January 23 – February 17, 2019
opening: January 22, 2019 from 6 PM
The works of students of the Studio of Intermedia of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno
Kristýna Gajdošová, Jan Gášek, Barbora Kropáčková, Daniel Nováček, Barbora Šimková, Tereza Vinklárková, Martin Žák
The way of using the gallery presentation format, as well as some exhibited works, deal with possible alternative solutions to basic needs such as food, housing or clothing. Moreover, a series of accompanying events introduce potential guidelines for how to travel for free, how to critically address the fast fashion phenomenon, or how to create community education platforms in general. The principle of recycling as re-use of resources and as a subversive strategy is reflected both in the individual artworks and in the organizing principles of the exhibition and its material production. Therefore, in the architecture of Free Life, you might recognize parts of the exhibition design from the recent Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2018 exhibition or the Academy of Fine Arts fundus.
All of the previous exhibitions of the Studio of Inter-media Art were strictly collective projects. This time, the students present individual works. But in this project, too, the spirit of cooperation can still be found on many levels. Whether it is a community occupation of part of the gallery space, a program organised by the students throughout the duration of the exhibition, or the method of linking artworks together. The task of the curator, in this case, was to choose between the proposed themes and selected artworks.
Three-channel video installation by Daniel Nováček, The Shoplifting Problem (2018), is a documentary reconstruction of an event personally experienced by the artist. Multiple alternative versions of a single plot refer to an analogous thought experiment – the so-called Trolley Problem. A careful analysis of a seemingly banal situation may seem almost absurd; nevertheless, it confronts the viewer with their own morals, and their ways of approaching the moral dilemmas experienced by a person stealing in a grocery store.
Daniel also presents his video The Decline of the West (2018) named after a book of the same name by Oswald Spengler. Just like Goethe's Faust, the Western (Faustic) civilization also pursues unlimited knowledge and maximization of productivity, profits and experience. Just like in the case of Faust, there is also a danger of "soul loss". Exponentially deepened knowledge of the world gives us ever-growing control over the fulfilment of our goals. With the ever greater ability to eliminate an element of chance in pursuit of happiness, there is almost no unknown variable left that might affect the realization of these goals. The feeling of happiness in Western society today is realized in parallel with a deep estrangement.
The video installation Work Hard in Silence (2017) by Tereza Vinklárková (Gloriya Komarova) refers to a fictional life decision to enlist in military reserve force of the Army of the Czech Republic. Social network users, attracted by her stylized photographs, advise her in various steps of the journey towards achieving her goal. The artist affirms sexualized objects appearing in computer games that fulfill the type of "military princess" or "brave girl", and she shares the reactions of the irritated observers.
For the installation Fashion Is My Passion (2018), Kristýna Gajdošová has recycled textile advertising posters of fast fashion producing clothing chains. The posters are often thrown away and then disposed of in the same manner as the clothing that can no longer be sold. Textile material symbolically links these advertisements to the product offered. The woven object that Kristýna created then refers to the slow method of processing textile fibers. It points to one of the characteristics of a dysfunctional market system.
Grab a Dumpling (2015) is a work by Barbora Šimková. The artist transforms a Neo-Nazi T-shirt, seized as a trophy in a street skirmish between Neo-Nazis and Antifa, into a household oven mitt. The object functions as an art artifact, and simultaneously serves as a practical tool in the community kitchen. Fighting Neo-Nazism takes place both in the streets and in the kitchens – both as an emancipatory violence and care.
The vernissage performance by Barbora Kropáčková works with the expectations that a woman as an artist is subjected to on the occasions of social gatherings. On such occasions, we often push aside our daily reproductive work and become, for a moment, aloof from all the duties imposed on us by the patriarchy. What happens when we break this momentous trance and there is an unexpected collision of the incompatible roles?
The Vegina platform organized by Martin Žák is also present as an integral part of the exhibition. Founded in October 2018, it has been operating at FaVU in the form of a student club where one can grab a meal. In the gallery, it is presented as a dislocated space, filled with participating artists and visitors of the exhibition. Being part of the collective exhibition, it mainly plays the role of a hosting space for in-gallery program events.
This includes, for example, a lecture by Jan Gášek on traveling by freight trains, which aims to make this way of traveling accessible even to people with no such prior experience. The event will include sharing stories about the travel experiences, tips on where to get on the train, what wagon to choose for the ride, what should be avoided, and more practical advice.
A meeting will be held every Friday, before the event on Saturday, to discuss a collective dumpster diving, that is collecting of discarded food for further processing. This way the ingredients shall be gathered for preparing food for the community dinner of visitors and exhibiting artists. If you would like to join the mission, call Martin: 777 697 928.
The program of the Jeleni Gallery 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