Janek Rous: I was keeping myself awake by a loud and regular clapping of my hands
17. 6. – 25. 6. 2015
opening: 16. 6. 2015
curator: Gabriela Kotiková
Janek Rous studied at The Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in Jiří Příhoda’s Studio of Intermedia Work. His early works were recordings of interventions in his surroundings. For example, a set of photographs with the title “Useless community service” represented situations when he devoted one hour a day to useless activities – the duplication of the print of a car in the snow, shaking snow off a tree during a snowstorm, turning leaves and stones upside down when passing through a forest, ringing the doorbells of unknown people and telling them his wishes and secrets, etc. However, as a result, by performing these seemingly senseless activities regularly he questioned our common idea of spending time and values in general.
In his work called „Neue Dorflichkeit“ (New Rurality) he, together with Jan Trejbal, concentrated on the city suburbs – neglected, empty areas which had lost their meaningful history and became neither a town nor countryside. They planted aggressive ivy to decomposing walls of a former co-operative farm, they dyed dirty sewers an even darker black (non-toxic) color, they created their own tourist footpath leading to a missing monument, painted a nonfunctional street light with a phosphoric paint, etc. These acts of subtle sabotage in empty environments created a new history of the places, a story, a new myth.
In his work „Archives“ Janek Rous worked with a sculpture and an object. He applied the aesthetics of marginal, unimportant architectural elements to create objects from construction materials, concrete, glass, or cinder blocks. These objects looked like pieces of columns, like impractical “meaningless” elements of architecture, but, at the same time, elements with distinctive aesthetics.
Recently the artist has been using a combination of audio and video recordings to create a complex impression. His work “Sound of Desert” is a story which we can see and listen to, but it starts to confuse us little by little; we are not sure of its reality nor the veracity. It is almost a dream story which puzzles us. Common interpersonal conversation becomes a strange, abstract experience.
The current exhibition at the Jelení Gallery makes use of audio recordings to create a special atmosphere – we listen to the real story of a woman, which provokes a strange feeling – we cease to distinguish between reality and fiction. The exhibition indirectly comments on the contemporary way of life, on the values, on our false ideas of what is essential in life. As in his previous works he comments on rather common phenomena through this story while, at the same time, mocking them.