Roman Ondak plays with ideas of relocation, representation, and the duplication of experience, shifting and sharpening the viewer’s attention to everyday life. Growing up under the communist regime of former Czechoslovakia, the artist became attentive to systems of inclusion and exclusion that ordered this particular society. Questioning the failure of the communist structure in his work, Ondak explores the potential for different orders—new patterns of behavior, and ultimately, alternative social and political possibilities. His work is often quite subtle, infiltrating the spectator’s surroundings in imaginative and quiet ways, suggesting a renegotiation with reality. Adopting an almost anthropological approach, he recombines aspects of the quotidian with his incisive artistic wit, opening up space to challenge the rules of the everyday through his poetic alterations. Ondak’s work is not only curious about the rituals and assumptions that govern our lives; he is playfully interrogative of the art system as well as society at large, urging us to greater awareness.
Roman Ondak studied graphic design and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava from 1988 to 1994. He also studied at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania (1993); Collegium Helveticum in Zurich (1999–2000); the CCA in Kitakyushu (2004); he has had grants from the DAAD in Berlin (2007/08) and the Villa Arson in Nice (2010).
Roman Ondak currently lives and works in Brat.
His most important exhibitions include:Based on True Events, Kunstforum Osdeutsche Galerie Regensburg, Germany (2018); Roman Ondak. History Repeats Itself, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark (2017); Roman Ondak: The Source of Art is in the Life of a People, South London Gallery, London (2016); Roman Ondak: Storyboard, Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2015); Roman Ondak, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Spain (2013); Roman Ondak: Some Thing, The Common Guild, Glasglow, United Kingdom (2013); do not walk outside this area, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (2012); Roman Ondak, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris France (2012); Enter the Orbit, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich Switzerland (2011); Time Capsule, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (2011); Before Waiting Becomes Part of Your Life, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Germany (2011); Loop, Czech and Slovak Pavilion of the 53rd Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2009); Measuring the Universe, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, United States (2009); Path, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, United States (2008).
Moreover, his work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as the Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2016 and 2006); MALBA Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, United States (2013); Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Germany (2012); MoMA PS1, New York United States (2011); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Neatherlands (2010 and 2005); ICA, Boston United States (2008); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt Germany (2005), among others.
He has participated in the following biennials: Kathmandu Triennale 2017, Nepal; the 54 th and 50 th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2011 & 2003); the 5th Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia (2013); the 5th Liverpool Biennial. Liverpool, United Kingdom (2008); the 8th Panama Art Biennial. Panama City, Panama (2008); the 27th Bienal São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2006) and the Prague Biennial, Prague Chec Republic (2003).