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'Wingless Bird With Hands' by Jiří Pitrmuc at Jeleni Gallery, Prague

The potential of slapstick comedy has always consisted of the carefree innocence
possessed by its actors in revealing the cruel irony of human life. As if our being did not weigh anything, and we could blow it away at any time like a piece of feather. The joy with which an actor in a silent film spreads eagle on a banana peel, does not evoke even an ounce of “Schadenfreude”, on the contrary, we see the actor as a hero whom we envy for his loss of seriousness in life situations. It is for a reason that the word “serious” continuously reminds us of the burden important things cause in our lives. A comedian in a classical silent film passes through an endless series of events, every one of which would represent a serious accident or life event in our “realistic” world, with the lightness of a stumbling prima ballerina. These figures are the heroes of our momentary liberation from the cruelty of biological, physical and social causality.

For the avant-garde of the 1920s, such an idol of hope and liberation was the famous
hobo Charlie. Although almost a century has gone by since that time, it is precisely the vision of a lightened and playful world, which laughs at fate regardless of all the cruelty and injustice (depicted by Karel Teige in his book) that is perhaps even today one of the paths to positive liberation and re-appropriation of our future. The burden of existence and all the pitfalls waiting for us on our tangled life paths, will never quite leave us, nevertheless it is important to learn that essential trick, which the heroes of the silent film constantly perform – to be able to repeatedly pull out of the magic hat the state of joyful zero gravitation instead of the crushing weight of the human life.

We can feel a similar state of weightlessness from the projects of Jiří Pitrmuc, who, in
his current exhibition, in addition to slapstick comedies, reveals another inspiration – the world of a specific logic of the artful language of child drawings. The artist recycles the topic of silent films stuck in the roots of modern culture, to divest this visual language full of joy and carefreeness, linked with a number of typical artefacts, of the tragedy of human presence, and he introduces it in his paintings and installations as a fresh game room of archetypes of the avant-garde. The actors have vanished, but there remains a visual game room full of unexpected situations, intersections and slapsticks, in which the lead role goes to the requisites associating the poetic world of silent films. The artist here is that magician with a high hat, not pulling doves or rabbits out of it, but his paintings.

— Viktor Čech

26.6.20 — 19.7.20

Curated by Viktor Čech

Jeleni Gallery

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