The Jamming Project Brings the Principle of Joint Improvisation to the Painter’s Canvas

17. 3. - 1. 5. 2017
Press Release for download here.

High resolution photos for download here.

The Jamming exhibition at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art presents paintings from an experimental art project of the same name, in which mentally handicapped artists and artists handicapped by an academic education create together. The project’s objective is to break down barriers between people with mental handicaps and those without them, while applying a principle of musical improvisation – the jam session – to the area of fine art.

The Jamming project came about in 2014 as a cooperative effort between the Inventura Art Workshop, founded by Dutch artist Otto Kouwen, and painter Mirek Kaufman. Since 2016 the Jamming project has been managed by the newly created Barvolam association.

The project’s central concept is to bring the jamming principle, common primarily in music, to painting. Through jam sessions artists show that several painters can share one canvas while ignoring the boundaries between “professional”, “amateur”, or “outsider” art. The project also wants to prove that those with and without mental handicaps need not live in separate worlds.

We see meaning primarily in the very process of creating the work, when we are all equal partners. Works from the area of art brut, i.e. by artists with various degrees of differences, always provided inspiration to an entire number of artists due to their spontaneity and authenticity. But in the case of Jamming, the inspiration is mutual – professional artists provide handicapped artists new stimuli and both sides refresh their established ways of working in a natural way. It is thus an adventure for all participants,” explains Mirek Kaufman.

The fact that someone is handicapped by a mental disorder says nothing about their talent. We try to support creativity, mutual understanding, and tolerance for otherness,” adds Otto Kouwen.

Those involved in the Jamming project included participants in the Inventura Art Workshop and other artists with a mental handicap or autism, professional painters from the Czech Republic and abroad, students from the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, and artists with chronic psychiatric illnesses from the A.R.T. project.

The exhibition at the DOX Centre presents paintings created over the last three years of the project’s existence. Exhibition curator Terezie Zemánková summarized the manner in which artists created the works as follows:

Jamming assumes the form of a collective ritual – unfettered, spontaneous, yet guided by the laws of the ‘tribe’. Each actor’s participation is limited by time and the shared space on the canvas, on which he or she reacts to what others have already created. Everyone here must suppress their ego and let themselves be swept up by a wave of shared energy infused with the unfettered joy of painting.

Exhibition curator: Terezie Zemánková

The permanent Jamming team consists of: Dagmar Filípková, Mirek Kaufman, Otto Kouwen, Marie Kůsová, Vladimíra Müllerová

Project guests include: Renáta Drábková, Šárka Hojaková, Hana Chmelíková, Hilde Irene Knutsen, Lukrécie, Kateřina Novotná, Ladis Pachmuch, Ladislav Svoboda, Eva Štefková


23 March and 20 April | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
EVENING JAMMING – an art workshop based on principles followed by artists from the Jamming project, led by Mirek Kaufman and Otto Kouwen

19 April and 26 April | 5:30 p.m.
A guided tour of the Jamming exhibition with Mirek Kaufman and Otto Kouwen, free with admission, reservations required at

8 April | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
AFTERNOON JAMMING – family workshop