The exhibition project Black Milk presents the German public with a curated selection from Ostrava’s art scene. The former mining city of Ostrava and environs have created their new cultural identity out of a synthesis of the regions rediscovered multi-national past with the present. The economic crisis at the beginning of the 1990s (when the Czech Republic was in the initial stages of political, economic, and cultural transformation) led to a massive demographic and cultural collapse of the entire region. This development was symptomatic of the transformation-process that took place in other industrial regions inside and outside of Europe.
Ostrava’s art scene is an example for the awakening of a new cultural identity based upon a post-industrial foundation. Here, the viewer has been given the opportunity to determine themself if the aesthetic possesses merely a regional character, or if it contains elements from larger global aesthetic movements. The exhibition’s curators are of the conviction that the developments in other post-industrial regions, especially the Ruhr-region, reveal parallels with the new emerging cultural and visual identities from the Ostrava region and its art scene.
The past two decades have shown that regional art scenes are becoming largely emancipated from the traditional cultural centers. These regions are increasingly consolidating their cultural self-awareness and will develop into full-fledged European cultural centers. One of these examples is Ostrava, once and industrial center that placed heavy industrial production at the forefront is now beginning to define itself anew.
Milk symbolizes purity, health and prosperity, as well as new beginnings and a new life. Black is the color of night, the end, and death. For centuries coal too has symbolized wealth, a new life, and new beginnings. Black milk is a paradox…
Regarding the selection of artists: A deciding factor for the development of Ostrava’s art-scene was the creation of an art faculty at the University of Ostrava. The last two decades in Ostrava have been largely shaped and influenced by a generation of artists who are connected with the city and are a part of the Black Milk exhibition.
Exhibition Artists: Daniel Balabán, Pavel Forman, Tomáš Koudela, František Kowolowski, Jiří Kuděla, Dáša Lasotová, Barbora Mikudová, Petr Lysáček, Václav Rodek, Tereza Samková, Marek Schovánek, Ivo Sumec, Jiří Surůvka, Iveta Šafránková, Ivana Štenclová
Curators: Pavel Forman, Tomáš Koudela, Olga Wewerka