Jonáš Richter: Happiness Is Not for Everyone
27. 8. – 19. 9. 2021
opening: 26. 8. 2021 from 6PM
architect: Kateřina Kulanová
curator: Sláva Sobotovičová
Jonáš Richter has been working long term in the schism point of human speech: he uses the tension between the content of words and emotion of speech from independent words. He searches for conflicts in the linear narrative with the continuity of impression, in critical analysis with being carried away by feelings, in language structure with the weight of a voice. His media is a recording. He begins with his interest in text, but starts to operate in the moment when the text collapses: the addressee stops to “pay attention”, nevertheless continues to listen. In this moment it is fundamental who is speaking and how they “became themselves”.
The exhibition Happiness Is Not for Everyone, offers a view of the phenomenon of self-help instructions, which resuscitates the myth about the strong male individual who has a firm grasp on his life.
Once we clearly focus, we see an awkward lonely man. We can guess from the engineering of the situation (asynchronization and denial of the image and sound sources, and the speaker’s reluctant yet wilful diction) that it is a game with authenticity and that we are witnessing the demonstration of a role, the fulfilment of a task and the putting of oneself into a state of overconfidence.
The speaker maintains syntax, argues, and intonates correctly. But are these his words? Whose truth are we actually hearing? The alienation escalates in moments, when meditative sounding ambient tracks start to appear behind the spoken word. It is as if we suddenly overfocused. We can then read the snapshot from the perspective of an abstract symbol in a (political) field, a figure in relation to its background. “The world” that the speaker is trying to come to terms with, evokes realistic sounds of nature or the suburbs. After it is all smudged, the words and image emancipate from its source and implode. The only thing that remains are spots, the homily about a fight sounds hollow, and the protagonist levitates above himself like a raised finger. The man game appears to be darker than in the beginning, the field is unorganized, the race is for speed and following foreign rules. “To begin with oneself” suddenly sounds comical, because to “end with oneself” is awkwardly near.
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