History is not unchanging; although we cannot change the events themselves, our point of view can change. We are undergoing a permanent renegotiation of history and values we should respect; this is a relatively explicable phenomenon, as it always happens with a change of regime, when not only monuments are demolished but perspectives on history too. These are the words of leading Czech medieval historian František Šmahel, suggesting a constant paradigm shift in our perception of historical narratives.
The reassessment of our perspective on a given epoch takes place constantly, as it has throughout history. Today’s globalised era, however, seems to have brought faster and more radical demands for change in the reflection of history, related to post-colonial discourse and the emancipation of various movements and minorities.
The concept of Interstices is based on the convergence of ideas in the work of Catherine Radosa and Jaro Varga, manifested in uncovering the physical and symbolic traces of the past. Both artists examine relics of the past from the perspective of collective memory and the mechanisms by which it is stored. Czech-French artist Catherine Radosa (born 1984) works primarily with video. She focuses on the intersection of situations she encounters or creates herself. She explores memory and its presence in a particular space at a specific time: she documents, observes, and “reads” the city using its history and the traces imprinted on it. She calls into question the relationship between the individual and society, geographical and social borders, history and identity.
Themes often explored by Jaro Varga (born 1982) include the city and its transformations, reshaping, and elements of decline. Varga works with history, but he always connects, confronts, and reflects it through the present, which he places in a broader historical framework. He explores our contemporary perception of the city and our life in it, and creates urban maps of sites that are vanishing, surviving, or newly coming into being. He captures aspects of the decline and deformation of local context and the ways we treat its legacy. Varga’s works are site-specific: they respond to the context, history, and symbolism of the given location.
Catherine Radosa and Jaroslav Varga thus reflect on our current need to transform historical narratives, and on the constant repetition and erroneous interpretation of these narratives, all anchored in shared cultural codes.