Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2018 Exhibition

Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2018 Exhibition

Alžběta Bačíková, Lukáš Hofmann, Tomáš Kajánek, Kateřina Olivová and Adéla Součková; these were the finalists of the 29th edition of Czech Republic’s most prestigious award for exceptionally remarkable work in the field of visual arts for artists up to the age of 35. Their artistic positions and approaches are truly diverse, straddled between explicitly engaged and self-critical gesture, ranging from the endeavor to consider and involve specific audience groups to intimate and atmospheric situations and actions. They share an intensive interest in very particular aspects of the present, such as human relations, creating collective consciousness and making not only a rational but also a strongly emotional impact on the viewers/participants. They are not afraid to be provocative on various levels and to push the traditional limits of the exhibition.

The international guest of 2018 Jindřich Chalupecký Award was Romanian artist and choreographer Alexandra Pirici who seized international attention in 2013 when she represented Romania together with Manuel Pelmuş at the Romanian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. It was for the first time that Pirici presents her work to Czech audiences, introducing her project Delicate Instruments of Engagement. Through the bodies of performers, a series of several dozen historical moments and cultural allusions will become present in the gallery, ranging from a song by Céline Dion through a Coca-Cola commercial to similar speeches by the first ladies of the US Michelle Obama and Melania Trump. For the Prague version, Pirici added two new situations to the project: Dubček’s speech upon his return from Moscow in August 1968 and East-West, the winning work of Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2013 by Dominik Lang.

The award ceremony of Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2018 was held on December 17, 2018 at the Theater Hall of Studio Hrdinů at the Trade Fair Palace.

Alžběta Bačíková

In her Encounter project, Alžběta Bačíková continues her long- term exploration of the audiovisual medium. Her previous video installations are experimental documentary portraits including both self- reflective elements and fictitious narratives. Encounter is much closer to fiction film, yet the experience of the two main protagonists is still reflected in the rendered situations. Alžběta has collaborated on the project with blind Terezie and deaf Mac. They have co- authored the script and influenced the general concept of the work. Alžběta Bačíková thus continues her deconstruction of the conventions of the audiovisual medium which she demonstrates in Encounter by symbolical references to the history of audiovision: the work includes a melody which was first heard in one of the first sound films ever (The Jazz Singer, 1927), and Terezie and Mac are shown an early Czechoslovak sound film (From Saturday to Sunday, 1931). Her project, however, has a broader self- reflective dimension as well, since she focuses not only on the medium as such but also on the artistic and institutional practice: how can audiovisual works be exhibited (or exhibitions in general conceived) with regard to visually impaired and hearing- impaired recipients? The questions raised by the work of Alžběta Bačíková are not merely “theoretical” (examining the relation between sound and image and the possible representation or interpretation of one of these elements); it is also about searching for practical ways of opening contemporary art to specific audience groups. That can be made possible by more accessible presentation and primarily by a transformation of the very way in which a work is made.

Tomáš Kajánek

In his work, Tomáš Kajánek draws on a reflection of modern everydayness (the impact of media, our behavior online etc.) while critically relating to the mechanisms of the art world. Within the Jindřich Chalupecký Award exhibition, he decided to display two already existing videos linked by the theme of death (or more generally destruction or violence) which are publicly accessible on YouTube and were not created by the artist. The longer video (used in the video installation Automated YouTube Click#1: Democratized Experience of Death Translated into an Image on the Way towards Catharsis) is a recording of a car crash of two young women whose phone camera was switched on at the time of the collision and was doing an online live stream. Although not originally meant for the general public, the recording became viral, some versions were subtitled in English, and it eventually became the most spread Czech video of 2017. On the contrary, the second video, (used in the video installation Automated YouTube Click#2: Stop Wars, Financial Violence, Shedding Blood) an apocalyptic collage of media and pop culture, was made as a deliberate proclamation of an online author to spread the appeal to stop the violence on our planet. However, unlike the car crash recording, which was made randomly, it received much less attention. The two videos are streamed online from YouTube at the gallery, thus complementing each other. Tomáš Kajánek notes their aesthetic and formal qualities (corresponding to film and contemporary art in a certain way) and brings us to a reflection upon the impact of the daily portion of violent images from which we have learned to keep a distance. However, at the same time, he confronts us with content which makes it ethically problematic for us to try to keep a distance from it. Bringing digital ready- mades to the gallery context works like a magnifying glass focusing on a certain social phenomenon. At the same time, however, one of the inherent aspects of art is the process of aestheticization and spectacularization of reality which also hold many risks. Tomáš shows that a similar process is already at work on YouTube. By using existing online content, Tomáš Kajánek reacts to the overproduction of art while pointing out its self- absorption and small reach in comparison with mass user platforms.

Kateřina Olivová

Kateřina Olivová has prepared a project of several parts for Jindřich Chalupecký Award, some of which were to be placed outside the exhibition space at the Korzo. Unfortunately, that was impossible due to organization reasons, yet her approach still goes beyond the exhibition’s framework. She initiated babysitting at certain time periods so that parents can attend the exhibition without their children for once. Public events, organized with regard to specific target groups, are a fully-fledged part of her artistic approach. Again, Kača Olivová addresses themes that are essential in her work on a long- term basis: female questions and feminism, parenthood, merging art and life, testing art institutions. In the case of Olivová, nudity is not a provocation but a completely natural means of expression, as she perceives her body as artistic material. The exhibition presents her larger- than- life- sized self- portrait in a position similar to Goya’s Nude Maja as well as a video featuring her walking naked through the permanent exposition of the National Gallery, humorously responding to the exhibited works. The confrontation of her own, real body with the context of art history, where the female nude is one of the crucia l motives, points out the traditional dominance of the male gaze in (not only) visual culture as well as the institutional mechanisms and limits regarding contemporary art presentation. The use of the moment of shame, which Kača Olivová often deliberately provokes in her spectators, is linked to her perception of naturality as well as certain positively perceived infantilism. The limits of shame or perception of kitsch are different in children and in modern adults; which is why it will not be a surprise that the artist shows parts of her own body even on the pillows in the chill out zone. Her interest in motherhood (or parenthood) and its social emancipation was demonstrated in the video performance inspired by the normalization era actions of Eugen Brikcius who conceived art and life as inseparable entities just like Olivová. The artist had a train of mothers with baby carriages walk on crossings in a circle at the Moravian Square in Brno.

Adéla Součková

Adéla Součková combines a wide range of themes (spirituality , tradition, landscape, ecology, feminism, digital era) within visual environments mostly dominated by drawing and spoken word, and often accompanied by live action. Her aim is to tell multilayered, non- linear stories in the manner of eposes, or ask  questions to which there are no definite answers. As the artist says herself: “I use a simple, even child- like language and try to transform reality so that I like living in it.” The motto of her project for Jindřich Chalupecký Award is the question: Where do thoughts, opinions and attitudes come from? One of the important aspects of her work lies in relating to local tradition which is evoked by the use of the indigo print technique and modeling clay figures; all exhibition visitors are invited to join the process. However, the relation to tradition primarily shows in the theme of folk songs about which the artist herself feels ambivalent: on one hand, they represent an essential component of her personal as well as national identity; on the other hand though, Adéla feels that they often include unhealthy fatalism, a conviction about the irreversible order of things, especially in relation to more or less explicit sexism or racism. In contrast to the modernist architecture of the Trade Fair Palace, Adéla created an intimate space reminiscent of a yurt inside which the spectators are invited to contemplate. She accompanied Moravian songs by her own text in which she symbolically sheds her social bias. The installation at the Korzo will be followed by two processions open to the public (on November 24 and December 16) going from the Trade Fair Palace towards Vltava River where the Artwall Gallery features another thematically linked exhibition of Adéla Součková. The aim of the procession is to be emancipatory in many respects while exploring the ritual nature of such a parade taken out of traditional contexts and testing how it can relate to the format of a demonstration.

Lukáš Hofmann

Lukáš Hofmann expresses himself primarily by means of sensory and sensual installations and live actions. The essential elements of his artistic expression include along- term development and repetition of several key motives– whether they be activities or use of materials and artefacts. He is interested in capturing a certain metaphysical quality, boundary states between community and individuality, virtuality and materiality, being alive and being an object, in a world where such polarities dissolve. His project for Jindřich Chalupecký Award includes two equally important parts: the permanent installation at the Korzo and a spectacular performance held on December 15 at the Korzo and below at Studio Hrdinů. The environment created at the Korzo will support the future activities of the performers, however, Lukáš perceives it as a space which performs itself and emerges during the continuous presence of the audience. The installation does not have a hierarchic center, rather grasping the surrounding world with curiosity. The sculptural climbing holds make an impression of a space adapted for movement while resonating with corporeality due to their tactile and visual qualities. Lukáš Hofmann strives for a mental as well as physical presence of the spectators by other elements of the installation. We are disconcerted by the fragility of the experimentally processed glass; the changeable membrane of the suspended constructi on network intimately delineates the space, while also enabling the constant penetration of the surrounding reality. The three- dimensional video in virtual reality glasses mentally absorbs us, teleporting us to a certain interspace and timelessness with the help of the performers in anachronic costumes. The core of Lukáš Hofmann’s work draws on very personal moments, whether they be relationships, conversations with friends, experiences with mind altering substances or current interests (such as discovering arts and crafts and acquiring handicraft skills). However, this autobiographical quality (most visibly revealed in the intimate video exhibited outside the Korzo on the 4th floor of the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery) does not aim to tell particular stories, rather becoming a source of ambivalent sensuality and anxious emotionality. It affects the present participants while following rules that are as unstable and uncertain as the present day.

Co-organizers: National Gallery Prague and The Romanian Cultural Institute in Prague
Main Partners: Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Prague City Hall, J&T Bank
Main Media Partner: Czech Television
Partners: The Moravian Gallery in Brno, Center and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Prague, Brno City Municipality, State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic, Czech Centers, Prague 7, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Residency Unlimited, Czech-German Future Fund, Arts and Theatre Institute, MeetFactory, Stuchlíková & Partners, Fair Art
Media Partners: Art+Antiques, Artyčok.tv, ArtMap, Artalk.cz, Art Viewer, A2, GoOut, Radio Wave, Rail Reklam, Prague Public Transport Company
Special Partners: Extended, Café Jedna, BIOFILMS, Lasvit Ajeto, Makak Climbing, s.r.o., The City of Prague Museum, Prague City Gallery

The exhibition is held with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Prague City Hall, Prague 7 and J&T Bank.

Special Partners:  BaumitBIOFILMS, Cafe Jedna, Den BravenDivý tvor, ExtendedGalerie hlavního města Prahy, galerie sam83Go360, Lasvit AjetoMakak Climbing, s.r.oMuzeum hlavního města Prahy, TM Sklo s.r.o.,Tonstav Service, Vantage, Výstaviště Praha, a. s., Weber Saint-Gobain, Zlatá loď