Like the early Conceptualists Lawrence Weiner and Mel Bochner, Mr. Mancuska uses language in a site-specific manner.
Into a wall of high-density board he cuts a text describing the nature and positions of the objects displayed behind the wall: a picture frame, plus a chair, a bureau and a glass cabinet vaguely redolent of Eastern Europe in the 1950's. The cut-out words leave holes large enough to look in and to shine light through, so that their shadows, glowing in the dimness, fall across the scene they describe.
The tension between reading, seeing and spying; the role of the wall as obstacle, label and stencil; the beauty of the projected words; the satisfaction of confirming Mr. Mancuska's written account of the tableau (written in laconic, slightly mangled English) — all this both thwarts and enhances the experience of mind and body in space, creating a conflicted complexity that makes the perceptual political and that feels very contemporary.
Roberta Smith, new York Times, March 5, 2004
With his installation “A Cup” Ján Mancuska was represented at Czech-Slovakian Pavilion ("Model of World") at the Venice Biennale 2005. His mostly sculptural works concretize cognition and language, which are otherwise immaterial. Mancuska plays off space, in contrast to many other conceptual approaches that are occupied with assigning meaning. Definitional thinking takes on the spatial form of a sculpturally modulated vocabulary, making cognitive processes physically tangible. What is striking is the "economy" of the means - particularly since the artist’s somewhat laconic approach to meaningful questions of fundamental processes of understanding also boasts an immanently subtle humor.
Excerpt from Press Release, Bonner Kunstverein, 2005