Ausstellung Vienna meets Prague: Tankstelle

The title of the exhibition Tankstelle, which presents the works of Barbora Kleinhamplová and Tereza Stejskalová, alludes to the contemporary condition where consumption and work are prioritized to the detriment of sleep. Tankstelle means gas station in German. A place that is always open, where one can fill up on energy around the clock, where one can supply a car or a truck with fuel so that it can continue on a road, often to deliver goods. What is integral when one envisions a gas station is the image of anonymous tired cashiers working around the clock. Even in Austria, where store hours are strictly regulated, gas stations have an exception, as they are one of the few places where you can shop on Sunday and after eight o’clock. The exhibition Tankstelle is an appeal to prioritize sleep and rest without the attendance of an unnamed service worker.

Since the Industrial Revolution, not only globalization and late capitalism have shaped the way we sleep, but so have the events of the last few years and months. The Corona pandemic brought more flexibility to the way work was organized but with a downside – working from home meant being available 24/7, sitting on never-ending zoom calls. The school system experienced the same earthquake and went digital; students from elementary school to university sat in front of blue screens and socialized only via computers. Delivery services celebrated the highest turnaround in years as we could order online around the clock. Since then, people got used to the constant availability and stayed more active online. At the beginning of February, many may have returned to the offices, and those who had been working over-hours until then were able to start eliminating these, as it appeared the old life was slowly returning. It seemed like we could exhale again. However, by the end of February, Russia invaded Ukraine, leaving us all wondering if we were on the brink of World War III. Leaving many glued to their screens, consuming the avalanche of news. But despite our best intentions online, this time is being yet again exploited and monetized. The omnipresent avalanche of advertising accompanies our every click and swipe. All of the aforementioned circumstances influenced among others the way we sleep. Making it a widespread issue.

That’s why even years later after the work Sleepers’ manifesto by Tereza Stejskalová and Barbora Kleinhamplová was firstly presented, it has lost none of its relevance, quite the contrary. Even though both artists are based in the Czech Republic and although working and living conditions in Austria are different from those in the Czech Republic, where supermarkets open until midnight seven days a week and an average cashier’s wage of 1,000 euros is no exception, the issues raised in the exhibition are topical also abroad. As in Austria, the constant pressure to open stores even on Sundays and to extend opening hours with the sole intention of satisfying the never-ending need for consumption is growing. The need for rest and regeneration becomes increasingly subordinate to consumption. Unending production and consumption are prized, while our need to sleep is seen as a waste of time and unfruitful. With just a swipe, we turn on the blue light and continue to consume and work at any time and on any day. The line between being awake and asleep is blurring, as is the one between work and leisure, day and night, public and private. The unceasing engagement and presence are demanded, the relentless call for attention from the ubiquitous video screens, and countless other potential preoccupations and distractions leave us just a little time to sleep.

Barbora Kleinhamplová and Tereza Stejskalová see in sleep a potential to resist the pressures of contemporary capital and to escape the constant pressure to produce and consume, which relies on the unyielding demand for attention. Furthermore, sleep has the potential to build a nurturing community. As while we are asleep, we are vulnerable and dependent on the care of others. The artists see the task of the establishment as not to keep us awake, but to protect our vulnerable sleeping bodies. Ideally leaving us with the possibility to fill up our energy at any time, on any day, in any place, without raising any suspicion just like at a Tankstelle.

Text by Anežka Jabůrková

Barbora Kleinhamplová is the mother of Kosma, she is a visual artist and the co-founder of the Institute of Anxiety, where she co-developes the year-round program. Her work explores the question of what constitutes society, what its illnesses and emotions are, and what its future holds in relation to institutions, work, the economy, and the political situation through the means of association and metaphor. She works with performative situations, which are often mediated through video and installation. Through performativity employed in her works, she emphasizes the symbolic role of the politics of bodies in relation to the economic and power system. Kleinhamplová has exhibited in the Czech Republic and internationally – e.g. at SAVVY Contemporary, Art in General, Triennial of Contemporary Art U3, Gwangju Biennale, New Museum, Astrup Farnley Museet, Jakarta Biennale. In 2015, she was awarded the Jindřich Chalupecký Prize.

Tereza Stejskalová is a curator and researcher studying (post-)socialist visual culture from feminist and postcolonial perspectives. In recent years, her focus has been the film production of students from the Global South in Czechoslovakia between 1948–1989, specifically tackling racism under state socialism, or contemporary art practices which deal with invisible (racialized and gendered) labor.  She publishes texts in academic and non-academic journals (e.g., Artmargins Online, Journal of Visual Art Practice) and (co-)curates projects and exhibitions (Matter of Art Biennale, Prague, 2020; Upon All of Us Equally, Bucharest, 2019; Biafra of Spirit, National Gallery in Prague, 2017). She lectures at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Opening: May 25 2022, 7—10 pm

On view: May 26—June 19 2022

Opening hours: Saturdays 12—4pm and by appointment

The exhibition Tanstelle, curated by Anežka Jabůrková, has been organized in cooperation between hoast – artist-run space vienna and the festival Vienna meets Prague.

Eintritt frei!


25. Mai 2022
  • Tage
  • Stunden
  • Minuten
  • Sekunden


10:00 bis 19:00


hoast artist run space
Große Sperlgasse 25, 1020