In the last six years, from spring 2009 until spring 2014, my life and work underwent significant changes because I and my husband left the town and decided to settle in the country on a farm which my husband Ivan Šrek called Chaos. He was inspired by the book by Timothy Leary Chaos and Cyber culture. Chaos lies in East Bohemia, 4 kilometres from the small town Polička, 180 kilometres far from Prague and 70 kilometres far from Brno. His reasons for leaving the town are the following: „In the 1990s following the changes in the Czech Republic, Prague became a normal European city with loads of entertainment and round­the­clock life. Magic Prague disappeared. The grey, silent streets, with hardly any people at night only policemen turned into streets full of lights, colours, noise and an everlasting stream of people and taxis, day and night. I no longer enjoyed living there. It is just a machine for making big money. I found interesting what Ivan Dejmal, the first post­communist minister of the living environment, said. He said that he believed that from now on changes will take place in villages and small towns. I think he was right. We may speak about the newly formed civil society in Prague and other large cities, while in the country we are still at the beginning.

The predominant groovy models of behaviour are still the same – „another opinion is a problem, a newcomer is an enemy, every change is a change for the worse, a bloke insists that what he said was right no matter how stupid it may have been, and women should be seen and not heard, an uncompromising hard­line attitude and violence are the best ways of upbringing….“

Only those who proclaim these opinions have authority and then such people become members of parliament where they do harm to society. The power that they get makes them go gaga and they outnumber utilitarians from large cities. I also disliked the company of people dependent on their weekend houses and cottages, that ́s why I was looking for a place to live at least 100 kilometres far from Prague. Unknowingly I ended up in an area popular with „weekenders“from Brno. I like water and working with water. I bought an allotment in a flood plain. I like traditional ways of making a living – farming, crafts. Increasing production through mechanization is a road to hell and we are confronted with it daily. The devastation of nature and relationships, both in the family and society, are so visible now and only a madman would like to continue living this kind of life. Four hectares of Chaos will try to resist all this.“ This exhibition reflects the aspects of a life aiming at harmony with nature and all its qualities. I followed my husband and share his opinions on the present state of the world. I have been tending towards this kind of life for all my previous life. I am used to living in chaos. I spent my childhood and early teenage years in the workshop of my creative parents, which had a strong impact on my way of thinking, my behaviour and my attitude towards work and technology. However, my frequent trips to the country to visit my relatives also had a strong influence on me.

I have left our farm Chaos and its surroundings twice in the recent years. At the beginning of the year 2012 I got a chance to spend two months in south­west Uganda. In 2009 I went to Singapore. Both trips abroad enabled me to see „a different world“ and reaffirmed that our decision to move to the country was right. The conception of the exhibition focuses on the possible alternative ways of life. I kept thinking why I found this place just the right place for me and then I happened to look at my ancestors ́ places of birth and found out that my great­great­grandmother and my great grandmother were born in Vysočina (the Highlands). Interest in ecology, nature, the environment, permaculture, natural building, health food, coexistence with other living creatures, coming and going, including violent deaths of living creatures and plants. Families, relationships, friends, love, work. Changes in nature. All those are very common topics but I feel it is important to keep drawing attention to them.

I want to make visible, often with the help of a simple play of mirroring, the polarity between seeming contrasts which in this visual play merge together. Man possesses many faces, layers, moods and qualities. I am more and more against simplification and simplified evaluation of people and things. I ́m searching for my place, unity and harmony in the chaos of days, in my own chaos and the chaos of the world. In my photographs I try to show a certain range, movement, linkage between events and characteristics.

Polarities man/woman, good/evil, light/darkness, roughness/gentleness, strong/fragile, inner/outer, nature/technology, beauty/ugliness, youth/old age, birth/death, sorrow/joy, loneliness/company, love/hate, work/rest, chaos/order, all those are averted sides of the same. The following quotation attracted my attention.

„The word chaos suggest loss of control and that is what makes many people nervous. It comes from ancient Greek, the word ‘chaos’ meant an empty space or abys. Most of us are afraid of emptiness, voids because we regard it as vacuum, a negative force. In fact it is a positive space full of potential and free of restrictions and structures of everyday life Chaos teaches us in many ways: it is a place where all contrasts, such as female and male, dissolve. Where all contrasts exceed and unite. Visionaries are common in chaos and that is why chaos is the realm of art.“
/Gabrielle Roth, Sweat your prayers, Five rhythms of our soul, 1997, Maitreia 2012./

Everything has its origin in chaos, at the beginning of everything, according to Lao C, everything flows in Tao. Chaos is constantly with us, I live right in its heart, the dark and mysterious power coming out of its centre is creative and forming. I, as a tiny part of everything, long for the eternal and universal dance of great Chaos. The exhibition presents mostly photographs and a few videos, drawings and a space intervention. For me video is extended photography and drawing is a part of me and I cannot imagine living without it. I work with watercolour, Chinese ink, crayons and acryl. The photographic part of the exhibition borders on documentary and arranged photographs, entertaining contrasting subjects. An important and symbolic theme of this exhibition is a series of portraits Friends from the Planet Chaos. I ́m interested in the balance between reality and fictitious or hidden reality, I try to make it visible by visible or invisible manipulation of the image. For me manipulation is nothing more than a means.

Today it is a common part of our reality. I find the final image and message important, not the technical means I used. I regard our homestead and its name Chaos, the life we live there and our ambitions a certain synonym or symbolics of events in the world. What matters is the search for what is essential, unavoidable for people at present, the search for functional creative systems in chaos. Searching for real values in our lives. I am aware of the connection between the „ordinary“and „sacred“. I tis a story about a certain period and about the road we are on. I would like to thank my husband Ivan, my ancestors, family and parents and people who I met and who shaped my life. I wish to thank Pavel Lagner for this challenge. I wish to thank Václav Cílek and Zemánek. I thank Milan Brát. This exhibition is dedicated to our adopted son Hugo and I thank the Universe that sent him to us through his biological parents and allows us to be with him.

Veronika Šrek Bromová
16. 7. 2014, evening, Chaos, Střítež

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