Life Is Art, Art Is Life: Czech Action 1964 – 1969
The death of Stalin in 1953, followed by the denunciation of the cult of personality at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, led to a certain thaw in the Soviet zones of influence. However, this was a very slow, complex process, well illustrated by the fate of the Stalin monument in Prague. After its demolition in 1962 Czech culture entered the period of the ‘long sixties,’ which was actually quite short. Russian tanks entering Prague August 21st 1968 brought this exciting and promising process to its end.
This text focuses on the development of Czech Happenings and Performance Art, questioning the political and sociological situation in which this art developed in the 1960s. Czech artists, both male and female, such as Milan Knížák, Eugen Brikcius, Jan Steklík and Zorka Ságlová, explored the possibilities of newly shifted boundaries between art and life.