Jana Švecová: Shoes Like Boats
20. 5. – 11. 6. 2023
opening: 19. 5. 2023 from 6 pm
curator: Gabriela Kotiková
The opening event is a part of the Máme otevřeno festival
Leaning on the back side of reality. Leaning on the air as if it were solid ground. Putting on boots like boats. Boots that I could swim in, dip my toes in the waves and be my own captain. Tune in to the wave that is crashing in my mind. Find its image and leave it behind. Find another wave. Then a third. A fourth...
GK: Jana, I'm very interested in the way you work, what catches your attention... Could you describe how your works originate and what led you to recently combine your art work with acrobatics, for example?
Most of the time I get my ideas from what is happening around me. I spent the last eight months on a circus internship in Canada. I was drawn to the new circus by the performance of multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, who recited the story of pilot Amelia Earhart in the Brno Philharmonic accompanied by an orchestra. I transcribed one part of her performance on my ticket.
Free in the air
The weight of the earth disappears
She watched the sky and knew she wanted to fly
She always wanted to fly
The desire to visit the place from the story led me to aerial acrobatics. I call it "inhabiting the space between heaven and earth".
GK: Your works are quite often accompanied either by your own text or you refer to specific literary works, such as Patti Smith's texts. Is the text sometimes the first inspiration you draw from?
Sometimes, yes. I'm probably most interested in movement and the possibilities of telling a story through it. Even without words. Physical movement or even just the invisible type of movement like daydreaming, traveling between thoughts and ideas (I spend a lot of time doing that). I also see writing as a kind of movement where you create new space between the blank pages. Sometimes you get lost, stop, come back. You look for ways to make the invisible materialize so that someone else can walk through it.
GK: In the exhibition, you work with the particular traces that objects or activities leave behind...
I often watch the shadows that run around my room before I go to sleep, and sometimes I film them. What I like most about it, is that it's kind of like an aerialist circle. Inventing variations of movements in limited space, thus creating a certain narrative.
GK: During your stay in Canada you also collected animal tracks...
I thought of that when the snow was frozen. I used animal footprints as molds. I pressed dough into them. I would carefully remove it, and then bake it in the oven in the kitchen at the hostel so I'd have a memory. I have deer tracks, coyote tracks and wild goose tracks.
GK: Could you also say something about the title of the exhibition?
The name Boots Like Boats refers to Pippi Longstocking. The heroine of my childhood who wore huge "boots like boats". When I was a kid, I was very intrigued by that phrase. I imagined people swimming in those boots, and dipping their toes in the waves... I thought a person could do anything in those boots and, just like Pipi, do anything that comes to one’s mind. I made boots like those from an old worn-out pair of ancle boots. I call them "Boots for wild horse searching" (apparently there are no more real wild horses left in the world, only "re-wilded" ones).
Jana Švecová graduated in 2016 from the painting studio of Vasil Artamonov at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno. Currently she is doing her doctoral studies with Filip Cenek
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 partners: ArtMap, artalk.cz and jlbjlt.net