on one side, in Sweden and, on the other side, on the west coast of Norway. Both parents worked full-time in the travel industry, so we traveled with cheap tickets to faraway places, time permitting. We had various au pairs in our household throughout the years, from England, China and a native Norwegian woman, among others. Longer travels included trips to Malaysia where the local Chinatown was a real discovery, or Bahamas when coming out of the plane provided a tropical experience. Throughout the adolescence I had access to almost free airplane tickets which gave me an opportunity to move around without a great budget, to a great extent. Later, it was a rational decision to study art, based on choosing away other things. A romantic resolution to move to Paris in 1994, was the start of a longer sojourn, including art and theater studies in Auvergne, Montpellier and Prague. Then I transferred the idea of a studio (in terms of production) into a mobile and flexible situation combined
with travels and more camera-based work, there has been
an growing interest in a shift from merely observing and documenting to intervene and be involved. In this way, with a focus on the various possibilities (in a subject/cultural context a la Heidegger), the focus has been on the very far away ("alien") which at the same time is very near, literally just next door. Reading a bigger context through the details of a guy handing you a snack late at night, which might be telling you about the civil war in Algeria, most recent news from Palestine, new economical zones in south east China, or simply hand you a piece of pizza incognito.

So in the end, art is not so much about moving, being alien or traveling; it is the opposite. In the end, the experience of work is based on the contrast of the dissimilar, opening up the obvious aspects of "the other", or "alien" to prove that the spectator is the equivalent.

Concerning the "emigrant" aspect I believe that emigration existed for Norwegians in the 19th century. Due to economical prosperity today, most Norwegians travel to see the sun and experience what our own culture cannot provide. I am among this group which has basically little to do with migration, immigration and emigration, which we consider "problematic" issues".

"Alvaer's expression is very efficient. He lays out a scene or what he calls a metaphor, for viewers - and within a few seconds he is able to induce an emotional response."

Vladan Sir, Little Wonders, "Umelec International", vol. 6, 2002

"Jesper Alvaer works with video which he does not post-produce to a very high extent. He is deeply interested in living surroundings, but, in his delicate pieces, one can hardly find even a vague reflection of reality. He himself works towards understanding the difference between illusion, mirage - between that what we believe in and the truth."

Boris Ondreička, Video works of Jesper Alvaer

"There is a long tradition of the gallery being a place in which the most obscure mental models are allowed to take shape. Nevertheless an altogether different facet comes to the fore in the context of Things You Don't Know: the importance of transmitting an experience through a medium into the gallery, and Alvaer's main concept is the indication of an experience which comes after we leave the gallery."

Jiří Ptáček, Thin Czech Line, "Umělec" 3/2003, p.89.

"Nothing was completely clear, but we had filled half a day with unconventional playacting. We had become tourists in our own home- town. As a collective, we had allowed ourselves to be led by Alvaer's ideas, and we had not even asked about the concept of the whole program. Someone else had taken care of us instead of us, and under no pressure we had perceived Alvaer's gift of observation. For one afternoon we were freed from having to sit behind a computer, or make art. And for one afternoon it was possible to live like that."

Jiří Ptáček, Alvaer Under an Ardent Sun, "Umelec" 1/2003, p.13.

"Jesper Alvaer produces works with a sociological inclination (...). He avoids an ideological involvement. His actions are subtle in relation to people; he does not manipulate them. Alvaer offers us new possibilities; we can formulate questions, search for materials. The artist provides us with an impulse and instruments. He accustoms us with the thought that there are Others living next to us, but we will never be able to get a true insight into their mysteries. There are cultural differences he does not attempt at overcoming."

The Prague Biennial: a Dream about Greatness, Magdalena Ujma
and Joanna Zielińska talking.

Jesper James Alvaer

b. 1973, Copenhagen, Denmark
1991 - 1993 studied history of ideas at the Oslo University
1994 - 1994 studied visual communication at Ecole Brousse, Montpellier
2001 - 2000 studied at CooperUnion School of Art, New York
2002 - 2003 scholarship at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu
2003 awarded Tranzit Art Prize
1997 - 2004 studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (MFA) in Prague
2004 - 2006 ITAM-ARCCHIP (Advanced Research Center for Cultural Heritage Inter-Disciplinary Projects), the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague associated with the Display Gallery in Prague
lives and works in Prague and Oslo

selected one-man shows:

Transculture: Act I, with Isabela Grosseová, Moravská Galerie, Brno, CZ
Ideal Identity, Czech Center, New York, USA

Fair, the Royal College of Art, London, GB

Gin & Yang, video programme, the K & S Gallery, Berlin, D
Traffic, Fokuoka Museum of Art, Kitakyushu Museum of Art, J

Gracze / Players, the BWA Gallery, Wrocław, PL
Jesper Avaer - video installation, the Mala Spalovka Gallery, Prague, CZ
From Japan with Love, the Display Gallery, Prague, CZ
Laska, Centrum súčasného umenia, Bratislava, SK

selected group exhibitions:

By the Way, the Jiří ©vestka Gallery, Prague, CZ
Economy Class, Alliance Française, Nairobi, K
Absolutely Private, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, J
In the Neighbourhood, De Veemvloer / Artwalks, Amsterdam, NL
Fresbee, Dům Umění, Brno, CZ
EUROPart, Billboards, Vienna, A

Definition of Everyday, Prague Biennale 2, Prague, CZ
Biennal for Young Artists, Dům U Kamenného zvonu, Galerie hlavního města Prahy, Prague, CZ
Fortunetellers, BABA, Kanazawa, J
The Water Event, Astrup Fearnley Museum for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, N; The Migros Museum Für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, CH
IRREDUCIBLE, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Miami Art Central (MAC), Miami; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, USA

Foreign Bodies, NoD, Roxy, Prague, CZ; Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, D
Avant propos, Galerie RX, Paris, F
Challenge, Centrum súčasného umenia - Synagóga, Trnava, SK
How 2 End A Message, 45. Oktobarski Salon - Kontinentalni doručak, SKC, Belgrad, SCG
UKS Biennalen IIII, UKS, Oslo, N
Passages d'Europe, Musée d'art moderne, Saint-Etienne, F
Supraphon / Ma Chanson Favorite, the Maison d'Art Gallery, Osaka, J
A.K.A. (Also Known As), Berliner Kunstprojekte, Berlin, D
Like Beads On An Abacus Designed To Calculate Infinity, Rockwell, London, GB
Peregrinations, Multiplace 3, České centrum, Bratislava, SK
Desidolize Now, Jeune Creation 2004, Grande Halle de la Vilette, Paris, F
access with R. Ku¶mirowski (pl), B. Ondreička (sk) i Kis Varsó (hu), Prague, CZ
Collective Non-hereditary Memory (Chinese Whisper), the Display Gallery, Prague, CZ
Chinatown Project part 2, Prague, CZ
New Video, New Europe, the Renaissance Society, Chicago; The Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, USA; the Tate Gallery, London, GB; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL; Museum of Art, North-Dakota; the Kitchen, New York, USA

Meta Project, Her Project, the Goethe Institute and the Display Gallery, Prague, CZ
Things You Don't Know, the K & S Gallery, Berlin, D
Old Habits Die Hard, Sparwasser HQ, Berlin; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Motorenhalle, Drezno, D; the Norwich Gallery, Norwich, GB; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, N; Platform Garanti. Güncel Sanat Merkezi, Istambul, T; Yeans/Rex/Galleri Box Kungshoeyd, Göteborg, S; Art in General, New York, USA
Kompression, Kolonie Wedding, Berlin, D
Oslo Open 2003, Sporveien - project in public space, Oslo, N
In/Out, Praga, CZ; Trafo-Budapest, Budapest, HU
In Situ, Chinatown Project part 1, the Display Gallery, the Jelení Gallery, Prague, CZ
Cafe Bratislava, Kunstlerhaus Passage Galerie, Vienna, A
Mobile Seminar, Prague, CZ
Prag - Aktuelle Videokunst in the scheme of Balkan Konsulat, Graz, A
Catalyst Arts, Belfast, NI; 911 Media Center, Seattle; Minicine, Los Angeles, USA; Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, GB; Hull Time Based Arts, ROOTX Festival, Hull, GB; Videotage, Hong Kong, CH; the Soap Gallery, Kokura; Center for Contemporary Arts, Kitakyushu, J; Art in General, New York, USA; Moving Image Center, Newton, NZ; the Red Gate Art Academy, Beijing, PRC
Enter Human, Open Studios (CCA), Kitakyushu, J

Dukes of Hazard, Maeda Studio (CCA), Kitakyushu, J
Norwegian Student Film Festival, Filmhuis Lumen, Delft, NL
Pass Me the Butterfly, the d.u.m.b.o. arts center (dac) Gallery, New York, USA
Wechelstube, Eigen+Art, Stuttgart, D
Umělec Presentation, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, F
Fair, the Royal College of Art, Londn, GB
Extradi(c)tion, Museo del Agua, Lisbon, P
Collective Nostalgia, Biennial for Young Artists, Národní galerie, Prague, CZ
Le Jardin de Kaboul, Akademie vytvarnych umeni, Prague / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Prague, CZ

2001 - 1998
Ostensiv, Kunstraum b/2, Leipzig, D
Festiwal Criss Cross, Broumov, CZ
Distant Similarities or Something Better Than Cosmetics, Múzeum súčasného umenia, Prague, CZ
Maxisklad, Manes, Prague, CZ
Skeleton Peleton, Otevřené ateliéry, Prague, CZ

Isabela Grosseová

b. 1976, Praga, Czech Republic
1994 - 1995 studied contemporary painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
1995 - 1999 studied at Inter-Media Art Studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
1997 studied at Libre de Bruxells University, Bruxelles
1998 studied at Kungliga Konsthogskolan, Stockholm
1999 awarded the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
1999 - 2000 studied architecture, the School of Architecture, Prague
2000 - 2001 diploma at the studio of prof. Milan Kníµák, the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague
2001 - 2005 architect artist at the AP Atelier in Prague
2003 Artist in Residence, Art in General, New York
2005 architect artist at the Acconci Studio, New York
lives and works in Prague

selected one-man shows:

Habitable Statues, Art in General, New York, USA

Habitable Pictures, the Caesar Gallery, Olomuniec, CZ
Habitable Pictures, the Jelení Gallery, Foundation and Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, CZ

selected group exhibitions:

Open Studios, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, USA
Japanegro, the Gallery Onetwentyeight, New York, USA
The Biennale of Contemporary Art, Zlín, CZ

Vlastní pohled / Private View, project in collaboration with Jesper Alvaer, Telč, CZ
Systems You Have Seen, Linz Kunsthalle, Linz, A
Collective Non-hereditary Memory II, travelling project realised in collaboration with Jesper Alvaer, Prague Libu±, CZ

Systems You Have Seen, Veletrµní Palác, Prague, CZ
Past Splendor of Diversity, Nominated to the Jindřich Chalupecki Prize, Dům Umění, Brno, CZ
Autumn Plot, project "Gemine Muse", Racconigi Castle, Racconigi, I

Youngest, Veletrµní Palác, Prague, CZ
The Biennial of Contemporary Art, Zlín, CZ
M. Knizak a jeho atelier na AVU, Al±ova Jihočeská Galerie, České Budějovice, CZ

Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst, Dordrecht, NL
Habitable Pictures, the National Gallery, Prague CZ

Diploma works at the Academy of Fine Arts, Veletrµní Palác, Prague, CZ


- Jiří Ptáček, Tenká česká linie, "Umělec" 3/2003, p. 86-89.
- Tenże, Alvaer pod rozpáleným slunkem, "Umělec" 1/2003, p.13.
- Vladan ©ír, Little wonders, "Umělec" 1/2002, p. 92-93.

[Translated by Małgorzata Sady]

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16 XI - 31 XII 2006
shahram entekhabi
It’s Been a Long Way, Baby...

23 III - 22 IV 2007
wael shawky
The Forty Days Road. Wet culture - Dry Culture

27 IV - 03 VI 2007
olaf breuning
Woman and Dead

06 VII - 02 IX 2007
jesper alvaer, isabela grosseova
Figure and Ground

07 IX - 21 X 2007
adrian paci
Spaces in-between

13 XII - 27 I 2008
loulou cherinet

The conference is a part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Poland


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