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 uloz.to (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.



Nika Kupyrova / No More Mr Nice Guy

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Fait Gallery PREVIEW, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
 
Opening: 17. 10. 2018 at 19:00
 
Curator: Václav Janoščík
 
Art projects by Nika Kupyrova don’t have a unifying or stable meaning; instead, they open before us an opulent universe of materials, objects, references and languages.
At the current exhibition the artist makes use of a series of sci-fi novels by Iain M. Banks taking place in a futuristic civilisation known as The Culture, and of his symbolic or ironic names of starships that are in fact living creatures. We can observe works and objects that use their names as a process of creation, control and manipulation of meaning and sense. The artist draws us into suspense between the comprehensible and the unclear, an object and an artefact, the human and the extraterrestrial, between signs and surfaces, truth and fiction, the present and the future.
Such is the role of aesthetics, from Immanuel Kant to Iain M. Banks. We must constantly change and find new forms and languages enabling us to see more than just these dichotomies; we might discover affects and details deeper under the surface of phrases and ideas - and possibly also beauty.
 
"Serious Callers Only"
 
I am Václav and you, you are called Nika. When I was little I was quite dissatisfied with my own name; it seemed too conservative. The Czech national patron is Václav and so are the two Czech presidents after 1989. 
 
My name is exclusively used in the Czech cultural context and is basically impossible to pronounce or substitute in other languages. And your name – Nika – immediately brings up an association with Eastern Europe to me.
 
We are all being called callers, but we ourselves are the callers. We use names to comprehend the world, we cover things up with words to create or solidify their meaning.                
 
“No More Mr Nice Guy”
 
The problems get even deeper if you come to be labeled not only by you real name but a nickname or a metaphorical expression. Let’s say you are being called “Mr Nice Guy”.
 
In folk psychology and these self-help manuals this stands for being overly helpful and positive, always trying to avoid conflict and resorting to a compromise or a consensus. 
 
"Kiss My Ass"
 
Sounds pretty fine at first, but involves a lifelong problem, believe me. While we usually accept the whole idea of democracy rooted in tolerance and in seeking consensus, sometimes you have to decide for yourself.
 
Sometimes you must simply step out and act against the odds. Sometimes you might need to swear and tell to "kiss my ass". I mean – so much for subtlety. Sometimes you must fight for your name.
 
"So Much For Subtlety"
 
Don’t worry, I don’t mean to imply any sort of chauvinism, machoism, egoism, resentment or indifference. The opposite is the case. Even if we fight [fait] for emancipation, for feminism and equal rights, we should take names seriously.
 
E-mancipare – means “to step out” in Latin. You see – no more Mr Nice Guy. It means to use your voice and claim your own name, a banner to fight with. So don’t worry – of course we still love you.
 
"Of Course I Still Love You"
 
Speaking of love. I always have this restless feeling. Sometimes I cannot help but simply love you. To crave your presence, words and sometimes even touches.
 
And I wake up. Still called the same. And I have to confront this limit to my aspiration in life, with my civil and somehow boring name. An awkward fact or a situation I would like to disregard.
 
“A True Disregard For Awkward Facts"
 
This is the game we call naming. Yes, indeed – giving a name can be a thrilling, lavish procedure. It might not just give you an account of what or who someone is. It might also trigger a narrative, a perspective; a joke, pun or a twist.
 
Frankly speaking, and finally explaining our little game with names – we refer to Iain M. Banks and his series of sci-fi novels based in The Culture. Where every piece of spacecraft is an actual sentient being, endowed with their own witty name. 
 
"Nervous Energy"
 
The point being – it’s not just about us; it’s not just the fucking humans who matter. It’s the animals, the fictions, the world itself or a spaceship that can be brought to life, soaked with meaning and endowed with a name.
 
Paradoxically enough this super-anthropocentric phenomenon of giving names can present a process through which we do away with human self-centeredness. A process through which we are getting closer to the nervous energy of art and things.
 

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