The Known World

Noam Darom & Conrad Armstrong

20.09. – 30.09.09

The works in this exhibition are the products of personal exploration of our accumulated experience and information. They deal with memory, prediction, and received knowledge, and are therefore representations of what we (claim) to “know” about the world. By creating and presenting our work in tandem, we aim to create a dialogue between our respective “bodies of knowledge“, and through that combination create a new reality; a previously unknown world from two “known worlds“.

As artists and classmates working together, we thought it fitting to ask our professors (Jiří David and Milan Salák) to write a text to accompany the exhibition, which ultimately took the form of a dialogue between the two on Skype. An excerpt of the conversation follows. The full text can be found in the gallery.

MS When you find someone funny and likeable, you are more open to finding their work interesting. Besides, neither the “better ones” nor the “worse ones” deliver the same level of performance all the time.

JD Indeed, when you get to know somebody personally, you become less critical of their work (although that’s not true in your case). Maybe artists shouldn’t have so much contact with each other, but what would be the point of everything then? To rot in a museum, or at your grandchildren’s place, who would very likely pawn your work in 150 years anyway (in the best case scenario). Art is now and “now” is the maximum we can get. And the boys, both of them, are starting to understand that.

MS …on the contrary, any form of mutual contact between artists and other affiliated people is fundamental for moving forward.

JD I am happy to hear you say that, but it can be “touch-free”, can’t it? What I am saying is that we know about each other, but we do not need to interlace, I mean we need to, but respectfully…touch-free.

MS ….“to know about each other” is a form of contact, but only one of many – and it is not always sufficient…but let us not talk only about relational issues!

MS …that is precisely the incoherence in relationships. Those who interact intensely are less aware of the extent to which they influence each other…and they create, with ease, a “new style”. But Noam is eclectic on many levels in his production….and Conrad too…and me too…and you too!…we face again the ancient conflict between the intelligibility of the language and authenticity of the message.

JD You know what? I have my own opinion on the Czech approach to eclecticism. I talked about that with Jirka Přibáň, the philosopher (you know that!), and he always laughs – he has been living abroad for some time now, as opposed to us – and says “It’s not eclecticism, it is a crucial selection (a filtering); a sign of intelligence.”

MS I agree, but our ability to “read” art is partly formed by our ability to search for and find allusions, references, and correlations…and to draw conclusions…to what extent is it important to use them?…It is important for us, and potentially for others as well.

JD O.K., agreed, but as far as the notion of authenticity is concerned: authenticity in art is not the same as “experienced reality” and at the same time reality is not necessarily an authentic experience.