I am creative, I know how to make holes, I can manage basic graphics, I don't have a driver's licence, I actively use the English language
30. 7. – 23. 8. 2020
opening: 29. 7. 2020 from 6PM
artists: Barbora Dayef, Viktor Dedek, Linda Hauerová, Kristina Fingerland, Kristina Hrevušová, Kryštof Kučera, Denisa Langrová, Karolína Liberová, Jana Mikle, Tania Nikulina, Nicolas Prokop, Ruta Putramentaite, David Střeleček, Martin Zet
prepared by: Dominik Lang, Jonáš Richter and Eva Koťátková
You are sitting under the shadow of a tree near Prague in a community garden that you helped to start up in the spring. You are harvesting the last tomatoes, while you are getting ready to pull out the carrots and parsnips. You can’t really make a living doing this and that is why you do occasional weekend retreats for corporate employees. You stopped going to art openings and you don’t miss them. You stopped searching for job offers. When you stop meeting people, the fact that you don’t have work becomes a little easier to ignore.
You feel disoriented. You’re scared. You’re not sure if this is more of a feeling of freedom or searching. You are always on the go and on the lookout.
You have accepted an offer to make a bust. Your circumstances, however, are forcing you to reject the offer. They don’t know it yet, and they are counting on you. You don’t know how to tell them. Calm down, everything has a solution. Maybe the worst thing is to accept something just so you don’t have to reject it. You are trying to find asphalt icebergs, but they are extremely heavy. Your friends who would be strong enough to carry them are at work during the day, and you don’t know who to ask for help. You have decided to put all your energy into a discussion about the issue of memorials in public space with the submitter, although it will be unpleasant. In his eyes, you are only a young girl who just got out of school.
It is unlikely that you will make a living doing art; you would have to put a lot more energy into it. Your goal is to create the simplest possible art work – that would feel like a gentle gust of breeze blowing on your face. It will likely seem that what you are doing is basically not an art project. You are imagining that you will create a special sauna and place your sculptures in it. You will consider that to be an art piece, but others will say that you only built a sauna.
You could try to do your Master’s Degree in something that would at least provide you with some potential to get a job. You’ve heard that there is a good Master’s program at Charles’ University called Social and Cultural Ecology. It is a combined program – cultural sociology, basic ecology, environmental economics and law…. and they are accepting students with a degree in art! However, you would first need to improve your Czech language and study for the exams. But you need money now! So, for now you will take the waitressing job, and art will have to wait.
You are imagining how you will buy a second-hand ceramic kiln. You will fire bowls and vases in it. You are trying to do freelance work few days a week for a firm that prints covers for artificial limbs. You are designing what the customers want to see. You stop differentiating between weekdays and weekends: sometimes your Sunday turns into a Wednesday. You keep running off to check on your kiln. You finally have time to visit your grandparents and help them collect walnuts. Once in a while, you sell a bowl or a plate.
You are hypersensitive. While the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design intensified this characteristic, at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences you would be forced to suppress it. You create only when you feel excessive pressure in your head. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to get it out. You feel like a nutcase; sometimes you come up with ideas that are inconceivable for others. Sometimes you go to an art opening, but you don’t know what to say to the people there. You are actually glad that you are not part of the scene. You are trying to save up: when you get old, you would like to have a farm for rescued animals. You would also like to have a barn with a public cinema.
You are going to help disassemble an exhibition; you would rather not name the artist. He is completely pale and the gallerist is practically pulling his hair out. He keeps walking from storage room to storage room, moving things around and cursing. You figure that they had an agreement to sell the artwork, which fell through and nothing will sell now. The entire exhibition – worthless. Artwork in storage – worthless. What did not sell now, will not sell later. You are being told to take the paintings down, but not package them – just stack them in the courtyard. You are supposed to patch up the walls though. While you are sanding the holes filled with putty, you are pondering what this space will be used for now. Just the walls, and then you can go home.
You will likely end up doing something that will seem pointless to you, but you will need the money. You will curse yourself for not having more zeal. You will not be known well enough yet to be able to work for a good gallery, or somewhere else that would make it at least a little more sensible for you. You will be proud that you have not purchased any new clothes for a year and a half. It will be due to the fact that you can’t afford it, but you will finally fulfill your resolution. You will work in a gallery helping with the construction of exhibitions. You will not be in a position to express your view on the program. The only form of expressing your opinion, will be to quit this job. Then you will get a job offer that will at first appear to be good, but then you will find out the company is owned by someone that you don’t agree with. You will not accept the job, because you don’t want to start hating yourself, and you don’t want others to stop liking you. For a long time, you will continue to question the fact how you could have accepted the job, while keeping it a secret from others.
You have less freedom than before, but more than you will ever have again. You need to move forward, but you are aware that you cannot go on like this. You decide to do something daring: you simulate your death so that you can throw away your body and get rid of everything human. Then, you move to a small town and start working on a lifelong project: a theme park or a garden of paradise – a community centre that will remain open after your death and at the same time will be your place of rest. In the meantime, you will work on your secret identity and the appearance of a synthetic angel, and you will gradually, completely lose your resemblance. Then, you will gradually start to go out into society again.
The pace and rhythm of your body has changed and you no longer have as much time to be yourself. You are doing one thing, while you are already thinking about another. When you are eating breakfast, you are thinking about having to get dressed to catch the tram and arrive at work on time. You force your body to get up in the morning and to go to sleep at night; in the past, your body told you when it was tired. You are managing to do a lot more tasks; you are more decisive and faster, but everything has become kind of flat. You are unable to concentrate like you did in the past. You miss having the time to be yourself. Your body is not built to be constantly productive.
The whole world has suddenly come to a halt. The noise of the busy morning street, people rushing to get to work, the emission from rush-hour traffic – all of that has disappeared for a moment. Even the constantly repetitive anxious thought: you can’t be late, you can’t be late, you can’t be late, has disappeared. A new horizon has opened up in front of your eyes, a different perspective, a new angle on the world. This new angle revealed itself very literally – it was a flat, cold and hard asphalt surface. You feel as if you grew up again from its surface, and rose from the underground into reality. In a moment, you remember that your head is connected to the body that is lying beside your twisted bike on the intersection of a tram track. Everything lasts only a few seconds. You hear several voices that are asking you if you are ok. Passers-by are picking you up and guiding you to the sidewalk. As you are leaving you see a large amount of still energy on the street. People, cars, even the tram that was driving right behind you, was able to stop immediately. Your body will need several days to recover from the number of bruises on your legs and tense shoulder muscles, but what about your head? Your muscles still hurt from time to time to make sure that you will not forget about that morning. Even several months after the accident, your shoulder is still sending out signals.
So? How do you feel now? Have your expectations changed? Do you know what you want yet?
(Extracts from the diary of a group artist one year after finishing school. The extracts are a collection of reflections, hypothetical scripts and imaginations about what an artist will experience after graduating from art school. The possible futurities and status updates are presented in a suggestive tone, in the second person, inviting the viewer/reader to enter these various scripts and let him/herself be led by them.)
(transl. Vanda Krutsky)
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, GESTOR – The Union for the Protection of Authorship
Partners: Kostka stav
Media support: ArtMap, jlbjlt.net, UMA: You Make Art