Window to the VVP AVU Video Archive

I realized that it had been two years since I’d seen the sea. The sea always was, for us Czechoslovakian citizens, a special place. In a geographical sense, the country is landlocked, as well as in a political sense; the sea became a symbol of freedom.

Thus, I decided that a time span of two years was emotionally significant enough to allow me to “not see it (again)”. I asked my friends to drive me (blindfolded), and a large mirror to the Baltic Sea coast in East Germany. Upon our arrival, my friends placed the mirror in an upright position on the beach facing the sea. I was escorted towards the mirror, where I sat down, removed the blindfold and watched the sea’s reflection in the mirror. After an hour of mirror-sea-watching, my friends blindfolded me again and we returned back to Prague.

Lumír Hladík

Filmed at: Warnemünde, Eastern Germany, 1980, camera: Petr Soukup, 8mm colour film

Lumír Hladík (*1952) is a Czech-Canadian artist and performer who has lived in Toronto since 1981. In the 1970s he created and exhibitied within an unofficial art platform in the circle of action artists (Jiří Kovanda, Petr Štembera, Karel Miler or Jan Mlčoch). His work has not been well-known so far, there was awareness of just one of his events that was projected here. Thanks to his exhibition in the SVIT Gallery in 2011 (together with Jiří Kovanda) supplemented with a monograph by Pavlína Morganová it was possible to present his other twenty events and installations from between 1976 and 1981. Lumír Hladík is one of not many Czech artists who recorded their work also on a movie camera. Typical of his work is thematizing the relation between man and space and to a large degree we can see a moment of a wilful refusal of dream realization or event finishing, whether it is the possibility to touch a stone or an encounter with the sea. From an extensive collection the author has donated to the video archive VVP AVU we selected his most famous event not only because it is symptomatic in the context of his other work but also because it is one of a few that is recorded on a colour film and thus gives another view on the event than a black and white photograph.
Special thanks to Lumír Hladík for providing the video to the video archive VVP AVU.

In the Window to the Archive programme the AVU Research Center in Prague (VVP AVU) in conjunction with Artyč regularly release works from the VVP AVU video archive (go to The selection for Artyč focuses on older works (materials from the end of the 20th century), works bordering on video art, film and documentation, or on purely documentary materials related to the recent development of Czech and Slovak visual art.

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