Exhibitions

Video-performance is a curious genre. It provides the artist-performer with a certain pleasant asylum from direct contact with the viewers.  Thus, while realizing  his piece of art, he gains something which reminds on the one hand of a theatre stage isolated from the audience but on the other hand also of a virtual scene of classic paintings. The carried out performance is a picture presentation reminding of the 19th century historic paintings.

Owing to the viewers’ distance from an intensively experienced moments of live performances, the artist gets more and more into a position which has never been in its technical expressional nuances a part of his education. He becomes an actor on his own stage. The absence of required dramatic or dancing skills and most importantly – a different creative paradigm offers him specific expressional opportunities.

In my view, Petr Krátký’s most distinct creative instrument has always been his ability to enter into a performative process cold-heartedly. It is neither about an active acting nor apathy. He rather aims for concentration on the assigned process itself. A good psychologist would certainly discover several disappeared emotions from his face. We may spitefully compare it to anti-actor performances of some action movie stars such as Arnold Schwarzeneger or Kevin Sorbo. In Peter’s work, such peculiar feature is apparent and we are thus able to focus more easily on the action itself. Whether it is tapping knees in the Rotterdam museum Boymans van Beuningen (No Title), an obsessively swaying body in The Autistic Boys video or sawing down a full-grown tree to loose a chained bicycle in Final Cut (all 2010). This “non-expression” of the artist aslo heavily stresses the tone of the actions.
The mask he puts on, however transparent it seems to be, is similar to the ones from ancient tragedies. The mask is typologically the same, impersonating the role of the author who does not disprove himself or does not want to be tasked anywhere else, except where his creative process heads.  The remaining moment of the mask transparency confirms the sufficient assurance of the authenticity and an individual act. Thanks to that, the balance between morally requisite genuineness of the action and aimed dramaturgy of the artistic intention remains intact.
In his exhibition project for the Jelení gallery he chose quite a different way. In his previous work we could folllow his interest in analytical work with video and its relation to apparently real situations. A characteristic example of that is his diploma work from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (2012) in which he used the possibilities of video medium to create a non-existent exhibition project in the material meaning. At the current exhibition he analyses his entire work and in the combination of synthesis, his so far used means of expression. He also slightly uncovers his private groundwork refering to his childhood and it all together creates the most complex perspective on his work so far.
An element of certain type of dry humour or rather “gag” is apparent in all his work. It serves as a specific self-irony of the artist but also as a communication structure of a viewer dissociated from the literal perception of the work. The creative idea itself has always got its important logic connected with the act given. The exhibiton can be perceived likewise. It might be regarded as the artist’s self-ironic revelation of his “roots” and working techniques but also as an important reflection on the role of a performer, video-artist and author of installations, as well as on all material, technical and societal, in the words of Rosalind Krauss, supports of his creative pursuance.

Viktor Čech

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