The Last Atlantean
18.01. – 12.02.12
Radim Langer’s exhibition entitled The Last Atlantean contemplates negation and decay and their relation to artistic work. Matter disintegrates and the same applies to art. Surface of any painting is devastated by chemical reactions, the author’s original intention gets destroyed.
In his lectures, Boris Groys understands destruction and negation as essential avant-garde strategies and opposes them with processes of current political art, which is – in principle – constructive. Contemporary works are critical, they judge current cultural, economic and political system very severely and wake their audience from an ideological sleep with a utopian promise. It is, however, always mimetic as it reproduces what it attacks. At the same time it creates alternative space-time continuums where life is more meaningful. Prerevolutionary Russian avant-garde, in comparison, did not call upon the audience to participate and did not strive for critiques, as defined by Groys. They were well aware that a radical social transformation is not a moment of constructing the new (this moment only comes after revolution), but an effort to achieve radical decomposition of the existing. By searching for its formal point zero, it demonstrated its readiness to leave the past behind and open up to a new better life.
Analogy between our times with the prerevolutionary epoch at that time is not exaggerated at all. Today, we also face the question how to approach the decline of social and economic structures we were used to. Should we start saving a sinking wreck, so that there is the least damage possible? Or should we dispatch their decay, accept radical alienation of our own identity and start again and in quite a different way, from zero? Radim Langer stages decay, he is its attentive witness and observer. He thematises (but at the same time aesthetises) decay of painting, garbage, deformation. He contemplates where corrosion is heading. Does the point zero actually exist, is it not just a myth? Destruction is construction at the same time, the decay itself becomes a new object, an artefact. Where does such an object belong?
Text by Tereza Stejskalová