Pavla Sceranková & Dušan Zahoranský

Work on the Future

Pavla Sceranková & Dušan Zahoranský / Work on the Future

05.06.2019 - 17.08.2019

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Opening: 5. 6. 2019 at 7 pm

Curator: Václav Janoščík

Exhibition architect: David Fesl


As if the main contradiction of the present didn’t lie in the very problems we are currently facing, from climate change to the revival of populism and misinterpretation. Perhaps the most serious pitfall of today is our inability to share these problems and fears, as well as values, visions and solutions.

There is a name for our involvement with the world, its building and suffering — it’s simply work. We don’t necessarily have to understand it as an occupation but as a process in which our activities and ideas are given sense and co-shape the world in which we live.

By extension, art is not just the production of exhibitions and artworks; it enters our shared imagination, enriching it with images, visions and criticism. At our exhibition for the Fait Gallery we are trying to open up this process, to invite the viewer closer, to the podium which dominates the gallery space and provides the installations with a joint framework and context.

The platform is modified for art, as well as for work and leisure in the form of a co-working space and two in-built lounges supplemented with chairs from Pavla Sceranková’s previous art projects. The podium-table thus assigns the meaning to the individual installations while at the same time it also invites the audience to enter the process, the cycle of work and leisure giving sense to both works of art and our world.

Pavla Sceranková shows the human situation ruled by the current work culture. In a series of plasticine figurines created by the pupils from an art school (the work is called Klára) she lets us observe the dissolving of shapes and the blending and merging of matter. The number of endangered species becomes a metaphor for the current environmental issues, as well
as for joint and applied work which is inevitably multiplied, affected by social expectations, and still can be shared and useful and mediate values, including aesthetic ones.

Milada, again named after a person devising the particular project and working on it, combines an elastic suit with performance. It invites you to a flexible, enchanting but subjugating part-time life which enfolds you like tight-fitting underwear. In contrast, Miloš, a figure rooted in the gallery podium, seeks a base and anchoring, perhaps even the return to reflections on nature and the corresponding rhythm, harmony and deceleration.

Our presence, be it social time or personal experience, seems to develop in loops intersecting the show, as demonstrated by the Ilja installation. It is not just a suspended loom, the return of working techniques to the space of a former factory, the picking up of the threads of work which was interrupted. It also manifests the cyclic nature of work as such, the circle of knitting and undoing, work and leisure, creation and destruction.

Dušan Zahoranský incorporates in his work the subject of communication. In a series of fake phone calls written on dummy cell phones (Mária), he comments on the overwhelming presence of (online) communication today, as well as on the isolated, private, almost absurd dimension of the possibility of instant communication.

The monumental ring (Libor) encircling the gallery ramp brings to the space office furniture and the issues of the stereotypization and commodification of work, or semiocapitalism. Our work environment and application are often subordinated to phenomena such as open space, home office, flexitime, as well as the necessity to be constantly available on email, mobile phone and social networks. In this way, capitalism does not only appropriate our time and work but also the creation of meaning and sense.

In addition, Zahoranský views critically the idea of a universal, non-specific or fully transparent language. In a series of coloured grids of digital characters, Mirek and Kateřina, he stages a combination of type, communication and digital culture, while in the central installation entitled Dušan he symbolically “stole” the letters “o” from his own email communication.

The artist works in similar fashion with the sharing of films on the popular server (Artur series). He cut one minute from each film and uploaded the files again; not only to alter the films circulating among the server users, but also to work further with the “stolen” time. This time appears to represent the negative of work time and circulation, the possibility of hiding (as an artist) and working outside the affective loops of digital communication and the capitalist order.


Project was created with financial support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and
Statutory city of Brno.

Alena Kotzmannová / The Last Footprint & Q: / Seconds Before…


Fait Gallery MEM, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
Opening: 17. 10. 2018 at 19:00
Curator: Jiří Ptáček
The idea of their joint exhibition has circulated through the Czech cultural universe for at least a decade. From time to time, it floated close to the telescopes of major art galleries, yet was never described and named by their specialists. The complications involved in its non-execution are not interesting enough to deserve attention. However, they preceded a paradox that their joint exhibition, despite the lasting interest and a suitable opportunity, is not held this time, either.
How to understand the “+” between the titles of two neighbouring and yet individual shows? Is it just a sign for a formal coverage of two autonomous entities? Is it an atavism of the original, unexecuted intention? Both artists lead us, in a certain “unified direction”, towards speculations about the last days of mankind, to visions of the end of civilisation which does not come from the outside but is a consequence of its inherent dynamics. Like with authors of fiction, films and computer games on the postapo subject, with Kotzmannová and Q: it is also possible to place their “seconds before” and “the last traces” in relation to an imminent threat of an environmental disaster, including an ever more obvious fact that for a radical change of the course a social accord, political will or simply time are missing… Under these circumstances hope, the last resort that has got mankind through so many hopeless situations, turns against its host. 
Nonetheless, the idea of two parallel exhibitions can be understood slightly better when we take into account the temperament with which Kotzmannová and Q: approach their subjects. Alena Kotzmannová takes the stance of a melancholic observer, a traveller through a scorched landscape in which the finds of the relics of the human desire for beauty and social status resemble the finds of unusually shaped objets trouvés. The figure of the last human walking through a desert with a camera can be equally well replaced with the image of an automaton which, long after the disappearance of its creators, is still running its programme, mechanically sorting out its finds for a museum that nobody will ever visit. Kotzmannová’s relationship with the current environmental crisis is somewhat looser. It isn’t written anywhere that her photographs are not “aired” from a future so distant that the extinction of mankind occurred “spontaneously”, through wear and tear, as it were.
In contrast, Q’s attitude is different: he considers “here and now”, even “seconds before” raises the alarm, challenges the existence of plan B and the possibility of an escape. A monumental model of a rocket carrying “elsewhere” a message about mankind, as well as a diorama of a desperate family of astro-settlers are, rather paradoxically, intended as suggestive sensory perceptions, fascinating last images on the collective retina of the human race. Perhaps this is exactly what a memento should be like: visually powerful in order to emerge in the memory a second before a dystopian reality becomes the present so that we will try, for the one last time, to swerve in a final attempt to rescue ourselves.
The preservation of a certain autonomy enabled by the division of the planned joint exhibition thus does not reflect a personal (ideological or relationship-wise) dispute. It enables to fully demonstrate the difference between elegy (Kotzmannová) and lamentation (Q:), the introvert (Kotzmannová) and the extrovert principle (Q:). And yet, Kotzmannová at one point can’t resist and gatecrashes Q’s display to, at least partially, cool down his zeal. Or is the supplementing of “his” exhibition with fire extinguishers a symbol of a brake needed more by the civilisation living on Planet Earth?

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