Barbora Dayef: The Eye of Horus, Ltd.
February 27 – March 24, 2019
opening: February 26, 2019
curator: Gabriela Kotiková
Close your eyes
Let yourself be guided
Take a stand
You will be rewarded
The exhibition The Eye of Horus, Ltd. treats the parallel between the archetype image of the construction of Egyptian pyramids and the current mania of team building activities. These represent something between an entertaining bonding tool and a traumatic experience. It is highly unlikely that anyone participating in the two mentioned processes, would participate voluntarily. In both cases there is a requirement for mutual cooperation, effectiveness and self-denial for the benefit of the whole. Individuals are reduced to being working instruments that are manipulated according to the needs commanded from above. In their roles, the individuals conform to higher goals whether they are represented by a god, a ruler or a corporation with short-sighted goals. They are not needed on their own without the others and can easily find themselves in the position of useless, easily replaceable units.
The main performative part of the exhibition creates an allusion of Egyptian reliefs using a profile decomposition of shape, band composition and a hierarchical perspective. On the Egyptian reliefs, parts of those depicted (face, limbs, waste, buttocks) are carried out in profile, while we see the chest and shoulders from the front. The unnatural character of the given depiction reflects the unnatural character of the situations that people, partly involuntarily (to comply), get themselves into. Physical closeness and limitation of movement result in forced mutual cooperation that all participants are financially rewarded for.
Dayef plays the role of a coach determining the course of action. We know she is doing it but we don’t know what mechanisms she is using to control the participants. We are witnessing a situation where a group of individuals is forced, with no apparent reason, to collective, often illogical, behaviour. There is a process taking place in front of our eyes that is divided into several parts based on corporate strategies and the bonding of the working group – building of trust among strange people. The strategy known as the Ice Breaker is supposed to remove barriers between people who don’t know one another and it is required for them to function collectively even if they have to do things that don’t necessarily make sense to them. In the process of team building activities there is no need for your own thoughts, you just need to close your eyes and let yourself be guided and fulfill the expressed commands.
The sculpting work of the artist unfolds in several layers. Materially, in the material used. Symbolically, in the symbol of a well encumbered by mythology. The time line, in the duration and instability created by the variable human relief. Dayef pulls the viewer in a situation where through the volatile moment of a performance and classical sculpture, she refers to the role of an individual and to the motives of his/her behaviour in the social, work or power pyramid.