“How does global impact local, common become private, normal rare? Why do we call talks about weather “small talks”? Is it possible to expect unexpectable? Isn´t it only a dream? A nightmare? Can you imagine next winter? What do you see? Snow?”
Michaela Casková´s exhibition Small Talks #3 is next from a project series based on fascination, talks and notes on weather. Weather as a topic is here changed from scientific calculations of probability resulting from accurate data into metaphors, which often present rather improbability or impossibility of predicting the future.
Michaela Casková is a member of Finnish collective Mustarinda, which creates projects dealing with sustainable values and lifestyle, ecological and cultural diversity, art critique, education, and intertwines various fields of art and science, or provides residential stays for contemporary artists. Michaela Casková is also the creator of illustrations under naposedu.
The installation Conveyor´s scrolls is a joint work of artist Tomáš Kocka Juska (1994) and artist Alex Selmeci (1994). Both are graduates of the Contemporary Image Studio of the Faculty of Arts of the Technical University in Košice and since 2017 they have created several joint projects under the Edgar & Ota studio brand. Their installations of material objects and video essays often respond to a specific space. In the selected material, prefabricated elements and LDPE, critical attitudes are anchored in the topics of the environmental crisis or the relationship between human and non-human entities.
He told me, what I wanted to know for a long time. I thought, that knowing it would make me calm and happy. He took a deep breath and revealed that secret to me with godly awe. I forgot it in a couple of minutes. It was either some bogus or something, I knew already. It just made me a bit fed up. I told myself, I would find it on the internet, but then I just didn´t feel like it. I already opened a browsing window, but then some pop-up window appeared on the screen about designing accessories from plastic bottles."
Retouch (v) improve or repair (a painting, photograph or other image) by making slight additions or alterations.
"full-colour images can be retouched, enhanced, or colour-corrected"
The presentation of Lenka L. Lukačovičová, Slovak photographer, is based on her long-termed program of creating photographic cycles, in which she repeats or refers on civil actions, representatives of underground art scene of the 70´s – 90´s in Czechoslovakia, which are recorded through the pictures. Known is the lifetime cooperation of conceptual artist Július Koller and photographer Květa Fulierová, who recorded many of his actions. In the artworks of Ľubomír Ďurček, the relationship between photography and performance is even more blurred, specifically in the works, where he worked with physical dimensions and compositions of public space with distinctive geometry. He completed or changed those with a subtle intervention, by presence of his body. Ľubo Stacho works with time and he makes portrayals of people after some periods of time, who for this particular situation of shooting expose themselves into some sort of civil performative form. At the other hand, Rudolf Sikora uses photography as a record of action, which took place and left a temporary sign in the landscape. All these perspectives are evaluated by Lenka L. Lukačovičová and in her authorial diction she explores them again. In contrast to Barbora Klímová, who was more interested in the sociocultural advancement of gestures within the changed political context at the repeatitions of selected actions of the Czech conceptualists from the same time period, Lenka L. Lukačovičová explores this topic rather from the position of a photographer and instead, she conceptually problematizes the relation of photography and performance.
Last summer I administered applications for the 2018 open call into the Galerie mladých. Last month I ’ve been receiving few applications a day. I recall dedicating more time to the Lukáš’s one. His texts were brief and direct, stuff in his portfolio was the exact opposite. At the end, there was a link to a video, to the documentary of his installation in the underground gallery in Košice town center, its beginnings were initiated and the space is run by him. Virtual video tour guided me through couple of corridors and rooms, complexly changed to a perfect, yet inorganic land full of lights, reflections, pictures, flowers objects and illuminating furry boxes. He’d been creating the environment for four months.
Structures of the arrangement. Rotation and mirroring. The centre point. Mirroring axis crosses the point of rotation. The beginning is also the end. Symmetries, circles and line.
The simplest definition of algorithm says that it is an ultimate sequence of accurately defined instructions for completing specific task. If so, is a word, sentence or film an algorithm, too? Words and sentences consist of letters, films of static cells. Only the right combination of them makes a statement? And what if these two systems analogically interconnect? And how would you explain the metaphor in such arrangement?
The exhibition concept works with a biased choice of authors of moving image (from videos to experimental films), who are connected by common axes or points: interest and use of characteristics and structures of used medium from digital to analogue; documentary nature of record of ordinary, civil situations; and tracks of literature or texts. Those transpose to auto-reference, a script replacing the soundtrack, and own or found poetic statement arranged according to vague coincidence.
Illusiveness, imagination and mystery.
I first accidentally omitted the word Anthology from the exhibition name when compiling information for the gallery program. Just when I was thinking about how to best describe and name the installation that was created in Galerie mladých this exact word came to mind.
All the emotions and events of the year are embedded in the portrayed symbols and subtly so also in the changing artistic expression, that is drawing and painting. The reader goes over the topics in a series similarly to the way they would if they read through chapters of an anthology. It is no accident that I speak of reading. Anna Fiedlerová accompanies her paintings with lyrical comments which are, however, not a part of the installation or of the paintings themselves.
Another exhibition in the exhibition cycle by Barbora Zentková and Julie Gryboś focuses on the theme of collective fatigue and exhaustion. Each following exhibition carries clues from the previous one. Rather than a program-conscious composition, it is a spontaneous commixture of meanings, manners of communication and to an extent of material rendition. Metal objects are interwoven with textiles and have an ambiguous media character that blurs the lines between a genre category, such as fine and applied arts or two-dimensional painting and a three-dimensional object. A reference to painting, on which the artists focused previously, is apparent within the framework of media diffusion. Metal meta-furniture constructions can be perceived as a frame which is interwoven with abstract painting composition. Objects form a complex spatial environment that activates various senses of the audience members. However, the authors are careful, not manipulative, with enticing emotions. At the same time, they are aware of the importance of aesthetic captivation of their works which they, however, use as a means to articulate individual themes, often containing aspects of extinction, crash, or degradation. The answer to the current culminating crises, be it societal or personal that always immediately follow, is the necessity to slowdown and keep calm. The ritual of relaxation is encoded within the installation in Galerie u Dobrého pastýře on many levels, the most apparent being in the way in which the thin cotton ropes are woven into the metal constructions. They are reminiscent of the almost forgotten techniques of macrame and weaving. Persistent and intricate handwork arouses meditative, escapist satisfaction. The title of the exhibition Tea Bags on Eyelids not only reveals a lifehack how to ease the tension in tired eyes but also a source of the cotton yarn pigmentation. The color palette is formed by refracted shades of ocher and blue as a result of an infusion of different types of tea leaves and herbs. Additionally, it is the first time Julie Gryboś and Barbora Zentková used this natural pigment in their object work. Tired eyes can also be observed through the repeating motif of tears in the morphology of interwoven metal constructions, beeswax filling separating walls or boards on the floor similar to a spa floor tiling. Beeswax is another material present in the installation from the relatively limited range. Tear-shaped modules were created by melting down relaxing aromatic candles. Even some yoga asanas release emotions and can activate weeping. Between the escapist relaxation and existential anxiety of the current crisis there is a sense of vibration. It can be seen in the strings of screen dividers containing grainy pictures and heard from the strings of a guitar played by Jan Tomáš who composed a musical composition specifically for the installation. Even though the skepticism springing from the crisis is rather serious, it is communicated empathetically and nonviolently, particularly through an easily digestible and, in fact, rather pleasant melancholy. The range of perception is among other things apparent not only in the imaginativeness of symbols through which the authors formulate their themes but also in the respect towards creative autonomy which is a crucial requirement for a collaboration in an artistic duo.
The word wee is a Scottish equivalent of the English little. The title A Wee Bit of Heritage reflects an effort to little peek into the cultural heritage of a northern town Wick with a population of almost nine thousand people. The town was a strategic location for fishing and also the main port for the north of Scotland. That situation has, however, changed in recent years: herrings had been gone for decades, hunting crabs is no longer as profitable as it used to be, the nuclear power plant is shut down and one of the few things that does work and is attractive for tourists is the distillery, nuclear archive, and The Wick Heritage Museum. The museum is managed by voluntaries of all generations and every city resident knows it well and visits it at least once a year. The legacy of the place is carefully preserved in collections of objects, photos and trinkets in vitrines or fill entire rooms and are accompanied by often not working videos and by the omnipresent air fresheners. The drive with which the voluntaries work to preserve their own history is moving and overpowering. Anna Tesařová prostřednictvím explores in the lyrical documentation of the museum the power of pictures and the desire not to be forgotten.
In her essay, On Being Ill, Virginia Woolf writes:
Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view… it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.
Aurélie Bayad is a Belgian artist mainly thematizing the ways and forms in which we expose our bodies in virtual space providing the basis for her personal feminist ideological perspective. The language of her work is performance, photography, text, video, and installation.
Adam Hejduk’s portfolio is dominated by a handcrafted scrupulous work with large-format glass panels anchored together with strings. They represent not only independent objects but at the same time also musical instruments. However, in his diploma thesis he made use of glass desks as a projection screen for a three-canal video. The project is designed for CIT Cinema.
During summer, the projection room of CIT Cinema at Radnická turns into a space for site-specific installations, revising the medium of moving pictures and the conditions of cinema projection. Adam Turzo’s Spectacle: Residuum stops time in the middle of one sequence or film frame as we find ourselves in a black space between action and reaction, at the point of completed destruction, just before fully realizing the consequences of this action. The act of extinction is, however, not a sudden and unpredictable accident, rather it puts us in the animal skin from the fable about a boiling frog.
Pavel Dvořák is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music (University of Ostrava) and his previous paintings were influenced by neo-expressionism and their motifs were based on a plethora of various pop cultural sources: computer games, animated gore horrors, and comics. Apart from painting, he also creates wooden figures which, similarly to his figures on canvas, do not shy away from sharp humor.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary Galerie mladých in Brno. There is no more appropriate format than a performance to celebrate this type of institution. However, it is not about performances as an artistic genre, but about the performative concept, which will be the subject of this year’s open call. The Open Call paraphrases this typical dramaturgical practice and its history, as it has probably had as long an existence as the gallery’s open call program. What is usually closed behind the office door will this time take place in public: the selection committee will discuss the submitted projects directly in the gallery and, moreover, will allow interested artists to comment on their own projects “on the spot”, as was once the case in Galerie mladých.
Markéta Wagnerová most often engages with performance, film and music with a trademark dose of ironic humor. Delicate Beauty of Apple Trees is an exhibition project spread between Galerie mladých and CIT cinema. It introduces a story of Markéta’s literary alter-ego, Amadeus Plankton, who writes C-rated prose and even worse poems. His first book, Delicate Beauty of Apple Trees, is a lesbian drama seen through the eyes of the four actors in the story, and The Screaming Horror of Decayed Orchards could be described as an erotic zombie horror with a touch of fantasy in the style of J.K. Rowling. Amadeus Plankton’s literary works are inspired by apple orchards and farms in Kent, where he goes on annual picking jobs with other students and graduates of the arts and humanities. Through documentary photographs, audiobooks and music video clips or video essays, he ironically comments on the everyday life of artists and intellectuals in their role as Eastern European day laborers.
Judita Levitnerová takes interest in textiles in a wide range of meanings. Through a handmade paraphrase of industrial automated production, she explores the phenomenon of gendered labor, the influence of hard manual labor on identity formation and the tradition of artistic crafts and leisure handicrafts.
Jan Bražina mainly uses sculptural methods in his work. However, his interest in the body and figuration develops unorthodoxly, especially through an intuitive exploration of the material of textiles. The extension and morphing of the body through textiles, wood, metal or numerous performative collaborations indirectly formulate a process of exploration of fluid identity.
As a creative tandem, Věra Lukášová and Markéta Lisá meet for the first time in a joint exhibition project. The result of this collaboration links the specifics of their independent artistic work, which in the case of Věra Lukášová refers to the broadly conceived medium of film, in the case of Markéta Lisá to literature, text and music. What they have in common is a special combination of sensitivity, humility and subtlety.
Zoé Couppé, born in Nevers, wants to counter an intergenerational curse that had struck her family. Her grand-mother lost her mind, and during an episode of madness went to hide in the shrine of Saint Bernadette. Publishing this film is like a spell to prevent this madness from repeating itself against her.
A video diptych by artist and photographer Polina Davydenko presents two video essays: Public Tinnitus and Potter Wasp, which tell the life stories of two characters: a woman, an economic migrant from Ukraine, and a man, a miner working in a coal mine in the Donetsk region. Their stories can be seen as a universal testimony about migration, poor working conditions or expressions of climate grief, and more narrowly as a record of the experience of many Ukrainian families before the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war began.
Our memory capacity is dying. With the rise of the internet, our brains have become better at forgetting. The GABA HEAVEN project seeks to re-examine the relationship between the brain and digital technology and redefine the correlation between memory and death. The exhibition space is conceived as a funeral hall of memory, borrowing Korean funeral attributes. However, this funeral is not somber, rather it is reminiscent of the funeral-celebration of Akira Kurosawa from the film Dreams.
In the context of the climate crisis, my generation was already born in the skin of a slow-cooked frog, but it was not until the covid pandemic and the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war that our self-image was fully shattered. The ensuing shock and disillusionment have caused a definitive erosion of our supposedly fundamental values of rationality and humanism, and call for the need to redefine them. In the works of the emerging generation of artists, this reassessment is manifested in particular by a turn towards their countervalues: towards romanticism, spirituality, or the quest for the equal status of all members of the planetary community.
In the Bookshop space, artist and graphic designer Jakub Kovařík uses the personal memories of his grandfather, the well-known painter from Olomouc Slavoj Kovařík, to explore the more general theme of preserving a person in his memories. The figure of the grandfather thus becomes a means of talking about man in the space between the general and the personal, about man as a series of moments, a layered composition of perceptions and reactions that we put together when we say he. How to talk about a person we once met and talked to. What happens to the world when a person disappears? Where is the line between person and thing? Between sense perceptions and imaginings? Is death the perpetuation of the person? And why do we keep things in memory? The exhibition will place several objects side by side: author Slavoj Kovařík's works and their context (material, personal, contemporary), his portrait photography and his personal objects. These objects are things, concrete objects and at the same time compositions of events extrapolating Slavoj Kovařík between the personal and the public, between the seen and the unseen, between revelation and obscuration.