Karolína Liberová: Please Do Not Come in We Are Temporarily Close(d)
23. 6. – 16. 7. 2023
opening: 22. 6. from 6 pm
curator: Filip Jakab
Perhaps, you shouldn’t have come. Well, yeah. It’s Dark mode ON. Yo, you might hear it whispered from dorky corners of today’s life. Please Do Not Come in We are Temporarily Close(d). So you’re in now?... Are we close enough? It isn’t a movie set, but it could be. It could be also a leftover of some site-specific soap-opera setting, a cluster of the twisted characters reborn between May and June, '23: a deconstructed seat, something like a chair, a multi-armed stand, a side-lying rocking-horse, a standing TV screen… well, the thing is, something is truly going on. Something has happened here, in this deadly heat. “Did something awful happen?”, you asked… We let ourselves in and we embarked on our version of beautifying…”You say you're a winter bitch, but summer's in your blood, you can't help but become the sun.”(1) There are objects arranged in the space the way they were when it happened. “Who or what made them the way they are? Why are they, the way they are?”, you asked again…
I'm a daunting observer. I write to color some of the social affairs in which people happen to find themselves afloat, like when they fly from one person to another, or noticing how some people cope when they feel stuck in a shitty chat or when they sweat and a room stinks with dampness or when they feel embarrassed or when people fake stuff and they fail to lie because they are unable to do so… We've empathized but we evolved, we got close(d). Now we found out that these objects are semi-chopped apart, transgressed, and post-something. Body and mind buzz within viscerally transactional relations, in the games we play these days. Those twisted characters, those bulimic objects, perky enough, some expose their bare, shiny bones to the outside world. Perhaps because their naked structures poke a farce outward, exhilarating to the world at large. “Do they have to starve for their beauty”? you asked me. … How should I know?
When I enter the exhibition space, the first thing I’m interested in is looking for a drink. Pure and gorgeous. A drink is a starter. A toaster. A social fuckie-fuck… Do you experience the same? Heedlessly, I chug my first cup of red wine and go mingle. I don’t even know how it tastes. I look around at who drinks as eagerly as me. No one dares. You pussies, I think for myself eyeing someone’s terrible choice of shoes. My face ruptures. I ditch the plastic cup on the table and swirl in the space as if I matter. And then, I saw you and you, and you as well, laying down your unsavory judgmental sight on those objects. It’s OK. You’re looking at it on your own now. You can tell that something is happening in front of you — facing it, looking, judging, hearing, smelling, yawning, gasping for meaning. Did something awful happen? Something horrendous might have happened here, yes. Did you expect it? What did happen here, between the space’s core and its outlines and us? What’s going on? you ask yourself again, in front of the site-specific installation, amidst the role-play of the objects and their porous textures.
Activation sounds like this:
“Where’s my Wendie Demmm thingie?”
“Holesssszzz, ding ding dong”, ghostly figures screamed.
I see those objects as if they'd stripped down to their bones and re-entered their former eating disorder pre-states. Yeah, yeah — the way us, the exhilarating world at large, markets it — minimum effort, maximum apathy. Those two bony lap dancers, or are they butterflies now? No, they fill in as multiples for tonight. The cast of frisky characters. F*lover them with your reflections. I hope you feel more welcome now. So to speak, I’m not drunk at all or not yet and I talk to a chair and it glances at the naked parts of the metal stand. Metal stand carriers some glasses with the water and I take one to rehydrate. It pleases me that it provides me with a crystalline water supply. Those details, those metal tubes — upholstered, uncovered, lubed, smoothed around their rusty parts, now refreshed and oiled up around. And yet, some of them “lied on the floor pretending they were dead, them, completely flat”(2). Those objects proxy what we think we've already known about them. But what if their initial parts are emitted and despite that, they continue their life further? Like with amputated limbs, and it happens in their farewell, that it self-erases its former character via some softening: it fashions some glittery beaded top, or satin rugs, or empty sleeves dangling down along its metal rods. You and you smile to the rest of the crowd not knowing what to think. You’re jittery and you nod. That’s OK. That’s how the exhilarating world at large breathes these days anyway.
A brown pony lays sideways, headshot down as if licking the floor’s surface or positioned for some foreplay with the undetectable mood, perhaps widening for something—he might have also screamed in extreme stupefying agony as if it were alive. But it’s not. The brown pony appears to be sealed or protected in a layer of transparent plastic. I almost feel like it’s vacuumed in there. And I wish it was. It reminds me of a scene in which Patrick Bateman, an investment banking executive slash lunatic psycho-killer from American Psycho (2000) opens an average New York Upper East Side fridge. In there, we see a chopped & iced female head wrapped in a transparent plastic foil next to an ice cream sorbet that Patrick offers to his date and a personal secretary in one, Jean. Also, Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman and Jean is played by Chloë Sevigny whose blonde hair with a fringe is incredibly shiny. I wonder why but it seems purposeless now. Let's focus on the protective & suffocating effects of plastic. As much as it may drain the life out of anything that it seals within, it may also protect, at least for a certain time what's inside it (hence an unknown head inside Patrick's Upper East Side fridge). According to a 2022 report from the American Chemical Society, the average duration of plastic degradation is estimated between 20 to 500 years to decompose, of course, depending on several local factors. We eat or breathe plastic fibers, unwillingly, fishes too, we eat fishes, life eats life. We plasticize anything, nearly every spot on this planet. The point is, that the happy-agonized pony wrapped in plastic might be you and you, and yes, you also, and me and you, us. Covered or uncovered. Definitely, not recovered. Because behind the world's times clock, we might appear sometimes facedown, self-protected, like that semi-sealed pony, pointing to the ditch for the fear of being read, for the fear of being told what’s wrong with us even if we don’t want to hear it, to confront it or make any sense out of it. On the contrary, to show vulnerability means to perhaps hoover fear out of life and replace it with respect, in instances applicable for each day, in one’s acceptance of potential failure and fall.
See those objects, those layers. One layer misfits the other layer, misfits the skin, misfits their personalities, misfit psychology pretending to be something that it's not. It’s a role-play of feelings and characters. See, when something awful happens, externally implicated, a fear shatters our integral organs upside down, though, on the outside, some of the faces remain faked that all is great. — “Makeup made a girl look so desperate, I thought. People were so dishonest with their clothes and personalities.”(3) Her body, her business. A self-made existential manual? A doubt notes of thirty-something? How can you hide from yourself? Through a hole in the paper? “Holessss”, they hiss to the ether. “...I can't hide from you like I hide from myself, I remember who I am when I'm with you, Your love is tough, your love is tried and true blue…”(4)
Yes, there are words in parallel to the objects. The surface of these words sounds almost greasy like they would lube through the screen and leak into our ear tunnel. Can you dissociate? There are compositions of freeloading words and riddles to absorb you and you, and us. Words word-dump in rhymes, in punchlines for the life rimming on the outskirts of the one, we dream to come true but dwindle to find. We’re told if words travel and exchange between people they become language. Language glimmers like ambiguous steel. Words may burn like boiling matter and can damage once they cool down. Though they might also soften, function as a cover, or cushion some squishy foams. Yellow foams. So precious when they age. They remember the truth. Bullshit is what you thought you knew, they add. It’s all different now. Time cuts through the layers of the yellow foams. They memorize the truth. Believe them. Words fly out like bees out of their nest and cover bony structures. The installation collides in the center of the space, it un-fakes, and it seeks the way outside. The chair pokes at another one. Another one pokes to a stand. They hole each other. Penetrate their surfaces like a soft-core version of a chainsaw massacre. A chopper. A gutter. A spacial cut-out. A butcher of drained emotions. Did someone say Ally McBeal? Damn, what happened now is that no one says anything anymore. It's dead silent. Perhaps, let the install speak: “I might rip you off. I skin your feelings off. I’m arty nnn-not. Everyone dares to stare at me and yet, I desire to stare at no one. No one is their name. Un-name it so it won’t evaporate. I repulse… I convulse. I'm the falling chair and I stare to nowhere, into limits where the space starts to feel erased. Erased space is putrid. I have no other choice but to remain somewhere in the world, like that plastic, for who knows 20 or 500 years. Believe me, I generally try to see myself in a better light than anyone else around me and therefore, I’m switching from the dark mode ON to a low-power cut.
(1) boygenius, True Blue, the record – Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, 2023.
(2) Karolína Liberová, Please Do Not Come in We Are Temporarily Close(d), 2023.
(3) Ottessa Moshfegh, Bettering Myself z Homesick for Another World, 2018, s. 9.
(4) boygenius, ibidem.
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