Capturing images of ruins has had a long tradition in Western art. In the last decade though, their portrayal has acquired a different semblance – not so much the meaning, rather the visual formability of this subject has undergone many changes over the course of history. From the hymns on Ancient civilizations during the Renaissance, the critical approach of reason in the period of Enlightenment in the 18th century, the melancholy of Romanticism to the symbols of political upheaval of the 20th century, the ruins represent global clashes as well as humans in the snares of their destinies. The exhibition “Circular Ruins” borrows its name from a story by Jorge Luis Borges. It evokes a landscape full of contradictions where the darkness of some works exhibited stands in sharp contrast to the lighter colors of others. The ruins’ legacy becomes a kind of ghostly phantom opening up a new view of the modern world.
The Project consists of two independent and yet communicating units. In Gallery 35, a choice of photographs and videos by Czech and Slovak artists will be presented, from the 1980s to the present. These works make use of the phenomena of appearances, their changes in time and their transience. It’s not about melancholy, but rather the poetry of simple and immediate things, that paradoxically illustrate the depths of history. The other part of the exhibition is taking place at the Meet Factory Gallery and will introduce works of European or Europe-based artists. The selected works or site-specific installations analyze the subject of ruins or debris from their authors’ viewpoint, being considered within the context of the contemporary globalized world. The exhibition intends to provoke thinking about the ways of depiction, the complexity of contemporary views of references to the past and oblivion, and about the different possible approaches to European history. At the same time, the exhibition suggests the necessity of reconsidering the multiple layers of the modern world, its history and the way we see it, which has been, especially in the last few decades, ever more apparently formed by the artistic, historiographical and anthropological interpretation done by the non-European nations.