F-word (F is for Fantasy)14.09. – 03.11.23
- Tomáš Moravanský
- Jiří Ptáček
- 13.09. at 7 pm
You dirty, dirty mind.
Galerie SPZ is an independent space focusing on contemporary art, mainly by emerging artists but also featuring older, established artists. Throughout its existence Galerie SPZ’s agenda has been defined by creative experimentation and confrontation. Besides our year-round programme, we also have a curatorial project that uses the flagpole outside the gallery – every three months we choose an artist to make a large flag that will hang over the gallery’s entrance. SPZ is currently headed by Lukáš Machalický.
Greetings from Tomorrow
The food is good and the people are nice
It’s a pity to leave - it’s a pity to stay as we have no place of coming back.
The fragile tissue of the present flutters in the breeze just like Indian summer which reminds me that out of all the visions of tomorrow, we are most attached to the one that isn't much different from the current state of affairs. To make it slightly more approachable and appealing, we could consider depicting it - tomorrow - in an old-school color palette with slightly blurred frames, bleached colors, and clothing from past eras. It is up to date after all as the way teenagers are dressed today has been influenced by patterns from two, three, or even four decades ago - I feel like I’m at the primary school again surrounded by colored hair emo-goth kids. The discrete charm of the past overshadows the future, just like the warm sunlight flooding the landscape on a postcard from Balaton Lake in 1970…
How far is it to the castle? And is it safe? We always yearn for a sense of belonging that defines us. We want to keep at a safe distance from past influences, and so we transform ourselves, but what if we want to go back? (Nikola Rácová)
Unfortunately we don’t have anything in your field. a nice woman behind the desk, with a smile Do you speak English? How would you feel about calling people to offer them products? That’s probably not for me. So look for something yourself.
in the meantime, 230 km away at the foot of the mountains the barn is leaning like crazy it probably won’t survive the gale it didn’t Can we repair it? Definitely!
I’ve found something, I’m starting soon. Great, congratulations. That’s a nice Christmas present for you. When do you start?
It was supposed to be a light, mobile structure that didn’t cost much. Not like my house, which is old-fashioned woodwork from the 19th century, with a timber frame, of course!
and Michal Rejzek)
The layering of epochs, glimpses through seemingly unrelated images and their distortions. The gaze progresses from the textile piece on the facade of the building through the doorway into the depths of the gallery and back again. In the center of the room, Marie Raffn´s book Horizontal and Vertical Lines Meet at Certain Points invites to intimate, infinite spaces. In Martin Herold's installation, a familiar environment meets a reference to the unknown, distant in time and space. Several of the presented artworks center around a deformation of the image on the principle of anamorphosis. Similarly, in the exhibition Sine Sole Sileo, the viewer must find an imaginary point of view from which two different artistic positions compose a new meaning. (Martin Herold and Marie Raffn)
Who are you? Do you want to take a look? It’s there, in the back. It’s open. There’s quite a lot of stuff inside – a rug, an armchair, a torch, a painting, drawings… And the dimensions are 125×154×159×98×197×185, so you should be able to get in, and which colour?
(Oscar Nowotny and Mark Ther)
In his exhibition for Galerie SPZ, Aleš Zapletal offers an insight into several of “his” repositories: his semiautomatic sketches, the notes he writes on his mobile every day, the photographs he uses when painting, and other archival materials, together with notice boards displaying the even more bizarre results generated by searching Google for “aleš zapletal 1990”.
“aleš zapletal 1990” (whether a specific person or just a combination of characters for a search algorithm) is a mosaic whose new compositions reflect the close and thoughtful observing of the present day. (Aleš Zapletal)
Sophie Utikal’s work has its roots in the Colombian folk art tradition of depicting everyday life in textiles, something she knows intimately thanks to her relatives on her mother’s side. Her images capture the commonality of bodies – human and non-human – and the emotions inscribed in their poses. For her Flag this artist, born in Tallahassee in the United States but now living in Berlin, used one of her previously existing works, whose composition she adapted and printed. It reflects the theme of grieving for the environment. (Tereza Jindrová)
Body, blanket, clothing, home, insured. We need to know we’re protected. Nervousness. Social anxiety. Stress. Anger. Sweat. What do we get if we subtract preservation from the self?
You’re idly turning the cubes over and out of the window you can see a tree on fire. They can be arranged to make pictures, or in other ways. The more experienced among them went to take a closer look at the fire. This space is a kind of room. And notice the door. It’s a good door, and it looks good too, but there’s no door handle. You’ve spent several hours constructing a picture from dominoes, it’s almost finished and you’re feeling good about that, when someone bursts through the door, knocks over what you’ve built and tells you off for playing on the floor. You feel like crying; you get up and you hit your head on the table, and a knife falls off the table and slices your finger off. There’s a half-hour transition to the active day, and the first step is to set to work. It also works the other way round, if you want to intentionally demotivate yourself and not do anything. (Lukáš Slavický)
“Home stinks – come outside, man…” Šimon Sýkora takes us for a walk through the streets and over the hills, introducing us to curious figures who have stopped caring about any stigma and are adrift in the world. We wander with the author and his characters through a hidden landscape that sometimes loses its regularity and contours, and even though we never know where we’re going and who we’ll see there, heading out was always going to be safer than staying home.
Natálie Pejchová’s new paintings seem to have burst out of the paint and channelled into spaces, and beneath the hard top crust everything is still moving and overflowing. It’s as if it was all steeped in energy, and painting for Pejchová has precipitated chain reactions in which the categories of it/me (object/subject), outer/inner, description/experience and factuality/imagination are negated. Her paintings are based on very ordinary experiences such as looking at her mug or gazing out into the garden. But for Pejchová, processing her themes means descending to a lower level where they have fused with her emotional experience and imagination.
The wind turns a firm structure into a soft, mobile form. Form does not follow function. Never-ending growth, progress, value, performance… The flag is a tribute to the buildings whose owners or developers have demolished them, or let them fall into disrepair, so they can replace them with new and more profitable projects.
There isn’t, or there is a bit. Somehow it matters and it doesn’t, sometimes consciously, sometimes incidentally. The pink ribbon closes up the cut quite forcefully, in a repeated slanting gesture across the blank surface. I can’t help it – for the last few weeks this pink symbol (slash-strikethrough-growth chart) has invaded all of my paintings. Like a powerful message about nothing, or about its denial, it’s occupied my studio.
What does it mean to make works of art, not for the artist, but for the world? How does it become inevitable to that world? What is lurking in the shadows, in-between the works that are on display? Never showing itself but having a profound impact on what it means for the world. Could we meet in those shadows? (Niek Hendrix)
I paint self-portraits on square formats, I like the fact that a square is very standard and not very suitable for a portrait, it forces me to focus more on the painting than on the portrait. I usually paint them bigger than the actual size of a head, in this way the painting takes control over it's subject. I want to keep the subject of the portrait of the painter as a starting point becuase without the painter there is no painting, hence the painter is subject of the painting and because he/she paints, painting is subject of the painting as well. (Roel van der Linden)
The exhibition space becomes an environment, site and breeding ground of inanimate beings and animate things. The object-series ‘Moulds, Derma, Anthropogenites and Pyroglomerates’ are generated by growth, nurture, mistake and experiment in many years of processual interactions with material in co-authorship. They explore an unexplorable relationship, somehow comparable to the conceptual pair of mess and organization. If we try to find a meaning for mess, we also have to find a meaning for organization. If we try to explain organization, we must immediately define the word mess, and so we can't avoid either of them. So, these are no domains, but one and the same concept, somewhere divided into two parts. (Kristin Weißenberger)
When I was living in Japan I was afraid to dye my hair blonde. Now that I’m living in the Czech Republic I’m worried I won’t have a profession or vocation. One time I was in Poland and I came across a kapliczka, a chapel, and I realised that this was my path. Since then I’ve been a Kapliczka Otaku. Otaku is what we call someone who’s passionate about something and devotes a lot of time, effort and money to it. What kind of otaku are you? (Minami Nishinaga)
Somewhere in the root system of Bárta’s approach to painting there has long been the idea of his hybrid identity, the way he is a painter, technical designer, manual labourer, lathe operator, production worker, etc. This exhibition at SPZ is based on Bárta’s self-identification, and it presents his paintings as part of a staged workplace, a workbench that makes reference to the morphology of Bárta’s paintings but also to the overlapping of the romantic idea of an artist’s studio and the unsentimentality of a workshop. (J. Ptáček)
Since 2010 Luděk Rathouský has concentrated on developing a specific painterly language based on his study of the earliest paintings from Central Europe. The Gothic masters’ indisputable quality was both sufficient reason and the inspiration for him to again attempt a new visual form. After spending several years adopting the techniques of medieval painting, Rathouský arrived at a distinctive artistic vocabulary. He uses paint rollers and metal leaf to create a metallic layer and then adds oil paint in a thick paste. In his pastels on paper he colours the structures and gaps with surgical precision. He selects his paints on the basis of his chosen system, with minimal opportunity for any aesthetic deviation. The current phase of his development is the start of a process of purging himself of the significance attached to content with a clearly declared meaning. This gradual releasing of painting from concrete messages and meanings makes his work in essence abstract. The controlled randomness of the metallic structure and the careful filling in of the gaps with a thick layer of paint may seem expressive in style, but it is in fact a very time-consuming process that highlights the meditative aspects of the medieval approach. (Kateřina Štroblová)
Featured prominently in these pictures is a brightly shining sun that dots the sky as a sentinel—functioning both as an asterisk or aperture, yet also somehow indifferent and adrift. Although the works in Blind Mellon convey a restrained simplicity, the paintings are surprisingly indulgent and give over to a certain extravagance and boldness. (Brian Scott Campbell)
The gallery transposed in a place between, a leftover area, untreated, without clear frames, plans or regulations: Terrain Vague. The objects & textures one can find in this moulding environment are the remains of an underlying object, process and history. Surfaces that were hidden before, under a layer of dust, behind text code or a façade, are uncovered here today. (A. Perkmann Berger, M. Middelbeek, R. Stadlbauer)
The installation under the above title contains several possible layers of interpretation. One of them is position, with the painting White Penis ambivalently observed by a white but blind telescope (with black lenses). Another layer concerns seppuku or hara-kiri, metaphorically performing ritual male suicide – a suicide that from a European perspective seems intolerable, cruel and strong-willed. In the context of the blind telescope and the White Penis there is a certain kind of dark humour here, but this is also to some extent a polemic on the current status of the male in art. I leave the other layers, which intersect, up to the viewer.
“Apparently if we don’t know the limits of what we’re describing, if we don’t know how many things we’re actually talking about, and we assume that if there aren’t infinite quantities of them, then their number is quite certain to reach astronomical levels, or if we can’t define the essence of something so that we could talk about it and explain it in an acceptable way, we list the characteristics of the thing in question… Poor Skot”
When cartoon characters have a great idea it is illustrated as a lightbulb hovering over the head. A technological invention serves as a symbol of the human ability to think. The once dark and gloomy mind is enlighted from the outside and progress is possible. But does the light radiate from the mind or is it the lightbulb that enlightens the mind from the outside?
Galerie SPZ values the outcomes of November 1989. That’s why we’re showing previously unknown photographs by Lukáš Jasanský and Martin Polák from the days whose 30th anniversary we are now commemorating, as a small but valuable contribution to the emerging discussion about these now half-forgotten events.
They are painting, print, papercut and at the same time collage and decollage. The use of tissue paper that has been glued to the canvas, painted over and torn off again creates random contours, colored areas and blanks. Here and there, paint and paper scraps peel off. The images are fragile, as if they wanted to retreat into the similar walls, to merge with their surfaces. They seem to remain on the threshold between neither and nor. (Jette Büchsenschütz)
A blueprint of an unfolded sculpture, showing four adjacent sides, cut in half and placed underneath each other to fit the verticality of the flag. Three numbers and a letter refer to two prints and a text which are added onto the sculpture, but are left remnants without its signifier. Scaled 1/1 the blueprint is the sculptures’ flat double: a Platform, Plat meaning flat in Dutch. A translation as a suggestion, a flag as an announcement and a sculpture as absentee. (Wim de Pauw)
An old gate with the paint peeling off and the legend dead inside, with a slit where something’s clawing its way out. Out into a world where no one’s still alive. People ransacked the planet. Heaps of trash that you can gorge on till you bust, baby. They cut the wings off food, the “eroticism of old age”, they turned its body into sculptures and displayed them in a gallery of our downfall. You can’t have what you can’t find. You can’t use what they didn’t throw out. You’ll live, but not for long. There’s a drought, everywhere is on fire and you’re going to try to fix it. You’re naive, but determined… but when you close your eyes there are colours everywhere and music playing. (Jakub Hošek)
A recollection of a feeling we can’t remember. A moment of discovery, understanding. A remote hope in the quiet before the storm. The horizon. Darkness. Distance. The unknown. And in Indonesia an extinct giant bee has been rediscovered.
The “Inside” exhibition features work from the “Untitled” series, especially objects from 2018, which can function as personal fossils, repositories for memories. I’m recording the finding and affixing of the important parts by recycling the resources around me. Capturing the past and the future; there are key points and also the set of forms and their assemblies in an ambiguous landscape. A setting where I try to get my bearings by using clear paths, impasses and momentary pauses. (Zuzana Ondroušková)
My work visualizes music. In place of creating musical tones that reach the ear aurally, I compose visually, enticing the eye to listen through color and form. The shapes in my work are inspired by the architecture of sound. Amplifiers, speakers and musical instruments provide a deep reservoir of forms and textures from which I can create a visual language to express musical ideas. Though I have used sound in my art, I prefer making silent works that allow the viewer to compose as they observe. In this way sound, silence and form can find true harmony. (Tom Kotik)
A red sphere hovers in the air, glowing from within, and there are intricate phosphorescent objects, and a vast blue curtain with no visible beginning that cuts across the space. The pulsing light negates our initial impression that these are set pieces or inanimate objects. Our unease at being the only people still alive in the land of the dead gives way to a chilling sense that we are not alone here. The pit is the abyss that Nietzsche wrote of: if we gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into us. (Eva Fajčíková)
My first exhibition at Galerie SPZ was right after the gallery opened in 2011. Seven years later I’m following on from the “painting” objects in my Spacesuits installation with another way of portraying a man and a woman. These are the first two objects in a series with the working title Koule/Balls, and this time they feature a self-portrait and a portrait of my partner. Again, painting becomes three-dimensional, using an absurdist shorthand that is my favourite means of expression. Putting a portrait on a curved surface paradoxically emphasises the flatness of the painted layer. The use of colour on a white ball can also resemble the human eye, the organ that allows us to perceive art. (Patricie Fexová)
treamline (2017) is a video performance recording the physical representation of the material and scale that was formerly the limit when building an airship: 245 metres. I extend a line of silver paper over this distance in an open space to try to give an idea of the length of such an object. In retrospect this can also be seen as a metaphor for a fragile vision and its complicated unfolding: turning back, going down dead ends and then picking up the thread again.
Let us collectively emphasise an emotional identification with a superior social, physical and metaphysical complex. In most situations this complex can be recognised by embodying the paradigm in a super-individual “I”. This “I” is reversely defined in individual creative movements in art history. Describable tendencies in particular periods that are connected by a tangible intersection of metaphors and references. We use images to work from the aestheticisation of artistic expression towards communication. After all, we love our viewers. Welcome to the peripheral vision of today, to the peripheral experiences of yesterday. (David Minařík)
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.