Foundation for a Civil Society
New York, NY 

The Foundation for a Civil Society was established in 1990 with a mission to foster free and pluralistic societies in countries emerging from a history of political authoritarianism, social oppression, and civil strife. What has become its flagship program, the Young Visual Artists Awards, was created during FCS’s first year, in collaboration with former Czech President Vaclav Havel and a dedicated group of Czech artists. Now in its 23rd year, YVAA has grown from a one-country program to include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia. In each of these countries, FCS has partnered with local arts institutions to conduct open-call award competitions for artists under 35 years old while facilitating the U.S. visits and residencies of over 100 artists, starting at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California and later at theInternational Studio and Curatorial Program in New York.

With a historic level of representation from one single organizational grantee, the Biennale will showcase the work of four artists from the Foundation for a Civil Society’s Young Visual Artist Awards program: Eva Kotakova and Katerina Seda (Czech Republic), Mladen Miljanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Petra Feriancova (Slovakia).

The artists:

Eva Kotatkova (born 1982 in Prague) studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, Prague Academy of Applied Arts, San Francisco Art Institute and Akademie Bildende Kunst Wien from 2002-2007. In 2007 – at the age of 25 – she became the youngest artist ever to be awarded the Jindrich Chalupecky Award for young artists in the Czech Republic. The basic techniques that Kotatkova uses in her work are drawing – her many drawings are initially created without a set intention, which only later is revealed in the final form and content – and video or photographed performances, which could be characterized by their playful exploration of the artists immediate environment and society.

Kotatkova exhibits extensively internationally and in the Czech Republic and her work is included in numerous private and public collections. (Source)

Since becoming a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic in 1999, Katerina Seda has staged interventions into the life around her she identifies as “normality”. These experiments have taken place in small villages near Brno, her home environment, as well as in the urban setting of her second home Prague. Based on rigorous research into behaviour and communication patterns in both art and non-art communities, Seda has developed some poignant sociology-driven themes and spun around the truisms about production, consumption and meaning of contemporary art. 

Her past projects include The First Rally of Sunday Painters (Lisen near Brno, 2002), Quiet, Please: I’m Painting(Charles Bridge, Prague, 2003) and Bringing up a Child, 2004. For her latest project Convertor (Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, 2005) Seda invited a “grey jury” composed from 8 members of her Sedy family (“sedy/a” in Czech translates as “grey”), none of whom had been educated in art, and asked them to probe, comment on and join in on the discussions about the art work submitted by graduating students.

Seda has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions, including Dum Umeni, Brno (2003) and Prague Biennale 2(2005). She is holder of the Tranzit Award (2004), Essl Award (2005) and is now shortlisted for the prestigious Jindrich Chalupecky Prize awarded annually to Czech contemporary artists. She is currently artist in residence in Bern, Switzerland. (Source)

Mladen Miljanovic (b 1981) in Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, graduated from the Academy of Art in Banja Luka. In 2007 he receives the ZVONO prize for best Bosnian young artist. He has had solo exhibitions worldwide including State of Body, A+A Gallery, Venice, (2012), Taxi To Berlin, Antje Wachs Gallery, Berlin, (2011), Museum Service, MUMOK, Vienna, (2010), Sarajevo Service, National Gallery of B & H, Sarajevo, (2010), Occupational Therapy, Center in Galerija P 74, Ljubljana (2009), Occupo, Neue Gallerie, Graz, (2007). Group exhibitions include Either/Or” MS Dockville, Hamburg (2012), 14×14″ Donumenta, Kunstforum Gallery, Regensburg (2012), Survey of the Danube region” Oberfalzer Kunstlerhaus, Schwandorf (2012), Not So Distant Memory “, Dalewer Contemporary Art Center, Wilmington (2011), “Beyond The Truth”, Mestna galerija Ljubljana, Ljubljana (2011), It`s Time We Got to Know Each Other, 53. October Salone, Belgrade (2011), “Iron Applause”, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava (2011), “No Network“ International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Konjic (2011), The End of the World as We Know It “, Kunsthalle – Mullhouse (2010), Condensations of the Social“ Smack Mellon, New York (2009). (Source)

Petra Feriancova uses wide range of contemporary visual languages, from conceptual painting through installations, in situ works and photographs. She finds inspiration in her own emotional reactions, explores processes of perception, memory and ways of their interpratation. Her photographic reflections lead to questions and doubts about the space in which we move and live. They reflect reality in a fictional way. (Source)