Já, Survival Kit24.01. – 02.03.18
- David Minařík
- 23.01. at 7 pm
Galerie SPZ is an independent venue for contemporary art by new and more established artists. The project was launched as a curatorial initiative by Lukáš Machalický and Robert Šalanda. Galerie SPZ’s agenda is defined by experimentation and confrontation. Each featured artist can choose a guest. In addition to our year-round programme we also have a cycle for the flagpole outside the gallery. Every three months we select an artist to produce a large-format flag that will hang over the gallery’s entrance. (Jiří Kovanda)
The impulse behind this project comes from episode 22 of Star Trek, where a spaceship named the SS Botany Bay (after a place that was a metonym for a penal colony during the European habitation of Australia) is travelling through the universe with a cargo of genetically-enhanced humans in deep hibernation. The exhibition presents an environment made of natural organic materials that have been modified with synthetic materials. I investigate the catalysing of originally natural petroleum-based synthetic materials and their potential impact, through human industry, on the morphology of organic elements. (Adam Vačkář)
The theme in the series of paintings that I have subtitled “Approximations” is the tension in the relationship between a couple. I approach this tension through my paintings and the process of painting them. My concern is with painting the forms and masses from which objectivity begins to emerge. They are depicted in certain activities and conditions at the moment when the painting works by itself. I am not interested in research, but in getting to the crux of the matter. (Vladimír Véla)
In this exhibition the artists Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau celebrate their “comeback” to Art, telling the story about another strange 'project’ called: Snoop Morenga Dog Bonaparte Not Dead. Brody & Paetau are 'conceptual artists' and friends who used to make weird, provocative art. Their artistic strategy was often embarrassing in its literacy and straightforwardness. The criticality of their works could have been described as ‘homeopathic’ in the sense of ‘let like be cured by like’ (latin: Similia similibus curentur). Their 'art theory' seemed to be based on a misunderstood and distorted quotation of a couple of sentences from Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' (My Struggle): "When an artist tries to rebel against the iron logic of Power, he comes into conflict with principles to which he himself owes his existence as artist. And so his action against Power must lead to his own downfall. Of course, Power can be mocked for a certain time, but its’ revenge will not fail to appear."
…The works on display comprise the film “Piecařuv piecař”, which elevates human existence to the need for the inception of an all-inclusive collective individual writer, a screenplay for the expansion of the soul as the only defence against the catastrophe of the growth of the consuming population. Throughout the exhibition I have woven a thread of the link between human survival and the generating of waste, when in this light letters acquire mass, trash, writing has the role of a means, backed by paper, of at least partially extricating ourselves from these stigmas… (David Helán, edited)
This year the flagpole programme focuses on foreign artists. The first project is designed by the Belgian artist Adrien Tirtiaux in collaboration with the Belgian curator Frederik Vergaert. Panel-Wall #4 (Tintin in America), 2017 by Adrien Tirtiaux is a continuation of his Panel-Wall series: comic book panels taken from existing albums and enlarged to fit a given exhibition space. For Galerie SPZ Adrien has chosen a scene from Tintin in America that interacts nicely with the building’s facade.
At various times I’ve hung various things on the walls of my room: presents from friends, found and anonymous objects, artworks. I’ll show everything I have so we can see it as a whole. This installation in a small space will be partly improvised, as there may not be room for everything. For this reason I don’t want to list the creators of my collection prematurely. Come and see. (Avdey Ter-Oganyan)
This is an installation and a record. A description of living in cramped quarters. That’s something Ivan knows. It’s a bit cold, and a little uncomfortable. A bit dirty. A bit like Dr. Frankenstein. It’s a strange way of life – on a stool by the stove, wearing ski pants and a down jacket. I let images and poems flow through my mind and then disappear. The way I’m living was best described by Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world…”
Professor Boris Yermakov talked about their existence in the mid-1990s, but it’s only now that we can truly get to know them. I’m Upydemon Poseidon and I paint pictures. Before that I was responsible for building Upydemonscrapi. Now I’m free. I can run, walk, stand and look. And I see pokemons. Pokemons can also run, walk, stand and look, and they see an Upydemon. Upydemons are everywhere! In buildings and in trees, and they hide in things, in people’s bodies and faces. Let me introduce some of them. To reveal them I’ve had to stop time. (Petr Filimon)
In 2013 I had an exhibition at Krobath in Vienna where there was a plinth in the main role. A classic white display plinth. The idea was straightforward: something that usually only serves a purpose entirely subordinate to some kind of “higher” thing, something we usually don’t notice at all, is suddenly the centre of attention, playing the main role. I can’t really write about my forthcoming exhibition when I still have no idea what it’ll look like, but let’s just say it’ll be similar. (Jiří Kovanda)
The Ratio exhibition comes out of an awareness of the standardisation to which classic formats are subject, which in many cases predefines the limits for their continued use in art. These formats, which we generally accept automatically and unreflectively, are Jana Bernartová’s theme, and she develops variations based on the ratios between their dimensions. This motif of standard sizes is presented through another key element, the way the exhibition is arranged, and it emerges that the “ideal solution” may take more than just one – the customary – form. (Tereza Jindrová)
I’ve long been working with drawing, making the technique my theme. For Galerie SPZ I’ve produced a series of drawings on the relation between the real world and computer reality, to which we’re somehow strongly attracted. Every day at school I can see how children are influenced by the virtual world, and that inspired me to create these images. (Aleksandrina Yordanova)
In their exhibition Jan Pfeiffer and Radek Brousil work with the theme of ambiguous and unambiguous information and concepts. An enigmatic image with a straightforward description, or vice-versa. How then can we truly access the meaning of an image? (Jan Pfeiffer)
“Inner Monologue” is a new installation by Pavel Příkaský and his guest Miroslava Večeřová that continues these two artists’ long-term collaborative work, synthetically combining the starting points of their individual approaches. For Příkaský this concerns constructing paintings from fragmentary references, while Večeřová seeks to extend a photograph into the third dimension. They intersect in the medium of the moving picture and its manifestation in space, which they use in an abstract narrative to examine the new humanity of the digital age by linking the reality of cosmetic surgery with the atavistic creating of new rituals. (Jen Kratochvil)
The evening will see the launch of a new publication “Do you jump queues?”, presenting a cross-section of SPZ’s activities over the last five years in a series of interviews with selected artists who have had exhibitions at the gallery.
Do you think itís important to go to private views?
Probably not, I donít go to very many. Itís probably important that people go to them, but it doesnít have to be me.
Is there anything that bothers you about art?
The way you have to know people if you want to have an exhibition, that isses me off a bit.
Do you collect anything?
I do, soft toys from Billa, but I need to stop doing that. They had a promotion where I picked the first one, and since then I want to have one from every promotion.
Are you satisfied with your work?
One aspect of my art is working with text. I work with it mainly for my artist books, and it’s also part of a long-term open-ended cycle called time and setting. Concerning realisations (exhibitions), the present one at Galerie SPZ is the second realisation where text is a key element.
Art is a form of communication, a kind of language, and text can also have the qualities of figurativeness, visuality, two-dimensionality and the individual imagination… (Michal Škoda)
“A proposition is a model of reality as we imagine it”… (Wittgenstein)
Hans-Georg Gadamer came up with the concept of historically-effected consciousness as a great revolution in human knowledge. Historically-effected consciousness is a play on words that erects a flimsy edifice on a sound philosophical foundation.
The installation is a remix of the story of the history of humanity, a visual imitation of rapidly-changing subconscious images that are shaped with an archaeological enthusiasm to resemble pseudo-prehistoric utensils. The story’s thread has been lost and the tip of the iceberg of the subconscious is melting. Is it even possible to understand all this in some way? (Markéta Filipová)
The gallery’s small exhibition space became a compartment in a train. The view out of the window flashed past like the frames of a film.
Both artists have been engaged in a long-term analysis of the medium of film. Tomáš Svoboda, the exhibition’s guest, breaks down a film into its individual components and then replaces them or leaves them out entirely. It is up to viewers to use their imagination to reassemble the deconstructed film, adding their own ideas and experiences. In this way a train journey between Libeň and Masaryk Station can become a surprising encounter.
Tereza Severová works with appropriated materials. The photographs displayed here are taken from a specific film, Murder on the Orient Express from 1974. The images have been divided into layers of foreground and background, and everything has been removed from the original shots apart from the final layer – the landscape out of the windows. The windows can be understood as an allegory of vision itself, offering only a certain segment of observed reality. (Tereza Severová, edited)
Matěj Smetana and his guest András Csefalvay explore ways of understanding the flow of time. Matěj Smetana presents the logical paradox in understanding a sequence of film frames as a succession of individual moments. András Csefalvay is interested in the relation between an evolutionary natural process and a simulation of an extinct creature using 3D graphics. Both artists named their works Race Against Time.
For the sixth club SPZ will become a rehearsal space in a garage, where music and audio material prepared in advance will change in response to visitors’ actions. The rehearsal space – a hotbed of creativity, sounds, tones, notes, ideas, moments of blissful insanity and obligatory brilliance – will become a collective sound work that will allow for failure, discomfort and ambitious musical “noise”. (Zuzana Jakalová, edited)
We could consider abstract art to be mankind’s most artificial and baffling achievement. Instead of its original ties to the revolutionary language of the new avant-gardes that sought to change world history, abstract art began to be seen as a kind of bourgeois perversion that looks good in living rooms. Abstract art became an empty form, a living corpse, a formalistic zombie. For his current exhibition, after studying the rules of neoplasticism formulated by Piet Mondrian, Martin Lukáč has decided to answer the ageless question raised by nonrepresentational art: how can abstract art be simultaneously so acclaimed and so confusing? Piotr Sikora
Every Sunday, artist Ondřej Vicena travels to Kolbenova Market in search of obsolete electronics.This ritual describes the main tendency throughout his work - pairing religious symbolism with personal devices -a commentary on how we view, use, and even worship them. For his exhibition in SPZ, Vicena presents the relationship between these objects that give us a sense of control, a distraction or distance from time passing until our inevitable death, and living, perishing nature, which tenderly reminds us of both. Vicena's guest is Dominik Gajarský, who created an audio piece for the exhibition. (Christina Gigliotti)
The Slovak painter František Demeter is interested in the potential and the limits of a picture, of painting as such. In his exhibition at Galerie SPZ he deconstructs his large painting installation A Canvas on an Easel (2014) and reacts to the gallery space. Is a painting two-dimensional? Is it static? Is a painting a canvas? How does a painting work in space, and what frames it? Questions with no obvious answers lead Demeter to further steps to resolve the problems of painting and the picture. For Demeter painting is a process, a layering, an adding and subtracting of material. The viewers become actors in his installation. (Gabriela Kisová)
This joint project by David Krňanský and Monika Krobová works with the tension between individual expression and mechanical reproduction. Alongside the body and its representation, scale and multiplicity, one of the exhibition’s themes is the very principle of the production of forms in which we can sense the latent presence of the human figure. The concept for this joint installation is based on a radical reduction of the means of expression, aiming at a basic scheme – a mesh, a surface, a wrapper and the space in between, which is steeped in emotions and vague ideas. The resulting constellation revises the fundamental distinction between fine and applied art, and supports a certain parallel between designers and fine artists’ thinking and working processes. (David Krňanský and Martin Nytra, edited)
Thirty years ago Sam Ashley went to South America in search of “authentic” shamanism. He stayed there a year, spending some time travelling in the Amazon region and the rest in the Orinoco basin. During this adventure he shot 27 films of colour transparencies. On returning to the United States he decided to store all the boxes of film and get them developed in 30 years’ time. An important part of his concept was that he would not take any special measures to protect the films: whatever happened to them would be crucial to this experiment. The “Of the Essence” installation is the premiere of this trial of the longevity of colour film and a document of an expedition in search of shamanism in the Orinoco and Amazon basins in 1984.
This exhibition is part of Fotograf Festival #4 – “Seeing and Believing” www.fotografestival.cz
Adam Borzič and Jonáš Hájek’s Unquiet Reading.
We walk around a gallery. We lean over a display case. We scratch behind our ears. At a concert, we sway. Occasionally we jump up and down. Listening to a radio play in our armchairs, we swing a leg. When listening to poetry, we are motionless. People are frozen, fossilised. They imagine something, but show no signs of doing so. The silence at poetry readings is more profound than in the Clementinum’s reading room. What happens if the audience starts responding to the words with motion, if their imaginations become visible? (Markéta Magidová)
Adam Borzič is a poet and translator, and the editor of Tvar, a fortnightly literary journal. Jonáš Hájek is a poet and music journalist.
Victor, the shaman, a jovial old man wrinkled like a dried apple, carefully unscrewed the top of the plastic bottle. It made a brief hissing sound. “Gaseosa,” he remarked with a grin, chuckling at his own joke. He hummed into the bottle’s neck to appease the spirits in the muddy brown liquid that half-filled the bottle, and then poured some of the bitter potion into a plastic cup. He hummed and whispered to the contents of the cup before deciding to pour a little back into the bottle. He swirled the liquid in the cup again, talking to it intimately. With a look of satisfaction he decided that it would do. He reached out a hand to the person sitting cross-legged in front of him. (Radim Labuda)
At the Koh-i-noor factory in Vršovice in Prague Eva Pejchalová and Marie Vránová opened a shared communications space with the name Studio KIN (2013). The KIN Festival at Galerie SPZ presents one of the art projects they produced in response to the factory. It was originally held in front of the main Koh-i-noor building, where the artists mounted flags with reproductions of their paintings in the metal flagpole brackets that run along the long line of windows. The paintings, some more relaxed, some resembling scientific illustrations, showed Koh-i-noor’s products. In January 2014 Eva and Marie held a competition for Koh-i-noor’s employees to design a new fastener, with the winner becoming a guest at the exhibition, but none of the employees applied. (Tereza Volná, edited)
For his exhibition at Galerie SPZ Jiří Černický assembled a number of new ideas and sketches, resulting in three works. The gallery is dominated by a reflective curtain that is imbued with meanings, references and the time invested in it. At first sight the curtain may seem heavy and unambiguous, but closer investigation reveals that here Černický is balancing on multiple tightropes: between painting and sculpture, modernism and postmodernism, looking at the world and looking within. The exhibition’s guest took on the role of curator and examiner, producing an essay “On the Curtain”. (Jan Brož, edited)
Another themed evening, an open discussion on trends in contemporary art, was held under the title The NeverEnding Story. It presented an ironic commentary on the flood of “ethno”, folklore, pottery and above all rocks and stones at many large art exhibitions. The leitmotif was a clip from the German fantasy film The NeverEnding Story (Wolfgang Petersen, 1984) showing Rockbiter spitting stones. During the evening a game pebble-throwing game was played on the floor of the gallery.
This exhibition by Tomáš Predka and his guest Lucie Česálková presents a series of images working with the phenomenon of the flashback. Seemingly abstract paintings make reference to concrete situations in the background. Lucie Česálková is a film theorist. For the exhibition she gave names to the individual formats, without any interference from the artist.
Adéla Babanová and her brother Džian Baban, a screenwriter and musician, are exhibiting a fictitious interview with the flight attendant Vesna Vulović, who in 1972 was the sole survivor when an aeroplane exploded over Česká Kamenice. She is the only person in the world to have survived a fall from such a height.
With: Vladimír Brabec, Réka Derzsi, Tomáš Petřík
Silvia Krivošíková’s objects refer to the personal, inner or internalised dimension of geometrical form. In her work the dividing and breaking of the surface and the structuring of space are an analogy of direct lived experience, of defining and arranging the place where we live. An object is created with a trajectory of emotion-gesture-record-independence-detachment-naming. The object is the reification of an illusion. In this installation these two layers of the imagination – illusion and its reification – are complementary. They create a diaphanous structure that is in part a response to diverse external influences, including contemporary Portuguese architecture. There is something like a retrospective rationalisation of the emotions prompted by this “relation to site”. Silvia Krivošíková’s guest is her daughter, Violeta Borboleta, who interprets one of her mother’s works in a drawing. (Petr Vaňous, edited)
Azar Alsharif (N/IRN) focuses on processing various forms of popular culture, especially the mechanisms used in the advertising industry and the questions arising therefrom regarding authenticity, truth and luxury. She uses mainly materials recycled from fashion and lifestyle magazines. These she subsequently combines, blends and installs into new pictures and objects. Alsharif is mainly interested in the psychology of this problematic. The fragmentariness, manipulation and reshaping of images is for Alsharif not only a way of undermining the credibility and authenticity of the original material, but above all a strategy for thematising the cognitive framework that the effect of advertising creates.
This project looks at the legacy of Charter 77 and the Czech underground music scene of the 1970s and 80s through photographs taken in 1982 by the Amsterdam-based sociologist Jef Helmer.
The exhibition is held in collaboration with MeetFactory. It is sponsored by Mondrian Funds, and special thanks are due to the Netherlands Embassy in Prague.
As children my brother and I lived in a world of giants. At the time we had an ironic sense that the “childhood” category we’d been assigned to didn’t exist. We knew we weren’t children, but the giants didn’t know that. It was our secret. And so we became the others’ destiny. (artist’s introduction)
Club is Galerie SPZ’s first exhibition format that is not primarily related to fine art. A club is traditionally a place where people with similar interests can meet. Clubs also serve other purposes, as places to play games and present specific interest-related activities. This new exhibition programme complements Galerie SPZ’s existing programme, and is aimed at such gatherings.
I asked Giacomo what he thought about freedom and how soon it could be established. He said he thought it would come when science has revealed all the laws of nature, and no others would be required, as they are not based on man’s true needs and are always in conflict with the laws of nature. Then the issue of freedom would have been resolved. No one would be able to claim that living in society needs some kind of hierarchy, political control or leadership. All this is despotism, for it is forced on man by others and not by nature. Man is subject to the laws of nature and that is all. (Patrik Ouředník)
In motorsport “pole position” refers to the first starting position; a driver or rider usually heads the start line-up on the basis of victory in the qualifying lap. Petr Dub’s guest is Josef Hohenberger, a professional minibike rider. In the two disciplines the artist compares, various roles, hierarchies, types of communication and norms are defined, and in today’s world sport can be seen as a kind of performance. But is such a simple comparison of the function of art and sport possible? And if so, to what extent do professional attributes influence the outcome of the “race”? (artist’s introduction, edited)
An old BMW, a photograph of a decrepit boat on the Dutch coast, a personal video and a man on a motorbike who is both riding and standing still. Together these seemingly incongruous visuals present an integrated vision of the world around us, nostalgically going back to the memories of the artists themselves and their personal perception of time. (Adam Štěch, edited)
The Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar has created an unofficial Palestinian stamp. A temporary Palestinian Embassy was set up at Galerie SPZ where passers-by could get Jarrar’s stamp in their passports. The artist is demonstrating that Palestinians do not have the right to control their borders. This project was created in collaboration with the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, as part of the Middle East Europe.
Jitka Mikulicová invited Ondřej Brody to contribute to her exhibition, and together they made an installation with a painting of a devil’s head on one wall (Mikulicová) and a realistic imitation of human eyes on the wall facing it (Brody). The two pairs of eyes stared at one another, and a viewer entering the gallery became part of a bizarre voyeuristic scene.
For Galerie SPZ David Hanvald made an image/object that we could call a reinterpretation of Sigmar Polke’s transparent canvases. The resulting image/object is composed of three-dimensional elements in which he has undertaken a reduction of the pictorial canvas. The artist uses colour to accent the effect. The illusion (or disillusion) of surface and space is then magnified by mapping done by Hanvald’s guest, the Bosnian artist Amar Mulabegovič, who now lives in the Czech Republic. With his projection Hanvald’s Brick becomes an ambiguous image/object – it is not clear if it is on the wall or not, or what occupies the surface and what the space. (Martin Dostál, edited)
Jan Zdvořák presented a deliberately unappealing installation with white canvases placed on plinths and covered by glass cases. In this way he opened a discussion on how far it is possible to abuse the artist’s status when defining what is or is not art. Zdvořák invited Hynek Vacek to give a talk during the opening about anything whatsoever. Vacek’s verbal performance on an indefinite theme (nothing) was somewhere between irony and serious theoretical presentation, and it was delivered through wireless headphones.
Igor Korpaczewsky aka Q: created an installation resembling a 3D diorama (wall painting, polystyrene relief, overhead projector). The exhibition’s title, Kim, is a reference to the hero of William Burroughs’ novel The Place of Dead Roads. In his atypical depiction Korpaczewsky presented the protagonist as the famous writer’s alter ego.
Ondřej Ševčík exhibited vertical objects, towers made of cards at the very limits of stability. This ambivalent combination of natural order and fragile construction is supplemented by a video made in collaboration with Ševčík’s guest Štěpán Šmíd, a professional illusionist. The shot of the conjurer’s hands shows a sequence of card tricks projected on the gallery’s floor.
This exhibition of Jaromír Novotný’s paintings is devoted to themes of overlaying, similarity and black. He worked on layering slightly different rectangular forms, and at the end of this organic process the paintings have been placed, regardless of their size, in a uniform composition with a single colour. This exhibition of similar paintings is the outcome of an exercise in examining certain preconditions. Novotný invited as his guest the art theorist Ondřej Váša, who experimented with a dictionary entry taken from the rules of grammar in an attempt to produce a textual parallel to the exhibition.
Adam Stanko and Helena Sequens exhibited objects (talismans) made by Helena’s grandmother, Libuše Sequens. Following a series of works that began with the Czechmade installation, these two artists have started examining violence and its insidious presence in society. Video screens show a bound figure with a paper bag over its head, an image both grave and comic. The installation is completed by two prints on the gallery’s walls.
Patricie Fexová created a 3-D painting installation based on Linda Salzman Sagan’s famous drawing for the platinum plaque on the 1972 Pioneer spacecraft. The drawing depicts a man and a woman, and includes basic information on the Earth. This motif was the starting point for the entire installation, in which the artist works with various interpretations.