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A modern art gallery made of billboards

THOSE walking the Bratislava street of Šancová these days might spot some strange billboards. One offers sweets in the shape of bombs and the other advertises a new washing powder for quickly removing terrorists. Both are non-commercial works by the Czech multimedia artist Milan Mikuláštik, one of the participants in the international project Billboart Gallery Europe, which is coordinated by the civic association of the same name based in the Slovak capital.


photo: Courtesy of Billboart Gallery Europe

THOSE walking the Bratislava street of Šancová these days might spot some strange billboards. One offers sweets in the shape of bombs and the other advertises a new washing powder for quickly removing terrorists. Both are non-commercial works by the Czech multimedia artist Milan Mikuláštik, one of the participants in the international project Billboart Gallery Europe, which is coordinated by the civic association of the same name based in the Slovak capital.

"The project began as a search for alternative space in which to present contemporary art with the intention of bringing it closer to the viewer," said Mira Keratová, the project's general coordinator.

The focus on public art led organisers to the billboard as the main medium of the project. "It can be read fast and has the ability to address a very large and diverse audience," Keratová explained.

There are 11, mainly eastern European, countries currently participating in the project. The pilot exhibition was opened simultaneously in six of these countries in October 2003 and lasted until the end of January 2004. In addition, Bratislava organisers started Slovak Sublabel, a regional, year-round project that currently runs in Bratislava but is planned to open in foreign countries as well. Within its framework, Bratislava citizens can see the works by Mikuláštik on Šancová and two others created by the Polish group Twozywo that are exhibited at the parking lot of the Avion Shopping Park and near the New Bridge.

The billboards will be changed every two months. One of Mikuláštik's works will be switched for another of his by the end of March, and those by the Twozywo group will be replaced with new ones by a different artist at the end of this month.

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