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.
The Islamic State is the most successful terrorist group in human history. They receive global recognition through their smart use of social media, which results in many young people joining ISIS in order to take part in the Jihad. The propaganda videos show very graphically the execution of their prisoners and enemies and shock repeatedly the world. Those professionally well made clips draw especially our attention because of the familiar look we know from Hollywood movies and TV series. It happens vice versa when we try to cope with the shown cruelty: We reference pop culture when we watch those videos. As long as we think these atrocities could be fiction, the whole content remains digestible and can easily be transformed into entertainment. The smallest unit of entertainment is a joke - one central piece in the exhibition “Erase / Rewind“ - found in the commentary section of an ISIS article posted by the avant-garde blog gawker.com.
Gawker.com hosts also an article which became infamous in 2011. Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, was glorified as “A Rose in the Desert“ in a long article originally published by the magazine Vogue, right before the civil war started and the situation for millions of Syrian citizens escalated. Not only the wife as a fashion icon was subject of the article, but also Syria’s exemplary role in the Middle East: The Peacemaker! A couple of weeks later, it was revealed that the article was financed and commissioned by the Assads to promote their country, as well as to distract from their vicious style of government, which lead to the initial protests - as part of the Arab spring - and to the ongoing civil war which still keeps the world in suspense. After the article was pulled from the Vogue’s website, it can only be found in the hard copy of the March Issue of 2011, on gawker.com and the pro-Assad website presidentassad.net: As a masterpiece of propaganda!
The Assads are passionate users of Instagram - another channel for their propaganda. One post shows a picture promoting a flag contest for the Syrian Independence Day in 2014, for which you could submit your self-drawn flag of Syria. The example drawing in the photograph was made by one of the Assads’ children with color pencils. It is striking how the Syrian regime exploits social media (and even their own kids) in a similar smart way like ISIS does. The images are touching in their kindness and appeal successfully to our sentiment. Without saying, the staged photos contradict many facts and the Assads fictionalize successively real life.
In the exhibition “Erase / Rewind“ the artists Christian Weidner and Lukas Kaufmann operate like a watch group: Within the ephemeral world of the internet and media coverage, digital information can be forgotten very quickly and in terms of emotional response, can make us look like fools very easily. The hard copy in the form of painting and object witnesses irrevocably the present time and functions as physical evidence against the lies of any oppressor. By layering the propaganda and anti-propaganda material mentioned above, a new method of infiltration is created. The exhibition “Erase / Rewind“ envisions a future, which mistakes reality for fiction: “This is how you can have peace!” (Bashar al-Assad in “A Rose in the Desert“)