Exhibition title My Brilliant Friend (Geniální přítelkyně) quotes the novel tetralogy by Elena Ferrante, that is a spectacular portrayal of the narrator ́s friend. The exhibition follows the phenomenon of friend portrait by a couple of contemporary artists. It opens questions of identity, depiction and development of this traditional painting concept in the present era of selfies. Portrait or self-portrait relates to some obsession, which is repeatedly used by authors capturing faces of their family and friends or their own. In general, the human psyche is more sensitive to the reception of faces, and their depiction is faithfully ́engaging and thrilling.
The exhibition, entitled Who's Afraid of Red?, is a selection of the work of long-term collaborating artists who are currently linked by their membership in the Union of Soviet Artists. Founded in the autumn of 2016, this extended international group stands for a programmatic turn towards realistic work from the second half of the 20th century, mostly produced in the former Soviet Union. Essential for them is the search for a creative and social stance that integrates aesthetic and political dimensions. The movement relates to the ideas of communism and humanism, which for the authors represent the only effective = revolutionary perspective of today. Artists reject the individualistic model of work, but on the other hand, they do not want to deny or reject authorship. What is essential is that they do not strive for original expression and style: they work together, share their skills and programmatically influence each other, which is related to the use of a common genre register, painting techniques and iconography, the staple of which is a rather broadly understood socialist realism. The portraits, still life paintings and landscapes in the exhibition are complemented by political satire and cartoons that address the local art establishment. An important point of the installation is a jointly produced painting completed before the opening of the exhibition, which “emblematizes” the artists’ shared position. Here, the artists eliminate the subjectivism that is deliberately dissolved in the formal “indistinguishability” of the individual author’s handwriting.