Like music performers playing unplugged, i.e. exclusively on acoustic musical instruments instead of electric ones, ten artists from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Slovakia created site-specific projects for Galerie Rudolfinum with minimal use of energy for production and transport and with an emphasis on handicrafts. The gallery invited artists to explore “environmental thinking” as the theme of the UNPLUGGED exhibition. Artists were given a free use of a part of the gallery space for three months and some works have been on the site. Other artworks – in the spirit of the exhibition – came to the gallery from the studio, for example on a horse-drawn carriage or a special handcart; a set of works from Antwerp, Belgium, has been brought by a cyclist on a bicycle.
“The term environmental thinking is not a scientific discipline such as ecology, but rather a set of questions that cannot be answered unambiguously, but which are essential to remember in everyday activities. It is an attitude which asks questions about the relationship and balance between natural and artificial (cultural) entities. It can be seen as holistic thinking, a heightened sensitivity to the world around us, of which we are a part and which we create,” explains curator David Korecký the theme of the exhibition, adding for emphasis: “That is why environmental thinking, rather than the climate crisis or identity crisis of the Western civilization, has been chosen as the theme of the exhibition, although these topics are very closely related.”
With the Unplugged exhibition, Galerie Rudolfinum wanted to highlight the qualities that we tend to overlook due to the ease of use of machines and automated production. The exhibition places emphasis on daylight and physical experience when encountering art; it wants the audience to leave its comfort zone. The exhibition sets out to limit the resources spent on the production of artificial materials and their transportation, all while maintaining the professionalism of institutional representation. Each of the exhibiting artists responded to the challenge differently, so the exhibition offers a diversity of forms of art and approaches.