Project 28

Project Summary


For Kaldor Public Art Project 28, highly acclaimed Slovakian artist Roman Ondak presents a trio of participatory works at Parramatta Town Hall. The historic venue hosts Swap (2011), the riveting interactive chain of barter and exchange that delighted 13 Rooms audiences, and Measuring the Universe (2007), previously presented to great acclaim at MoMA, New York, and Tate St Ives, United Kingdom. The third work, Terrace (2014) has been created especially for Kaldor Public Art Project 28.

Roman Ondak takes the familiar elements of everyday life and reframes them to surprise our expectations and perspectives. He investigates social codes, conventions, rituals and forms of exchange by discreetly dislocating objects, ideas and actions from their usual settings. His installations, performances and interventions are sometimes scarcely distinguishable from the context in which they are presented. Often humorous, they provoke a double take by viewers, making them question their preconceptions and modes of interaction.



Roman Ondak

Measuring the Universe

25 January – 14 February 2014
Parramatta Town Hall



Currently exhibiting at

Measuring the Universe

Ondak’s celebrated work Measuring the Universe (2007) begins with an empty gallery space. Equipped with a black felt tip marker, gallery attendants mark the height, name and date of each visitor who enters the space. As the blank walls transform into a universe of marks, a dense, dark mass congregates at the average height of participants, transforming a common family tradition into a portrait of Parramatta.


An undeniable favourite from Project 27: 13 Rooms, Swap (2011) merges art with everyday life. Ondak selects a performer to sit behind a table akin to a vendor in a marketplace. Setting in motion an endless chain of barter and exchange, the performer invites each visitor to swap an object for the one on his table. Finally, at the close of the exhibition, the last performer takes with him/her the final object of the day.


Adding a personal element to the project, and evoking the presence of the Slovakian artist in Parramatta is Terrace (2014), a work created especially for Project 28. An exact replica of the artist’s own terrace in his post-war Central European apartment, this work provides a shift in perspective for viewers as they navigate the exhibition.

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VideoBack to top

Roman Ondak: Overview

Roman Ondak: 13 Rooms 'Swap' Performance 1

Roman OndakBack to top

Through his poetic interventions, Roman Ondak alters our perception of everyday life. Ondak merges art and the everyday experience, leading to an impressive body of globally significant work. Audience participation and the involvement of the public is integral in the realistion of his work.

Education KitBack to top

This Education Kit looks at the work of Roman Ondák, the historical context of performance and visual art, and the shifting role of the audience in participatory art.

Secondary (Stages 4-6) | Tertiary

Introduction | Artist’s practice | Performance and visual art | Participation and the audience | The human body in visual art | The venue | In the classroom | References

Project SupportersBack to top