Reports

Krištof, your present exhibition in Nevan contempo is called Oh, no! which is the name of your sculpture from 2012 displayed at your solo exhibition in the Municipal Library in Prague. What made you choose this name for your exhibition?
The name is sort of emblematic and laconic, isn´t it?

Oh, yes.
That sculpture was a relief in the sense of a fast attainment of form. Unlike other complex works it was a kind of relieving materialization.

The exhibition Oh, no! introduces recent works that are not yet very well-known and one crucial piece – a completely new tower made of books. On the one hand it is linked with your figures composed of different materials, for example statues made of lamps or figures made of potatoes, but on the other hand the way you use books is completely new. What I find interesting is the fact that the form departs from the figure and moves towards the structure of architecture. Similarly, for instance Homegrown made of tins, refers to consumerism, in this case cultural and information consumerism. By embedding books into concrete the information in the books is in fact unavailable and this way we come again to the issue of material and all its possible meanings.
The books are in fact extracts of some kind of mental effort, a book is the result of imploringness, when you hold a book in your hand, you think of the time it took to write and the time of the graphic designer or typographer. I also realize that nowadays the interest in books is on the decline, books are devaluated. Second-hand-bookshops no longer want more books, they´ll tell you that they have fifteen editions of Catch 22. So books are taken to junk yards and recycled to become egg boxes. I felt sorry for them, so I decided for some form of ruin. Books are heavy, so is concrete. Literary gems such as books by Boccaccio or Čapek are enclosed in concrete creating some kind of burial mounds, books, that are never going to be read again. Fragments of titles, which form a phrase, play an important role. The titles of books are some kind of synopses, which are rather exclamations. There are both well-known titles and less-known ones.

I appreciate your approach towards material, the way you think about its origin, its symbolic value and about its cultural, economic and political implications. The way you thought of lead in relation to Plumbuman, about oil or light in connection with the wide range of your light sculptures and lamps. Your work with books shows how well the material corresponds with the final form.
The material always discloses itself in the process of my work. I also arrive at simple conclusions, for example, it isn´t surprising that books are heavy.

For me and for the Czech audience Leaving is a new work, you have also used snow in your extensive exhibition in Basel and before that in Berlin. It is not the first work based on a mimetic principle, from the sculptures of Sleepers, the devil (Bad News, 2011) and other naturalistic works based on illusion. How did you come to this form of city snow?
I was attracted by the ugliness of this “natural” material, for years I used to wade through it. Melting, slush, circulation of water and all that dirt. It took me years before I decided to deal with it. I´m glad to abandon my anthropomorphic routines in different forms of figures and the snow is one of these cases.

How did Yamaha get here? And why is it next to these handcrafted, disturbingly emptied faces (Sorry I´m Deleting My Feeling Now; How to Save Energy for the Next Future) and the suspended object Lost Idea in My Mind?
I don´t know how to present these works because they are sort of modernist-anachronistic. Since I can´t present them as a spectacular kaleidoscope with 32 suspended objects that would communicate with each other, the profane design of the Yamaha is a sort of open gesture, a garage manifestation and an acknowledged showroom.

The exhibition is relatively small but it has a strong impact, there are pear-tree leaves here which are sent flying by ventilators. It wouldn´t be your typical exhibition if we didn´t hear the sound of some kind of electric gadget. To what extent did the context of the new gallery of Mikuláš Nevan influence the scheme of the exhibition?
I knew it would be pleasant and I was happy to see a new gallery on the map of Prague but in the end this place exceeded all my expectations. I don´t think it had an influence on the choice of works that are exhibited here, except for the fact that I chose things that haven´t been displayed much so far. What is important is the autumn melancholy, so why not sculptures in leaves?

Krištof Kintera was interviewed by Mariana Serranová at Nevan Contempo on November 4.

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