Reconstruction as a Tragedy and Farce
Pode Bal
Peter Sadofsky, Dan Trantina

The sculpture composition by Peter Sadofski and Dan Trantina from the Czech Art Group Pode Bal will be displayed in the park of the Museum of Socialist Art. A meeting with the artists will be held on 5 July at 14.00. This project is implemented by the Czech Center in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Sofia and the National Gallery.

The composition enables the public to open the debate regarding the crimes committed during the Communist period. The sculptures were first displayed in 2015 in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, which caused controversial emotions among some European politicians. Later on it was also displayed at the Contemporary Art Museum Kampa in Prague.

The sculpture with dimensions of seven times eight meters had a sub-title to explain its historical context: The tearing of an SBI (state boarder intruder) Hartmut Tautz, a citizen of East Germany, by the ‘attack dogs’ of the Czechoslovakian border patrol, while trying to cross the Czechoslovakian border from Slovakia to Austria in the area of Petržalka, Bratislava in August of 1986, while the border guard Ivan Hirner and soldier Oldřich Kovář watch.’

This Installation, by Petr Sadofsky and Dan Trantina, is a reminder of the fate of the eighteen-year-old East German citizen Hartmut Tautz, who in 1986 attempted to emigrate from Bratislava to Austria. While attempting to cross the border near Petržalka, a borough of Bratislava, he was discovered by border guards, who sent their dogs to attack him. Instead of being provided first aid, Tautz was transported to the station for interrogation. At last, he was brought to hospital, but died shortly after due to extensive injuries. Nobody ever stood trial for his death. Those responsible are alive today in the Czech and Slovak Republics.

“The story of Hartmut Tautz is of great importance for the creation of the sculpture. It goes beyond the borders of 4 European countries and has the characteristics of a classical tragedy in which the hero loses the battle against a much more powerful opponent – in this case communist arbitrariness. Moreover, in the case of Tautz, there is no doubt thatwhat killed him is the lack of assistance from the guards.“The fact that no one so far has been convicted for the killings behind the Iron Curtain is a farce, typical for our region,” says Peter Sadofski explaining the reasons that have inspired him and Dan Trantina to create this sculpture.
About Pode Bal (Peter Sadofsky and Dan Trantina)

The Czech group Pode Bal was founded in 1997 and their work grew out of a critique of visual communication. The group has re-policized the art scene, and has been significantly engaged in discussion centered around drugs and the law, parliamentary election, taboo problems related to the eviction of Germans after the Second World War, and the critique of art institutions. The group has realized many projects in public places and media.
(East Art Map – A (Re)Construction of the History of Art in Eastern Europe)

A skewered Marlboro ad featuring a hookah-smoking man bore the legend: “Pode Bal warns that smoking nonstate-owned drugs can damage your freedom.”
(New York Times)

Disney gave Pinocchio Jimi Cricket to be his conscience. The Czech Republic has Pode Bal.
(The Prague Post)

Pode Bal combines fashion and socio-political commentary: a black-and-white Palestinian head scarf embroidered with the Hermes logo; a curved Middle Eastern dagger with a Swiss Army knife handle; a sleek lightbox photo of a woman in a white burqa, with one eye exposed where the fabric is cut in the shape of a Nike swoosh.
(Art in America)