“White chalk hills are all I’ve known White chalk hills will rot my bones White chalk sticking to my shoes White chalk playing as a child with you”
— PJ Harvey
The narrowest part of the English Channel, a mere 35 kilometers from the French port of Calais, is where you find one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent symbols – the White Cliffs of Dover. The pale bright rocks are the first and the last thing one sees when entering or leaving the island. They form an inseparable part of British history and identity, a protective barrier from the outside world as well as a connection to it.
The chalk cliffs are the topic of the “BONES AND NEIGHBORS” exhibition by Czech artist Miroslava Večeřová. She chose them not only based on personal experience of having permanently moved to London, but also as a continuation of her long-term interest in investigating the relations between countryside, human body and material.
Večeřová is a stranger in the UK and the cliffs carry no connotations of sentiment or patriotism to her. She does not focus on their representative value but rather takes interest in their very essence, the material. It is chalk – a soft, porous rock that originated some 70 million years ago from calcite shells of Mesozoic marine micro-organisms.
Večeřová perceives chalk through her whole body and uses this sensory perception to develop a chain of imaginative processes and associations which provide space for new situations and relationships. Chalk is a tool of intercommunication, a map of an internal landscape composed of rhythmic edits made by one’s own imagination. This is further encouraged by the author’s playful interventions and manipulations which accentuate the rock’s dynamic character.