Everything Was Always Better › 20/1–7/3/2021
Karíma Al-Mukhtarová – Matouš Háša – Tomáš Kurečka – Martin Pondělíček
curator: Daniela Kramerová, co-curator: Barbora Hájková
PROJECT › RELATIVITY 2020
The work of Karíma Al-Mukhtarová, Matouš Háša, Tomáš Kurečka, and Martin Pondělíček circles around the theme of time. The statement “Everything was always better” can describe the difficult search for one’s own space when confronted with the sweeping judgements of the experienced. Today, however, it is no longer the older and more experienced who desire a return to the past. Unlike those times that represented a glimmer of hope for a better future, the current young generation confronts the fear of a fatal breakdown of civilisation. In addition to the ecological, social, political, and health-related threats, the massive overload of images, information, and versions of the world represent more subtle sources of uncertainty.
Artists search for reference points on old maps. They study historical procedures and traditional methods, which they adapt to the current situation. They explore both collective and individual rituals. By anchoring themselves in the flow of tradition, they search for their own position. They balance out virtuality through temporally and technologically demanding manual labour. Another strategy is the focus on a moment of contemporaneity. Our experience of the present can be filled with sensual and sexual motifs. Eroticism, in the form of a gentle game with the prohibited, gradually seeps through the layers of references. The possibility of sharing time and experiences is naturally one of the key themes of this group exhibition, which brings together artists currently studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague who are all friends but who differ in their forms of artistic expression and their material inclinations.
A relationship to the handwork techniques of artistic crafts and ornament, and an interest in repetitive activities highlighting the temporal and physical experience of artistic creation, links the activities of Karíma Al-Mukhtarová and Martin Pondělíček. Both artists are also attracted by the contrast between the perfection, coldness, and sterility of materials (metal, glass, mirror) and the irregularity, imperfection, and strength of bodily existence. Conceptual thinking and a complex understanding of the work as part of the physical, relational, and virtual situation is also found in the work of Tomáš Kurečka, who has an interest in decoration and historical technology. Kurečka’s installation for GAMPA connects the motif of the pilgrimage as a spiritual journey with the wanderings of an elegant dandy, whose walking sticks serve as a guide through the installation. History and tradition are projected onto the creative process of sculptor Matouš Háša, who confronts classical sculptural techniques with current political and social themes and personal psychological content. He tests in practical terms the capacity of a plastic symbol to overstep cultural boundaries and elicit an emotional reaction.
If the feeling that everything used to be better is present at all times, we can enjoy a more favourable position from the perspective of future generations, but we can also significantly realise the permanent relativity of our judgements and experiences of the present. Although the artists in this exhibition often look towards the past, their works strongly shape the artistic present. The sceptical message of the exhibition title certainly does not reflect on their work, which promises many interesting developments.
Financial support: Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Pardubice
Media partners: Artikl, FlashArt, Artmap