Deana Kolenčíková: A wall is always two-sided
20. 9. – 15. 10. 2017
opening: 19. 9. 2017
curator: Gabriela Kotiková
In the beginning, Deana Kolenčíková primarily worked with photography but gradually, in time, photography became one of many media that she pursues. She now works a lot with installations and interventions into public space, part of which are sometimes performances. In her work, she reacts to various social and political problems of specific places that she inhabits at the time. For example, in the French town of Albi where she recently spent time on a study abroad program, she had a sign made that was on wheels and read “A louer” (for rent), which could be easily moved to any building within the town. This was her reaction to the current situation in small towns in France (and elsewhere), which are often somewhat depopulated, young people don’t live there as they tend to move to larger cities and the entire history of these towns is affected.
In her project “The Magical night’s time has come” in Ostrava, she had the main entrance of a building that used to be a movie theatre covered. The building had not been used for a long time and was gradually decaying. Having the entrance bricked up caused the old chandelier attached above the theatre entrance to really stand out. The city residents who would walk by at night now saw only the shining chandelier, which was striking but no longer made any sense and only reminded of the faded glory of the old times and the lack of respect for it.
Deana has also been engaged in projects that are somehow related to food. In Gallery Fiducia in Ostrava, she created an installation consisting of various types of “typical” national foods that she encountered in Ostrava – Russian Eggs, Budapest Spread, Algerian Coffee, French Potatoes, Parisian Rolls, etc., none of which is actually the national food of the given country. They are just foods that Czechs created by giving them exotic names. At the end, international visitors of the exhibition guessed which country each food comes from based on taste, smell and visual appearance and they put together a scale of the winning foods. These evaluations revealed stereotypical opinions about certain countries. Subsequently, the author, together with Hynek Chmelař realized an entire series called “Folk Cuisine”, which was something between a play, performance and a community dinner.
At the current exhibition “A Wall Is Always Two-Sided”, which will take place in Gallery Jelení, the visitors will be invited to interact and pit their strength with an opponent. The installation of a huge wall with a small window where two people can arm-wrestle, reflects current political problems in world politics but it can also be applied to the general level of human communication. It points to various forms of misunderstanding and distorted ideas between people where the truth is always different depending on the angle of the view from which we are looking at it. And often the opinion of the one who is stronger wins. In a funny and simple way, she captures a view from the position of a resident of a small country, which cannot compare itself with large countries and historically often suffered for this. The fact that we are a part of a small nation should bring a greater ability to understand other opinions and to stand up for the smaller and weaker, which, in reality is not that common in our country…
Deana Kolenčíková is originally from Slovakia. She studied photography at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, following which she studied abroad at the Akademie der bildenden Kunst in Vienna, Austria and at the Nottingham Trent University in Great Britain. She currently lives in the Czech Republic. For further information about her projects visit www.deanakolencikova.com
Jelení Gallery exhibition program is possible through kind support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Prague City Council, State Fund of Culture of the Czech Republic, City District Prague 7