Intervention #17: Side Effects
For the intervention into the Czech Pharmaceutical Museum in Kuks, three contemporary Czech artist of two generations were invited, Tomáš Hlavina, Anežka Hošková and Pavla Sceranková. Their works, primarily sculptures and small installations, correspond to the unique space and character of the museum, creating a dialogue with the aesthetics of the baroque interior and the historical medical equipment. Indicating the themes related to the variety of approaches to the treatment of the human body and mind, the works playfully contest the historical narratives contained within the permanent exposition of the museum.
Tomáš Hlavina presents minimalist objects, which could easily be mistaken for functional parts of the exposition. The tiny details and whimsical poetics elevate his sculptures from the domain of utilitarian items to the status of artworks. Each object and its placement in relation to the permanent exposition developed its own storyline, which can be elaborated on in the imagination of the spectator.
The work of Anežka Hošková is inspired in ancient symbolism and its continuous imprint in the presence. An element of mystical energetic charge is present throughout. Perhaps that is why her intervention into the museum exposition evolves around scales, which metaphorically balance between the exact and the nonquantifiable, between the perceptible and the ambiguous.
Pavla Sceranková brings issues of human bodily integrity and its untouchable nature into the exposition. Similarly to the approaches of Western medicine, where the body usually becomes an object or even a ground for experiment, Sceranková probes its boundaries and advancements, implementing aesthetic attributes instead of its functional bodyparts, or comes to disrupt its wholeness to highlight the narratives and situations in which the body appears and which fictitiously alter its external appearance as well.
From the visual perspective, the works of these three artists are joined into a versatile group in which both gentle minimalistic approaches and spontaneous and playful aesthetic emerge. The strong poetics leaning into mysticism, resonating with the atmosphere of the site, appears as a common thread.
Tomáš Hlavina (*1966) is an artist working mainly with items of everyday reality, joining them together in new relations and transforming them into minimalist objects which convey a sensitive poetic metaphor. His work is recognizable for its sophisticated aesthetics and subtle humor. He is the head of the Sculpture Studio II at the Academy of Arts in Prague.
Anežka Hošková (*1982) is a multimedia artist working with mystical and associative painting and drawing which transgress into becoming an installation or performance. In her work the boundaries between “high” art and pop culture, between visual arts, fashion and music dissolve. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno, Studio of Painting and Intermedia. She is one of the cofounders of the alternative music festival Creepy Teepee.
Pavla Sceranková (*1980) is a sculptor and a performer. In her work, she often merges the principles of the ready-made, and deconstruction and expansion of reality into new contexts, while emphasizing direct physical relationship between the object-sculpture and its creator or user. She is the head of the Studio of Intermedia Work II at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
The Czech Pharmaceutical Museum in Kuks
The idea to establish The Czech Pharmaceutical Museum in the hospital in Kuks was born in 1970-72 when the placement of the historical collection of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Charles University in Hradec Králové and the cultural use of vacated hospital space was being discussed. The charity oriented medical tradition of the hospital and the existence of the baroque pharmacy were rather beneficial presumptions for the incorporation of the historical pharmaceutical and medical objects of the faculty collection and their development into the institution of the Pharmaceutical Museum and its exposition. The purpose of the current museum exposition, titled The Magic of an Apothecary, is to point out the advancement of our medical practices from the 17th up to the 20th century. The exhibits, which serve as evidence, should also affect the viewer with their air of peculiarity and their artistry.