Ondřej Homola : Smuggler
9. 12. – 7. 1. 2016  
opening: 8. 12. 2015

curated by: Michaela Banzetová


It’s a dark night. The sea is rough. On the stern of the boat a lamp is swinging and its flame could be blown out any second by the roaring wind. Finally the boat hits the shore. Strong arms lift up a heavy case, throwing it over the wooden edge of the boat and letting it fall into the sand. The lid is nailed on fast so the valuable shipment would not spill into the water. Another pair of hands holding a crowbar is loosening the lid. The moon breaks through the dark clouds and it is in its full phase (of course). It throws a dramatic light on the night scene. All the participants hold their breath and bend over the case to get a good view of its contents. Yes, it was worth the risk!

From novels and adventure movies we have retained the image of smugglers as strange individuals who transport illegal shipments at night across the rough ocean waters. Their danger is compensated by the vision of a great reward. The romantic image of black pirates from the Mediterranean has been now altered by images of refugees seen daily in the news. In the safety of our own homes we watch the lives of unknown people on our gleaming TV screens. These are parallel realities taking place at the same time, at the same moment, only in different places. Modern smugglers are transporting for us commonly accessible foodstuffs like lunchmeat, while we are consuming these at home.

Similarly, the videos presented in this exhibition inform about the same issue in a dual way – it is a game, a story about a hidden mystery and its discovery, or a fight for bare lives and the attempt to attain something that is considered to be commonplace in the affluent western world. Would you like some cigarettes, perfume, tobacco, alcohol, pate, a Mars bar, or other addictive substances? The collages exhibited consist of parts pulled out from different images, and then they are merged into visually pleasant compositions, safely locked up behind glass. This is similar to the images from TV news and YouTube on our monitors. The redistribution of power between the restless east and orderly west, between the online world and the memory of mankind is connected by the bond of the mutual need of two alternate sides.

Ondřej Homola (1984) completed his studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno this year. He went through several studios with different majors – from graphic design, through multimedia, to painting. Collages of video sequences, paintings, working different media and techniques are typical traits of his work. Despite the relatively short time that he has been active in his artistic production, he has done a number of exhibitions and his works are represented in several galleries as well as private collections.

Just like most international artists of his generation, Homola finds his topics on the Internet. This endless source of information thanks to which we can all know everything but actually no one nothing, creates the feeling of a life lived that is not ours. Unfortunately and thank God! Everything depends on the narrator of the story and the point of view. The one that is being displayed in this exhibition is aesthetic and pleasant during the time spent in the gallery and with the art. At the same time, it secretly slips us certain uneasiness, which we end up taking home with us without being fully aware of it. We retain something, although it is only like a disturbing feeling, which can be unexpectedly evoked by seeing a flacon of perfume. Who actually smuggled what and where?

Michaela Banzetová


Jeleni Gallery exhibition program is possible through kind support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Prague City Council
Media support: Artycok.tvArtMap and jlbjlt.net

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