Reports

Fait Gallery presents the work of Jan Brož (born in 1988) who graduated from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts last year. The installation is a closely-knit complex consisting mainly of six large-scale drawings, a neon object and an art book. At the exhibition SSSSSS „the political“ encounters „the poetic“ in a manner that is not very common nowadays. The exhibition lacks explicit „political iconography“ and we shall not find the time-proven model of involvement either, which leaves the gallery world in order to come back again and win the necessary symbolic capital. The greater the weight that lies on the viewer who cannot really hold onto common clichés, the greater may be the synergic effect of understanding the author´s message. I would like to introduce Jan Brož´s exhibition SSSSSS in a slightly unusual manner – through residential stays. In the past two decades residential stays of artists have become a routine phenomenon. Since the adoption of the Bologna declaration fifteen years ago the opportunities for university students to study abroad have risen dramatically. Even in a routine system, which in the case of the EU might remind us of a hidden promotion of tourism, we can find exceptions where a study stay can have a significant influence on a student. One of the places which had a remarkable impact on the development of students was the Cooper Union in New York where students of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts used to go to on study stays.

Jan Brož spent almost six months at the Cooper Union in 2012. At that time the school went through a dramatic period during with the school´s management started to think of changing the 150-year-old declaration of its founder – the industrialist Peter Cooper, who claimed that „the school should be free of charge and open to everyone, men and women“. The fact that the school agreed to the neo-liberal politics considering studies as an investment into one´s future and agreed to introduce tuition fees, led to a response of students and many teachers. What is no doubt interesting is the fact that Barbora Kleinhamplová who went to New York to study at the same time as Jan Brož, became involved in engaged journalism and organizing art events when she came back to Prague.
After his return from New York Jan continued working on his longterm project Unwanted guest (2011-2013) which became his final work at the Academy of Arts. The exhibition SSSSSS in the Brno Gallery MEM is in fact the first distinctive evaluation of his two-year-old formative experience. The content of the exhibition is essentially political. The artist wants to know how individuals and societies function within the framework of late capitalism, a world which Johathan Cary denotes by pertinent three numerals: 24/7.
I use the word „political“ in relation to Brož´s work (although I could surely also use the word „conceptual“), however, it is also work which holds onto the autonomy of fine art, means of expression. For Brož drawing has been the essential means of expression for a long time. Apart from drawing he is also concerned with graphics and graphic design and acquires more experience within the framework of his PHD studies at the studio 304 at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague as well as his work in the studio Parallel Practice. An important part of the exhibition is the art book which includes examples of Brož´s older work and fragments of „moodboard“ which preceded the installation and accompanied our mutual thoughts concerning the nature of the accompanying text.

Jan Zálešák

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