Undisciplinary is the personal wiki of Martin Zemlicka.

Discussion about Tranzitdisplay with Zbyněk Baladrán and Ondřej Horák

22.10.2014, Tranzitdisplay, Prague

Zbyněk Baladrán: co-curator of TD, artist
Ondřej Horák: runs educational programmes for TD, amongst other things.


  1. A brief history of TD, which is something that can probably be found on the website, the important thing is what is written in their manifesto. Also worth mentioning is that TD is quite clear on what it’s aim are and what can be seen there. Challenging contemporary art, primarily international (they estimate that they show one Czech artist every two years), and somehow a concentration on post-colonial themes, in the sense of work reacting to radical transformations in society.
  2. How does a show get made? Personal contact. Ondřej is still in touch with many of the artists they worked with for Manifesta 8, expanding on their work and getting more involved with them, which is something that was not possible during a large group show. For example, the current exhibtion, Loulou Cherinet, is somebody that Ondřej worked with before.
  3. TD hardly ever publishes catalogues or texts explaining their exhibitions.
  4. Funding. TD has the fortunate position of a very stable income in the form of a grant from Erste Foundation. This is very stable because Erste founded Tranzit (before they merged with Display), and has been giving them yearly grants since. This gives TD huge flexibility compared to other small galleries, since TD’s funding in annual and not project specific, which is the common way of grant distribution. TD is very independent from its funders.
  5. TD has a stable theme, which differentiates them from “boom” galleries which will put on shows to sustain themselves or to follow trends. They have their audience.
  6. This audience is, admittedly, very small. Let’s say 30-50 people will come to an exhibition opening, along with about 7 visitors a day gives them an audience of 150 people. All of which probably know each other.
  7. However, they aim to always have something happening, unlike other galleries that are pretty much dead after the verinissage. There is a projection space that anybody who asks can use, a research and working space.
  8. That’s the only way for a gallery to exist in the 21st century. Something has to be happening there.
  9. Back to the exhibits: with 45 square meters of exhibition space, they can’t try to substitute work that should be done by public galleries. Some people seem to expect them to do this, or even think they do as they cover themes that are not covered elsewhere, but this can’t be the case. They are a gallery that exhibits «difficult» art, and do not think of themselves as having a mandate to fill a specific hole left by the state. Likewise, they don’t claim to be the be-all end-all of post-colonial art or themes. “We are laymen that produce shows”.
  10. TD is, then, for a specific type of audience. A type of audience that has certain knowledge and understanding, if they don’t have it they won’t come because, frankly, they would be wasting their time. This seems to some to be elitism. They are aware of it. But that’s kind the point, not to be elitist, but that they just happen to put on shows that not many people go to. As above, they are not trying to be a substitute for the national gallery.