Július Koller has been considered one of the pioneering and key figures of Slovak conceptual art since the mid-1960s. He created special cultural situations and anti-activities (anti-happenings, anti-PAINting, waste culture, note cards, U.F.O. series [Universal Futurological Operations], fictional Gank Gallery, etc.). As a strange UFOnaut, Koller brought about a radical reduction of visual signs and ideas, the boundaries of dematerialised art and imagery, summarised in the text of a telegram reading: umeNIE (1970), which in Slovak means art, into UME and NIE for “no”. However, his work in the 1970s and 1980s period is also characterised by the “ambiguity” arising from the previous regime – being involved in the alternative art scene and anti-art activities, while painting postcard landscapes for the then Union workshops.
Július Koller (28 May 1939, Piešťany – 17 August 2007, Bratislava) lived and worked in Bratislava. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (1959 – 1965). Koller founded the Gank Gallery, a fictional gallery to communicate with space. From 1990 to 1993 he was a member of the New Seriousness association. In 2016 – 1917, his retrospective exhibition One Man Anti Show took place at the MUMOK in Vienna and Museion in Bolzano. In 2008, The Július Koller Society, a non-profit organisation, was founded in Bratislava to archive and promote his work.
Collections: Centre Pompidou Paris; Tate Modern London; Kontakt Vienna; MUMOK Stiftung Ludwig Vienna; Łódź Art Museum; GHMP Prague; SNG Bratislava; GMB Bratislava, TG Poprad, PGU Žilina and other collections;
BESKID, Vladimír – KRÁL, Jakub: PROBE 1 – The Story of Slovak (Post) Conceptual Art / SONDA 1 – příběh slovenského (post) konceptuálního umění. Prague: GHMP, 2018, pp. 216, ISBN: 978-80-7010-147-6;
GRÚŇ, Daniel: Gank Gallery / Galéria Ganku. Vienna: Schlebrügge Editor, 2014, ISBN: 978-09-5704-943-7;
HANÁKOVÁ, Petra – HRABUŠICKÝ, Aurel: Vedecko-fantastická retrospektíva. Bratislava: SNG, 2010, 368 s., ISBN 978-80-8059-148-9;
KEMP-WELSCH, Klara: Anti-politics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence Post Totalitarian Rule 1956 – 1989. London – New York: I. B. Tauris, 2014, ISBN 978-17-8076-696-6;
GRÚŇ, Daniel – RHOMBERG, Katrin – SCHÖLLHAMMER, Georg: One Man Anti Show. Cologne, Vienna: Walther König Verlag, MUMOK, 2016, ISBN 978-39-6098-062-9;
RHOMBERG, Kathrin (ed.): Universal Futurological Operations / Univerzálne futurologické operácie. Július Koller im Gespräch mit Roman Ondák und Hans Ulrich Obrist. Köln: Kölnischen Kunstverein, Walther König, 2003, pp. 250, ISBN 38-8375-744-6.