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'SWAMP', a Group Show at Berlinskej Model w. Galerie Tobias Naehring, Prague

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Dear gang,

I’m sending you the concept for the exhibition SWAMP at Berlinskej Model:

In working on putting together this show, I drew on the way symbols and metaphors are used in contemporary art.

Timo Seber’s works depicting two skeletons became its point of initiation. Their elongated limbs form a continuous rectangle framing and delimiting an abstract shape hidden inside. An unspecified symbol, perhaps something from a parallel world, levitates in a closed space. These skeletons reminded me of figures from the paintings of the Czech, symbolistically decadent painter Jaroslav Panuška, which date from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

Back then, Jaroslav Panuška concerned himself with dark visions and his use of the fantastic injected new imagination into Czech art. He found the well of inspiration for his subjects in the world of macabre folk tales – water goblins, vampires, hanged and drowned figures and other similar monstrous beings, confirming that behind the sun-drenched world of daylight there also lies a darker, lunar world. Dreamlike or lucid visions in which these beings become superior to humans and adopt an ambivalent stance towards them. For me, Panuška primarily represents the overarching visual emblem of this exhibition, even though in some cases he also comes close in terms of subject matter. His work will be represented at the show by the painting Upír (Vampire) dating from approx. 1900.

I then tried to select artworks from each one of you that work together, mutually creating a certain visual parable and combining work with symbols – these may belong to particular national or ethnic groups, religions, or they may be objects from personal narratives, storytelling, black and socially-critical humour, metaphors of the comical and grotesque, or obsessive visions. They are artworks based on mystery which act upon the viewer with the enchanting magic of the arcane worlds of parables, legends and ballads.

And now my request: Could each one of you send me a short artist’s statement regarding your artwork at the show and send me an image of the artwork?

Thanks!

Monika

From: Michele Gabriele

Date: Wed, Jul 14, 2019 at 1:52 PM

Subject: Re: text FOAF

To: Monika Čejková 

Hi Monika, here I am :)

If I had to summarize in one sentence everything my research is about, I would say that it deals with understanding and calculating a distance: the distance between work and viewer, or the distance between it (a work) and its title. The distance that separates the artist from his work and the distance that a work can travel along by continuing to communicate itself.

From: Katarzyna Przezwanska 

Date: Wed, Jul 19, 2019 at 10:32 PM

Subject: Re: text FOAF

To: Monika Čejková 

dear Monika,

I attach the pictures with captions.

below is my text :) :

Both of my works are very simple and straightforward: boobs made of ostrich egg and dried limes, and iridescent, shimmery vagina made of cassis cornuta shell, bean seed and car lacquer.

best,

Katarzyna

From: Wolfgang Matuschek

Date: Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 1:42 PM

Subject: Re: text FOAF

To: Monika Čejková 

Dear Monika, 

Sorry for the delay, but in attachment i send you a small text! I hope it is ok for you. 

Best regards,

Wolfgang

In the beginning of 2018 I made an exhibition in Vienna titled „Coaca: The Opening“. During that time, I was most interested in the novella as a form. I find novellas fascinating because they are like a reverberation of an event. 

So the setting in that exhibition turned into something like a movie that was paused or interrupted. One part of it was a crouching figure on a radiator, with a lamp and other elements ... a mingle-mangle. After some time, elements of the sculpture were used at various places. About a year later I thought about this figure again. I liked the idea of working on a prequel for it. A story aside from that exhibition. This prequel was divided into 3 episodes and was titled: „Ruins of Coaca“. I showed it at a group show in Tokyo. This is the third installment of this series. It is titled „Coaca application“ and has 2 episodes. I think it will be the second to last. Within the storyline, these sculptures now are a continuation of „Coaca: The Opening“ and at the moment it‘s function within the storyline is probably best illustrated by the German building type „Pförtnerhaus“.

From: Nigin Beck 

Date: Fri, Jul 23, 2019 at 2:01 PM

Subject: Nigin Beck - Yeki Bud, Yeki Nabud.pdf

To: Monika Cejkova

Dear Monika, 

As the title of the show implies, the story I was trying to tell with the objects didn’t want to claim the truth about the breakup I was going through at the time, but rather implied that there are always two sides to a story, and especially to a breakup story. Therefore, all the titles are doubled, and the ending of the relationship could be read as COMEDY OF ERRORS as well as the more humorous TITY AND DOLLA. The eyes were the first objects I felt the need to make, watchdog-sized and there to protect me. 

In Islam, amulets in the abstract look of eyes can be found throughout lots of countries. Either worn as jewelry or set up in the domestic area as glass objects, the concept is to reject the evil eye, meaning reflecting back greed, envy, and all other sorts of ill thoughts. As I felt that in my relationship there were often moments of greed and envy, I felt I needed those eyes to protect me from the heightened anger of the former partner after the breakup. I chose green as the deeply symbolic color in Shiite Islam, and the light brown of my grandmother‘s eyes for the iris. 

From: Galerie Tobias Naehring

Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2019 at 9:27 PM

Subject: Re: FOAF / Berlínskej model

To: Monika Čejková

Hey Monica, 

Please find attached also the two artist statements.

Looking very much forward to Thursday :-)

Thank you very very much!

Best Tobias

Timo Seber: 

“Western magic tricks explained for an eastern audience” - that’s what the title of a Japanese booklet from the 1890s loosely translates to. It‘s cover is outlined by two skeletons with weirdly extended limbs framing the typography. 

Stripped from their original context they still seem to exude metaphysical powers. 

Encased in glazed ceramic plates a diferent kind of magic is preserved - the packages of newly developed Japanese condoms. Wafer-thin but supposedly impenetrable they are a near invisible barrier designed to enable or prevent consequential exchange. 

Nadira Husain: 

About Ecrasé dans le bleu: 

I grew up in a Parisian apartment furnished and decorated with Indian furnitures and art. As a child I was reading a lot of comics including the Smurfs among others, and I could stare at the same time at old Indian miniature paintings which were hanging on the wall depicting for example the Hindu God Krishna. He very often appears in a blue body, and the Smurfs are blue as well, as a child I thought they belong to each other because of the color_I thought that the smurfs were parts of Krishna’s entourage (he normally has an entourage of Gopis). My child‘s mind was pre-culturally and socially conditioned...I was associating instead of separating. I could naturally put next to each other pop Belgium culture to Holy hindu culture. Anyway, this painting, is one of those which tries to catch this ‘free’, pre-conditioned child mind set. The child here is sleeping, being asleep, bored or ill is also a state of mind I relate to this time, it is somehow passive which reminds me the process of painting or drawing. 

Have a nice evening

Thx & Best Tobias

5.7.19

Nigin Beck, Michele Gabriele, Nadira Husain, Wolfgang Matuschek, Jaroslav Panuška, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Timo Seber

Curated by Monika Čejková

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