04.11. – 29.11.15
Exhibiting artists / Pavel Příkaský, Tomáš Predka, Eva Červená, Karolína Klimešová, Zuzana Kantová, Eva Vlčková Štýbrová
“Do you like the work of Petr Krátký?”
“Absolutely. I really like his Roadway (Silnice), a large-format static shot of a roadway.
But come on, that’s your monumentality speaking again. Don’t worry – you’ll surely one day do the largest of photos.”
To be honest, I don’t quite know what it is I like about the work of Petr Krátký. Likely, certain assurances in his thinking have something to do with it; the insinuation of a heavily critical take on contemporary artistic production. The use of pictures as building material, like depleted blocks whose original significance ceases to play any role whatsoever, stands everything that is the lifeblood of the artistic world on edge. A walk through the galleries in Chelsea gives a feeling similar to the one evoked by Petr’s work. You go from door to door, from one display case to another; everything runs together and, rather strangely, breaks up any idealistic faith in the power of art as we had once dreamily defined it. Whether you’re an artist, a curator, or the lady at the cash desk in a museum institution, the market processes that redefine our work bring about an apotheosis of the artifact high above its conceivable content. And behold! The work of a radically political, critical leftist artist suddenly begins to assume a visually tantalizing caisson, into which it is possible to peek, but not indispensably so. It shall remain the mere naivety of some artists who claim the opposite. The more sober among them are adept at applying virtuosity to play with the peculiar state of our life space, and, at times, their collectors have no inkling of what it is they’ve actually hung on the wall. I assume that all of this is what stands behind Petr’s work, behind his effort to defocus artistic identity as if it were cut out of a funny television program (I should hope that such a program exists) – change places with our chef, fun. Petr puts himself in the shoes of other artists. In the end, it is the rhetoric of the ability to compare oneself with another’s work that opens questions in the style of the master school of the post-internet age. Each morning, we peruse Contemporary Art Daily, newsletters from e-flux, and we know how art is done today, the integration of foreign practices into our own work can then take place on both the conscious and unconscious planes. Then, it is only a matter of playing the guessing game “Whence the wind blows” (Odkud vítr vane).
Once, in 2009, Petr did indeed make a gesture with the paintings and bricks of an exhibition structure. This time, he is shifting it to the position of personal creative references. In so doing, both of the aforesaid are linked together for us. We shall leave aside the question of whether or not this is a sufficiently powerful statement after a six-year reprieve, or merely a remake of the original project. The production of exhibitions and reactions to the individual open-calls of all manner of gallery, residence stay, and competition moves at such a speed that we often only send the first thing that we happen to have in mind, and then there is no time to go back and reevaluate it once you realize that you’ve won this. Thankfully, a few years ago, e-flux published the book Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art, which outlines those things that today are several leagues down the road. Reading such texts is a bit frightening, but at the same time it doesn’t allow us to stop and reevaluate where it is we are headed. Perhaps, then, it is good that Petr is returning to the original project and shifting it only minimally.
But from the position of a curator who is not overseeing Petr’s exhibition and is merely contributing commentary, I shall leave explanation of the project to his own working interpretation:
From: Petr Krátký <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3 Sept. 2015 15:02:29
Subject: Re: Exhibition at Entrance
Hi, the date of the exhibition is coming up soon, so I’ve decided to commence our communication about the project and its technical details.
The interim name is Inversion (a variation could be Polyptych or a combination of the two) – I’m open to possible discussion on the topic 🙂
In some ways, the installation represents a continuation of my previous project for Galerie Klatovy Klenová in 2009. Here’s the link: http://kratkypetr.cz/petr-kratky-a-jan-zdvorak/
It is a monumental conception of gallery space by means of an installation comprising pictures. As it was in Klatovy, I intend to use the canvases of other authors as building elements to achieve my purpose. In 2009, Jan Zdvořák and I needed to fill the entire nave of a Baroque church, so the choice of paintings was in no way directed thematically or with consideration for authorship, which was, in consequence, the intention – to have all of the works in the installation joined solely through the same medium. In so doing, attention was detracted from individuality and focused on the whole.
I intend to use pictures of varying formats to construct a wall to run in parallel with the longer side of the gallery. Taking into consideration the fact that the entrances to the gallery space are located precisely here, the wall will be set back in the space as well as forward in order to walk around it and, thus, view the mosaic from both sides. The composition will feature four vertical rectangular openings (perhaps more depending on the actual length of the space) measuring 200×100 cm (perhaps larger depending on the actual length and height of the space). The openings will be inversely delineated by the wall comprised of pictures.
In this installation, the fundamental principle of exhibiting pictures as units on a white wall is inverted. The polyptych of my blind pictures is delineated through a colorful, solidly anchored clutter of paintings. The background becomes the foreground and vice versa.
This time, however, the choice of authors will not be random. The word inversion is key not only in a formal sense. These are the works of authors who have accompanied me from the earliest beginnings of my professional career and whom, both consciously and unconsciously, I have defined and continue to define myself against.
Eva Vlčková (Štýbrová)
We all went to secondary school together and later university and still see one another.
Thus, the exhibition will again balance somewhere between an author presentation, group exhibition, and a curator project. I have long worked deliberately with this hybrid format.
The composition and pictures used are only illustrative.
On 16 Sept. 2015 11:46 Petr Krátký <email@example.com> wrote:
Hi, I too have had experience with important messages ending up in spam 🙂
The issue with the lights occurred to me too later on. That’s why I’ve subjected the entire orientation of the wall to consideration and have decided to change it. It will involve a good deal of work one way or the other, so I think that if we’re able to use the lights as they are now, it’ll be for the better.
I would position the wall in a diagonal fashion, which will better transform the overall space of the gallery and will also work better with the observer (as illustrated in the attached sketch). I would purchase four-meter-long roofing battens at Hornbach and use them to make a self-supporting construction upon which the pictures can be affixed. According to preliminary calculations, this will require approximately 30 battens.
Do you have a cordless drill and a jigsaw?
What is the budget for the exhibition?
The battens will cost about 1,200 CZK plus some screws and metal joiners. I estimate the materials to come to roughly 2,000 CZK.
The diagonal wall will measure 19.5 meters, so there will be approximately 2 meters on each end to allow observers to walk around to the other side. The front side will face the main wall, so it will be illuminated from the lighting bar where the lights are now. I like the fact that the observer will not see right off the bat what it is about and will have to move throughout the gallery and go all the way around the installation in order to discover it.
I originally wrote of four windows in the installation; I now know that there will six measuring 1.5 x 2 meters, whereas the spaces between them will be of uniform size. We’ll see on site during assembly, however, whether we end up opting for some form of compromise.
As far as the press release is concerned, I had assumed that the gallery now always assigns an external curator to the exhibition to at least write a contemplative piece on it, but it’s no problem to acquire such a text elsewhere. I can write it myself, however, I prefer when the text isn’t merely the author’s explanation but offers a different take on the matter. For that reason I will ask someone from the ranks of ideologues. I would like to remunerate the author of this text with at least 500 CZK.
I will send the photograph for the invitation by the agreed date of 15 Oct. 2015
Over the weekend, I will meet with the aforementioned authors, and then we can make arrangements for the transport of the items. It shouldn’t be a problem to plan it all for one day; the only thing is that Eva Štýbrová-Vlčková is probably already in Pilsner, so there would have to be a trip out of Prague, but I’ll look into everything. If necessary, I can arrange this transport myself.
I will surely send my CV and I also have a brief bio, which may not be entirely up-to-date anymore, so for that reason I’d prefer to use only the CV plus the text by an external ideologue, which can include a short introduction of me.
Text by Jen Kratochvil