Are we inside or outside right now? It´s not perfectly clear. In architecture, distorting of what we see with paint or light effects is a type of visual magic or optical play. Facades are typically adorned with various optical illusions, displaying 3D objects in 2D form and creating new hybrid shapes. In their current exhibition project, Mantichora (Manticore), the authors Martin Herold (*1986) and Pavel Příkaský (*1985) frequently invert these illusory elements. The facade, which we expect to be outside, is situated inside. The painting, which we expect to be inside the frame, is interwoven directly into the walls and used for “holding” the paintings-paintings, which are then, according to the inverting motif, tautologically “framed” by the architectural illusion. Apart from the references to the hybrid mechanism of trompe l'oeil (also known as technique of illusive painting), the authors use here motif of a mythological creature with the combined features of different animals. With the head of a human, body of a lion and a tail of venomous spines or wings of a bat, Manticores produce sounds resembling soft music of a flute. Pavel Příkaský captures them in more variations on a wall painting, a painting or a space installation as simplified zoomorphic motifs typically known from the reliefs, architectural details or sculptures.
Sharing experience through imagination, storytelling, and sharing experiences is a traditional method of psychotherapy used in Jungian-type analytical psychology, especially in catatymically imaginative psychotherapy. The installation, which we are entering at the exhibition of Tania Nikula and Linda Hauerová entitled About trees, a jellyfish and stomachache, at the first sight evokes the impression of a kind of therapy through the imagination of nature. It deals with a person's frequent desire to disappear in the forest, to observe the stars and to enjoy the blending of reality with imagination.
Water exists in three states, as well as solid, liquid and gas. This trinity of water seems to take on a divine essence. 80 % of a human is made of water and, to our current knowledge, we should drink at least three liters of water a day. We can stay breathless under water for about three minutes. Many respiratory, skin, heart, gynaecological and movement diseases are treated in spas or by the sea. When a person is stressed, it helps to drink fluids, or take a shower or bath. Today, special water massages and watsu therapies are also sought after, which evoke a transcendental experience. Women give birth in water more frequently, sometimes in the presence of dolphins. Although, there is less drinking water, melting glaciers are raising ocean levels due to the rising heat. The water temperatures are rising, and rising so quickly that aquatic habitats and coral reefs cannot adapt to it and die. Believers visit places of pilgrimage where there are miraculous healing waters. The main problem for pilgrims is obtaining adequate water supplies, without water they will not survive more than 72 hours without harm to health. We are currently witnessing – allegedly – the greatest drought in the last 500 years. Water appears in all mythologies, dreams and interpretations as an element symbolizing life, feelings and a certain kind of infinity. When probes are sent into space, they search for water on the planets; water is the hope that life might arise there, or the possibility that life was there.
When I imagine Erika Miklóšová setting out for plein air, she also sets out on a trip with all of her painting equipment as well as food and drinks in her backpack. She finds the right spot, sets up her temporary studio and is ready for all kinds of surprises. Time and light are important for painting outdoors. The speed of painting is subject to completely different influences than studio painting. The comfort and safety of a studio is replaced with an environment that carries the style of here and now and is unpredictable and exciting. The time constraint is naturally linked to the current natural conditions. Slowness and speed appear on different scales. It is now the end of July – corn is being harvested, round bales of monocultural straw reminiscent of a multiplied solar system are tossed here and there, their shape and composition created by agricultural equipment controlled by a human. The wind is blowing, it hasn’t rained for a long time, clouds of dust have arisen from the arid land and all one can see is dust in the wind. It’s hot everywhere. A cat appears, out hunting mice; competition circles on the horizon. The plein air artist is a quiet observer hunting for the right moment. She mixes her colours, not striving for a hyperrealistic depiction. She rather approaches Impressionism and Expressionism; showing something more. When plein air painting comes up with contemporary artists, it is more an alienating tendency. This is not the case here – it is pure plein air without any conceptual side effects.
Tomáš Pavlacký is a graduate of Michal Gabriel’s sculpture studio at the Brno Faculty of Fine Arts. His area of interest (as is the case with many of his classmates) naturally falls within the field of 3D modeling and 3D printing. But if a spectator expects from his work and from the exhibition in the Galerie mladých a typical obsession with technology and processes showing what more 3D printing can do, they will probably be disappointed. Because of a moderate approach, he completely suppresses the characteristic aesthetics of digital models. In the current installation, he abandons previous methods of materializing pseudorandom virtual errors based on information transfer. He works with a basic shape growing into structures that evoke biological or mineralization processes.
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...
Showroom or exhibition in the installation process? Hybrid form. As well as with the plants and animals, even within art the interbreeding occurs. Indications of contemporary aesthetics are live plants, DIY objects, royal blue and perfectly technically elaborated video-documentaries or presentations of fictiotius events and products. All from a perspective of refined and exactly arranged aesthetics, but appearing randomly. Given situation encourages a dialogue and stimulates thoughts about ways, how to approach the live plants not only as decorations, but also as living organisms. Thirsty flowers arouse pity and thoughts on the reasons, why they are in bad condition. It´s been proved, that if you talk with your flower in a nice manner, it is more fulfilled and grows better. Even the plants, which are in bad condition, may by such care get over it. Care in the Rucola project resolves around conceptualism, activism, graphic and product design and DIY art with the ambition to create a platform for the development and presentation of new product prototype – smart watches. The watches visually attract potential users by their DIY aesthetics with cable sleeves, but their function is not only aesthetical, and they draw the attention to the need of regular maintenance care of the plants in the household. Also the choice of specific species, the arugula or rucola, is not random, the plant is essential for discussion between both artists, and regarding the increased promotion and popularity of rucola in recent years, it reflects current preferences in the gastronomy. It also opens up question, whether it is even desirable for people to get used to the fact, that there is something what draws their attention to something, in order not to forget about it.
In this exhibition season, the space made of niches and foyer of the konText gallery will be significantly changed again. It spontaneously builds on and develops also the situation of previous exhibition, which sensitively reflected the characteristics of the place and changed its architectural nature, erased the early Baroque niches, and this in addition thematised the gallery space itself.
For the duo Tania Nikulina and Tomáš Bryscejn, the function and nature of the specific architectural space of niches and foyer of the gallery is the starting point. They change it with textiles. The installation encourages to stay at a place, wait and immerse into new situation. Temporary wall from the previous exhibition remains at the same place, the only thing changes is its character and material. Maybe it´s déjà vu, maybe dream and maybe something in between. Be guided by an unknown guide, or sit down on a couch for example, when you remember, how it looks like!
Tania Nikulina comes from Irkutsk, and in Prague she studied and graduated with bachelor´s degree in the field of sculputre, at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM), where she continues her studies. Her art program involves textiles, she creates objects and installations with overlaps into the live stuations. Tomáš Bryscejn visits the painting studio under the lead of Jiří Černický and Michal Novotný at the UMPRUM since 2003, during his studies he went through internship in the sculpture studio under the lead of Dominik Lang and Edith Jeřábková. In present, he begins his internship at the Universität für angewandte Kunst in Vienna. His artistic practice comes from paintings.
Only place, about which we can say with certainty, that there´s life, is the planet Earth. Smart cities may in the future float on the water and fly through the universe. The life has bounced into the ability of producing dynamic lift power at many occasions, but the wings stay still important. God´s Work is a metaphorical initiation of flight, in which you can experience this uplift and beauty of nature in its rawness. The ability to absorb it and inability to bring this experience to gallery space were the main impulse for creation of this large-scale project. The exhibition is a journey here. It is possible to see it also from Taoist point of view, where the journey itself becomes both goal and work. All the traditional principles of the gallery organisation are disrupted and revaluated. Accompanying programs of the exhibition, are an equivalent or even main part of the project. “Journey” in the exhibition involves visits of artists, who work with and in the nature, and also of the artists, who only observe nature and install it in the aseptic gallery space, which has also transformed into one of many journeys. Contrast of the artificial and natural is what allures us. The inaccuracy of place, time and experience. The accuracy of the moment. The ability to perceive now and here, to share without words, to contextualise without manipulation. Nature is form of both body and spiritual cleansing. The project does not have ordinary curator, nor the architect, it is a live socio-system, which acts on both layers – the exhibition as an experience superior to the anesthetisation of nature against the nature as a product of art and discourse.
Similar program can be found on gallery website and Facebook profile.
To some extent, her story may have contributed also to the denomination process of natural disasters. Natural disasters used to be called with female names, what was not coincidence, because originally they’d been named by saints, who had been celebrated on the day of the disaster. Since the end of 70’s of 20th century, hurricanes, for instance, have been named in alphabetical order, not only with female, but also male names in turns. State of a person after learning about the infidelity of the partner has often similar uncontro- llable and destructive manifestations, often resulting in the evacuation on one side. Martina Smutná’s project is called Medea according to the well-known Greek mythological character. The protagonist is a woman, who has been cheated on, and who under the influence of strong emotions commits multiple murders. The Medea complex is used also as a well-established concept, described as suppressed wish of mother to kill her own children, that comes out of the hatred towards their father. Psychologically, it’s about classic relay of evil and revenge – somebody, who has been hurt, will go on hurting. Through the history, the adaptations of the Medea’s story is dominated by male views, which depict her rather negatively. Female adaptations emerged only in connection to emancipation and feministic movement. German writer, Christa Wolf, in her work Medea: A Modern Retelling narrates her story from perspective of six people and depicts her as a sensitive and virtuous woman, as a victim of unethical society. Martina Smutná’s Medea project refers to the classical Greek tragedy by Euripides, but the play is retold from modern point of view, as a protofeminist novel about the struggle of a woman, who cannot take responsibility for her fate in the world dominated by men. At the same time, she discusses the question, whether there is still need to divide the world of emotions between male and female. Outcome of this drama analyses is an audiovisual poem combining the original text by Euripides and authentic statements by respondents, whom the author approached through the Facebook social network and gave them questions about infidelity, both on the side of betrayed and betrayers. Visual element of the installation, which is dominated by the giant curtain, is not only a reference to the original play and scenography, but from symbolic perspective, it plays dual role – it reveals and shrouds at the same time.
It seems, that fundamental characteristic of reality is to check us from time to time and to change the way of play. Disruption of the present way of play is given both by technological changes of the social interaction platform and medial intense external forces. We may call it “technorealism”. Current informational and technological acceleration of society makes not only new identity, but also stability necessary. Moments of disorientation, where senses and pursuit of meaning run at higher speed and backup engines are turned on, open new chapters of our life. Disorientation may serve as an exceptional opportunity to make clear own position within the societal structures and its relation to the world. That said, as a recourse for regaining the orientation.
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.
Project Ján is a search for a man who disappeared during the First World War and is still listed as missing. Despite the fact that the project draws from old archives, soldiers' diaries or maps and is set in a specific historical stage, it is not a historical document. The author approaches the search for information in a detective way, even though he knows that he is unlikely to discover anything significant. He then poetically reconstructs this real information and combines it with symbolism and imagination. Although he uses old clothing, props and language, he does so only fragmentarily with the intention of leaving "many" unsaid. What matters is what cannot be seen, although we can deduce or suspect it on the basis of certain clues. For example, a shot of a sweaty horse whose activity we will not see, or details of hair in the soil, the origin of which we will not know. So the viewer also becomes a detective in a way and never sees what the characters see. In addition, the characters are often blind or have a reduced ability to see due to weather and other circumstances. Based on associations and intuition, we see not only different perspectives of seeing but also not seeing.
The name of Max Máslo’s exhibition reflects the difficulty of following up on communist thinking. To sincerely contemplate it is impossible and to ironically look back at the past leads nowhere. The effort to find a solution does not, however, die with it. The graph showcasing new and old honesty is a proof that even though Max Máslo is serious in his thinking, he keeps a certain distance as well. His age also indicates he did not experience communism which also entails a certain element of alienation.
The installation includes three videos. Video collages from period agitprop (agitation + propaganda) films are permeated by two recordings of present-day performative events. The first captures a dreamlike contemplation about a golf course excavation during a field excavation and the second one takes place during the 30th anniversary celebration of the Velvet Revolution. In the second event the author took on a role and a costume of an SNB (National Security Corps) actor and alongside three other people acted out performative raids during the official celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. It was not clear during the event whether the group of performers was a part of the scheduled program or whether it was a separate immersive act put on by the performers. The uncertainty aroused ambivalent responses which bordered on aggression and a clash with the police. Due to the uniforms, the police were, ironically so, on the side of the performers.
One of the dominant elements of the installation is a five-pointed star from golf clubs and a large wallpaper of a Google Maps photograph capturing a mini concrete high-rise building probably made out of residual materials from a nearby housing project. The view of this tiny torso is intensified by the hazy shadow casted by a profile of V. I. Lenin behind a window and a nostalgic sound track evoking the past communist era. The politically agitating dimension of the exhibition is present in the edited compilation of films Botostroj (Giant Shoe-Factory), Štika v rybníce (The Pike in a Fish Pond) and Slovo dělá ženu (A Woman as Good as Her Word).