The exhibition entitled I Am What You Are… loosely reacts to the play “Actor and Cabinet-maker Majer Speaks on the State of His Homeland”, directed by Kamila Polívková. The theatre debut of David Zábranský was commissioned by Studio Hrdinů, or, in particular, its director, Polívková. It deals, other that with the theme of “homeland”, with the life story of the actor and cabinet-maker, Stanislav Majer, as well as the story of Studio Hrdinů and artists connected with it. Zábranský replied the following to one of the questions about his play “Were you not commissioned to write “Majeresque melodrama”, what would have your first work for theatre been about? Would you have even attempted writing for theatre?”
Kamila had told me at our meeting in front of Oko cinema that she would like a text on Stanislav Majer. Ok, I replied, and then, without her knowledge, added both Zeman and Letná to the text, that is, two themes which I wanted to deal with already. I wanted to write something about the supporters of Havel and supporters of Zeman, and also something about people we call “the hipsters” who should perhaps be called “the new idle classes of people who do not consider themselves to be idle” instead. All that then converged naturally in themes of borders, the abroad and the “borderless”. My play speaks of borders and of their crossing. Themes such as optimism and pessimism, obsession, and mental health in general, are all directly connected…
Asking Jiří David to react to the above mentioned play represents a kind of request to deal with the given theme and form. David does not respond directly to the play, which he, after all, couldn’t have seen, but, rather, to Zábranský’s debut. By naming the exhibition “I Am What You Are”, he creates the impression that it relates to one kind of people defined in the text. Does he then consider himself to be the type of character akin to Majer? Maybe. Most of all, he examines and, in all his work so far, tests the possibilities of grasping and defining the substance of a man and the position of the artist and of art in a society. This “National artist” has long been active on the Czech scene and has experienced many of its specific attributes of being Czech. He approaches live discussions and participation on creating awareness of how artist can influence society with dedication and perseverance.
Commenting the exhibition, David says: “I attempt, through the exhibited photographs, to find the prequel moment in relation to the play “Actor and Cabinet-maker Majer Speaks on the State of His Homeland”.- It is not so much about illustrating the action, rather, it is about searching for its mentally-visual value”
By searching for the prequel, we can arrive at similar themes of which Zábranský speaks in the interview. The borders of the society, of the individual, options of options, happiness, and fear that we are aware of. The pictorial and textual description of humanity seems to hint at the need to define oneself and, at the same time, show that which we all are. The text from 2016 with working title Again and both new and recycled collages and assemblages will lead us to three identical photographs with text from 1990, sketching out Jiří David’s opinion of that era.