Radek Brousil and Peter Puklus: Stupid
Fait Gallery MEM
Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno
21. 2. – 5. 5. 2018
Curator: Jan Zálešák
The central motif of the Stupid exhibition is the representation of manhood. People are well aware of the fact that images of bodies are never quite neutral and are always associated with a certain viewing policy. However, this awareness that made its way to visual art in the 1970s at the latest, with the progress of feminist thinking, only rarely becomes the subject of a wider social debate. What remains marginalised in this topical discussion, as well as in its many previous variations, are images of men and manhood. How could the changes in the policy of gender equality be manifested in the policy of these images?
The generation of men who are now in their 30s and 40s from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc represented by Radek Brousil and Peter Puklus grew up in a world where the equality of men and women was formally guaranteed, yet this façade only served to cover the good old patriarchal structure of inequality. If these men now want to meet expectations, they find remarkably few strong models that they could follow (or with whom they could identify). Like women, men today, and every day, enter the “battlefield of the body” – but naked, without being armed with suitable discursive weaponry. What they do have are often just obsolete notions of who they are supposed to be, connected with the naivety of coming of age in the 1990s. These clash with a contradictory mixture of popular images of manhood, from action heroes, porn stars and assertive politicians to sensitive dads depicted in family TV series and gentle youths from talent shows.
In their works selected for the Stupid exhibition Radek Brousil and Peter Puklus open this imaginary encyclopaedia of manhood images which, despite being usually completely non-reflected, makes up a joint reference frame with a great visual power. The artists embrace a scale from an almost caricature reduction (man as a hunter) to less explicit representations of manhood such as graffiti (evoking the traditional masculine topoi of conquering territories and ritual comparing of muscles). The exhibition presents the artists’ individual pieces which echo their current work, while its cornerstone is a jointly created series of photographs reflecting both shared opinions and different life experience. Although Radek Brousil and Peter Puklus have their “base” in photography, the work of both of them is characterised by the long-term testing of the limits of this medium, as well as by work with objects and installations. Installation elements joining the individual artefacts into a whole with a unified meaning are also at play in the Stupid exhibition in the Fait Gallery MEM.
Radek Brousil (*1980) is the winner of the Oskár Čepan Prize 2015. His recent solo shows include those in the Nová Cvernovka gallery in Bratislava, 16 Nicholson Street gallery in Glasgow and in the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace of the Prague City Gallery . Radek Brousil’s work follows two basic lines. In the first one he focuses on the conceptual examination of the photographic medium’s prerequisites and lately also on the specific policy of the photographic image (Black and White in Photography series), while in the second one he explores the form extent of the interpretation potential of photography and often moves into the field of object and installation.
Peter Puklus (*1980) has recently showcased his work at solo exhibitions in the Raster Gallery in Warsaw, the C/O Gallery in Berlin and the Gallery Conrads, Düsseldorf. In 2017 he launched in the Josef Sudek Studio, Prague his Handbook to the Stars photo-book originating in 2012 as the outcome of his residence in Banská Štiavnica in which Radek Brousil later participated as well, and this experience led to their current joint exhibition. Puklus took part in exhibitions in major institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the ICP in New York and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. His latest project The Hero Mother – How to build a house was awarded the Grand Prix Images Vevey.
The exhibition opens on Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 7 p.m.
Photographic reproductions for the show can be downloaded at https://goo.gl/CrdecQ
Photographic documentation of the installation can be downloaded at https://goo.gl/QUTWpL (c) Radek Brousil.
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