We don’t know that we know

Jaro Varga


For the inaugural Friend of a Friend (FOAF) Prague program, Ivan Gallery has been invited by hunt kastner to co-host a site specific project by the Slovakian artist Jaro Varga (b. 1982 Trebišov).

Visitors are invited to participate in the exhibition, by uncovering text – a sort of manifesto written by the artist concerning the state of the environment – thereby creating a library of unique publications. Drawings on the exhibition space windows reflect the artist’s attempt to visualize his very first memories of nature from childhood. The exhibition is accompanied by a text written the psychoanalyst John Dodd, author of the book Psychoanalysis and the Ecology at the Edge of Chaos: Complexity Theory, Delueze | Guattari, and Psychoanalysis for a Climate in Crisis, which was one of the inspirations and a starting point for the project.

In his practice, Jaro Varga conditions the choreography of the visitor’s movement in a well-known space, or else he initiates the visitor’s translocation into unknown circumstances through fiction. He tries to construct new topographies and he wants to engage the visitor in a different understanding of the contexts relating to spaces otherwise stereotypically fixed in our memory.

He is fascinated by how until recently our knowledge of the universe has been expressed through writing – speculations, theories or theorems without a solid foundation in exact science and research. The subject of the universe and its exploration would seem to be a logical continuation of his interest in the principles of how the sum of our knowledge is created, including the continued failure or inability to discover how things “really are.”

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Capitalism of the West is not interested in anything specific, dominant, in a code. It realizes itself on the level of decoding, which means that it does not bring any specific form of knowledge. Rather it is about dis/re-organization of information, with capital in its middle. Racism, sexism and other dual ideologies stem from culturalism, an organization of the world that drives us away from nature ever more. This erosion of the connection between human life and nature imposes a heavy tax that must be paid by “the others” (associated with nature). Closer to nature means further from social and legal status, from enlightenment and from the future as projected by the white man of the West.

Jaro Varga is a Slovak visual artist and curator based in Prague, Czech Republic. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, and also participated in student exchanges at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw and Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in the USA. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad, including Where do we go from here? at the Vienna Secession (2010), Public Folklore at the Grazer Kunstverein in Graz (2011), Delete at the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava (2012), Vulnerable Failures at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul (2013), City Diary at the Triangle Arts Association in New York (2013), Dysraphic City at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin (2013), When Artists Speak Truth at The 8th Floor Gallery in New York (2016), Prague Biennale 6 (2013), Missing Something and Itself Missing at Ivan Gallery Bucharest, About Books at AlbumArte Rome (2018), History is His Story at NEST ruimte voor kunst, The Hague (2019) and many others.


Jaro Varga, "We don't know that we know", exhibition view, Hunt Kastner, projekt_room, Prague, photo credits: Michal Czanderle, Courtesy of the artist, Hunt Kastner Prague and Ivan Gallery Bucharest
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