I keep having the same dream:
... the gray shadow runs up and down the steep hillside, disappears on the ledge behind the large rocks and trees ... I hurry, but I can't catch it up, I speed up, call and shout, and suddenly I know that all my life is in this animal, all my destiny, all prosperity, that it is like the air to me, but without haste it keeps moving away from me, without care for anybody or anything, leaves forever, walks away from me, walks away ... she can lose all of us when I walked back down the trail worried, I heard the sound below, far below me, and thought she was calling me. I stopped. I went on, and then I heard it again: this time I couldn't be wrong, breathless and laughing, ears back and eyes lit up. She "showed us all love," then found the dropped deer antlers, laid down on the needles and played with it...
When petting a dog, we touch the materialized needs and dispositions of two animal species over the last 14,000 to 18,000 years. The wolf was apparently the first domesticated animal. Both man and wolf shared the same territory and hunted the same prey. Eventually, these species formed an alliance and laid the foundations for guided domestication through mutual adaptation strategy. David Přílučík’s project explores and transforms the fabric of relationships we have gone through during this coevolutionary journey. Like breeders, he chooses purposefully adequate aspects that he develops through historical and social phenomena. He then connects them into new relational qualities and thus intensifies the motives we have come to understand as unchangeable.
In 1956, Colonel Karel Hartl made a request to create a new canine service breed for the needs of the Czechoslovak Border Guard by crossbreeding a dog with a wolf. The beginning of breeding dates back to May 26, 1958, when five puppies were born in the kennel of the border guard Libějovice in South Bohemia, of Brita, the she-wolf, and Cézar, the German Shepherd from Březový háj. Thus, the first phase F1 was created, leading to an animal that should have gained the status of a national breed. Czechoslovak wolfdog – embodied border of a non-existent state, unknown creature, which is no longer a wolf and is not yet a dog. For Přílučík, this event is the starting point through which he develops ideas on identity, territory and dualistic thinking. Imagine a free dog. Would it still be a dog? This does not mean that the dog is not capable of freedom. On the contrary, it requires a re-evaluation of what the dog and freedom can become. Think and act in new links that transform concepts and their users.
The current exhibition is looking for possible directions across these vague starting points. Using shots from breed standard and interactions between dog and owners, snippets of interviews with Karel Hartl, lawsuit protecting wolves against the state, smells, chains, mesh, hybrid overall – bite suite and other interventions, he frames the gallery by the ambivalent connotations on the borderline of care, perversion, and distance.
Similarly, he delves into the issue of attributing human values to non-human actors. Related topics are also presented in his earlier works Cat [Kočka] (2013), Training for Mutuality (2015), video Blind Bidding (2017) and exhibition Donor (2018), where he regards both animals and technology as entities closely linked to our life.
If these efforts don’t create new alliances following still uncharted trajectories of an interspecies biotope, they will lead in spite of good intentions to a reproduction of the current anthropocentric view where a man dominates and to violent aesthetic kitsch.
David Přílučík (*1991) is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, a member of the Studio without a head and the Artyčok TV association. In his work, he questions the set patterns of thinking that influence our social, cultural, and political circumstances.
*the text emerged based on the principle of crossbreeding (co-authored by David Přílučík, Zuzana Janečková)