Otis Laubert (born in 1946, in Valaská) is a member of the founding generation of conceptual art in Czechoslovakia. The origins of his work reach back to the period of alternative underground art presented exclusively in unofficial spaces outside the context of official state cultureand the commun ist dogma of socialist realism. The projects which he systematically recorded in his journals are today being gradually carried out in exhibitions at home and abroad. He has exhibited at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, the Prague Biennale II., the Slovak National Gallery, the Prague National Gallery, the Sonia Rosso Gallery in Turin, at the Milan Flash Art Show, etc.
The work of Otis Laubert is founded upon the combination, manipulation, and transformation of found objects. Despite the fact that he gives seemingly unwanted and forgotten items new life, he is not a typical representative of junk art. He is an heir of the ideas of Dadaism, Fluxus, Neo-Dada, and New Realism. His atelier is an enormous collection of various found and systematically collected objects, arranged according to sophisticated criteria. Laubert may be a collector of old, unwanted things, but he is not a classic collector and hunter of rare antiques. He uses his collection as a means for creation. He combines, sorts, and arranges the objects he has found and collected to create works of art, while emphasizing site specific installation swhich react to given situations and narratives.
The beginnings of Laubert’s work were far removed from the categories of exhibition or presentation. He perceived his work as a matter of fact, as everyday reality. In the eighties, since he was unable to have official exhibitions, he opened his own gallery in his Bratislava atelier. He later declared this gallery to be an official branch of the Guggenheim museum.
Otis Laubert dedicated himself to his work more than your average artist. He imbued his work with an uncommon and remarkable joy for life, and thus surpassed the imaginary boundary between art and life far beyond anyone before him. As Milan Bočkay once wrote, Otis Laubert is like Knulp the wanderer, with a pocket full of fresh and youthful ideas which never fail to surprise in their catharsis.
From above: OTIS LAUBERT, That Little Czech Song of Ours, 2007; My Country, 1993.