Trip to the Country

Part of the summer online exhibition for Artyčok.tv are three videos of three authoresses intermediating a specific interpretation of a concerete situation in the landscape. As the artists usually work in different settings (from the viewpoint of surroundings and forms), these video-landscapes demonstrate a certain tension. Depicting landscape in their interpretations oscillates between lyricism and exaggeration. The fusion of authorial and spectatorial attitudes is typical both of romantic landscape painting and videoart in which the subjective perspective dominates. We can feel in all three works a rare transfer into the painting, a specific landscape where we can together with the authors experience almost mystic river contemplation, an astonished observation of a stranger’s invasion into a quiet horizon and an amused interaction with a chopped off trunk.

Sylva Poláková

01 FISHING ROD

As first we introduce the video of Adéla Babanová Fishing Rod, that was presented within a larger installation Tringalka at several authorial exhibitions (for example She Told Nobody But For The Priest (Nikomu to nepovedala, jedine samotnému kňazovi) – Nitra and Troublemakers (Potížistky) – Prague). In her work she often uses techniques, cliché and other substitutionary features typical of mass medium – radio and television. The genre formats such as inscenations, interviews or debates she crashes subliminally by insertions of formal and content „improprieties“. Scene repetitions, bad scenes (for example a microphone in the shot, a camera trip), rash zooms, dropping out of a role, situation going adrift or even a death during the broadcast should point out hypocrisy, convulsiveness and morbidity of medium world and art surroundings she thematizes in her works.

Recently she has been dealing with the boundaries between reality and fiction. Speculating and developing fragments of real stories she modelates with the help of manipulated and predominantly adopted photograph or motion picture. Fishing Rod belongs to such artistic strategy. Fishing Rod levitates above a river surface in a continual loop – provocatively and suspiciously, freely and with ease. In the picture, hardly answerable, her attempts to express herself excitingly, with an exaggeration and excluding both pathos and existential level of how people and things display to each other and themselves, are concentrated.

02 TUÉR

Second part of the exhibition Trip to the Country comes from the portfolio of Markéta Lisá whose wide range of activities crosses both art and music fields. She was a member of many music groups (Midi lidi, Holky v lese, …), she is an author of scenic and film music (Ubu se baví – Divadlo na zábradlí, Krajina se zbraní – Dejvické divadlo or the movie Protector – together with Midi lidi). At the same time, this designer and musician is one of the most considerable personalities of Czech Vjing. So far she has experimented in her Vjing sets with computer animation (her performances resembled geometrizing abstract films) and with an older animation tool meotar. Meotar allowed her to animate pictures prepared beforehand right on the spot, thus the composition and sequence of the pictures were primarily part of improvization. Markéta Lisá’s work is filled with a strong forest and animal symbolism which is at the same time infiltrated by cultural fragments of today’s world.

The mystic natural atmosphere is clearly not taken too seriously and it is rather handled playfully. On the basis of such propinquity she cooperates with the group Dva (Two) for which she together with Magdalena Hrubá (under the 2M label) and later with the animator Jakub Růžička created VJ sets. The video Tuér we introduce within The Trip to the Country she created as a clip for the group Dva but differently from preceding animated creations this clip is a plain record of a real situation. In the context of her work, Tuér is formally different but its basic tune is faithful to the author’s feeling intentions. The subject we can associate for instance with a grazing doe or a hare is witnessing an incursion of an alien element – an aeroplane traversing the horizon frighteningly low into a seemingly intact landscape.

03 FOUND IN THE FOREST

Trip to the Country is closed by Eva Jiřička’s performance Found in the Forest. Crucial for her authorial work are site-specific performances predominated by urban environment, its residents and behavioral patterns they are dominated by. Jiřička enters such structures directly yet seemingly noninvasively and she confronts both accidental and chosen visitors of the situation by her questions and non-standard manners. Thanks to her charisma her successful interventions into the lives of accidental passers-by are unusually easy. Sometimes she is quite successful and other times she meets with minor opposition. As a performer, she moved public transport passengers to another seats (Seating Order, 2006), she poured clear water on parked cars and got a mild warning from a police officer (Parked Other People’s Things) or she offered punch for free at Christmas markets right next to the sellers who lost their temper and there was a ruck (Gratis Punch, 2005).

But the provocation strategy in her interpretation gains fine contours – sometimes kindly compassionate and other times coltishly playful. Thanks to her feeling both for absurdity and empathy, she is successful at temporary vibrating structures mentioned and the video recordings she takes during her performances then pass such releasing element vicariously on. In the video She Found in the Forest she examines a trunk of a cut-down tree that got stuck in the branches of surrounding pine trees. As a performer she appears directly in the picture but at the same time we can feel her presence behind the camera. The merger of authorial and spectatorial position is thus strenghtened similarly like at romantic landscape painters but the atmosphere interpreted by the picture is rather a joke than a romantic surge.

04 Exhibition credits

Curator: Sylva Poláková
Author of Texts: Sylva Poláková
Online Exhibition Concept: Lenka Střeláková
Realization: Lenka Střeláková and Janek Rous
Published: 15. 7. – 16. 9. 2013