Martin Netočný: Shamans Sacrificed Camels

July 19 – August 25, 2019
opening: July 18, 2019 from 6 PM

curator: Tomáš Hrůza

The title of Martin Netočný’s (*1995) exhibition refers to the event that took place at the beginning of this year and that circled through western media. It was an act of slaughtering and burning camels by Siberian medicine men in the name of a “greater Russia”. It is a barbaric act from our point of view, but from the view of human history it is a traditional ritual used by various civilizations to make sacrifices to Gods with the objective to secure a flourishing society. The questionable fact here, however, is to whom were the camels sacrificed. Stalin disposed of all shamans with an elaborate purge, however, the breakup of the Soviet Union made the rebirth of shamanistic activities subsequently possible. This “Eastern New Age” now collaborates with the spirit of Putin’s current regime. Does this mean that shamans and their rituals are tributary to this era?

In his exhibition, Netočný does not give us the key to understanding. He travels and records; his language is documentary; he is not intrusive. He plays with icons, stereotypes and humour. His photographs feel the terrain and note the socio-cultural chaos with an overview. Various landscapes and countries mutually penetrate just as discreetly in his photos. The artist, originally from Ostrava, also stands on the borderline of the East and the West and he applies this perspective in his work. What welds his exhibition with the shamans is the creation of his own order and handing over the vision of the relationship of the world with man.

Just like shamans had to go through a transformation ritual in order to become shamans, he also experienced a fundamental journey. The demanding ritual of transformation made it possible for the shamans to become experts in the human soul, which they can see and they know its “shape” and fate. Netočný sees his installation and the relative connections in his photographs in a similar way and lets us penetrate into our own reflections about the way we perceive the world east of us. Therefore, we are not supposed to leave the exhibition with an answer, but rather with a question of how we can give a higher order to the human world, which evidently does not have it, but seriously needs it.

Tomáš Hrůza
(transl. Vanda Krutsky)


The program of the Jeleni Gallery is possible through kind support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech RepublicPrague City CouncilState Fund of Culture of the Czech RepublicCity District Prague 7
Partners: Kostka stav
Media support: ArtMap, jlbjlt.net and UMA: You Make Art

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