5 UNEASY PIECES + AN OPEN INVESTIGATION
9 June – 30 July 2016
UM Gallery, UMPRUM in Prague
nám. J. Palacha 80, Prague 1, umprum.cz
Open from Wednesday 8 June at 7 pm, together with the Artsemestr exhibition
9 – 13 June, daily 10 am – 6 pm
14 June – 30 July, Mon – Sat 10 am – 6 pm
5 UNEASY PIECES features works by Adam Chodzko, Stephan Dillemuth, Constantinos Hadzinikolaou, Anja Kirschner, and Nova Melancholia with Dora Economou, that deal with notions of being 'behind the scenes’ and looking at another person through the prism of their work and the ‘horror’ that may have accompanied the conditions of its making.
As such it is not only about display, but also about processes. Therefore, there will be no “opening night” in which a fixed arrangement can be taken in as a whole, rather the 5 pieces will get partially assembled and disassembled throughout the duration of the exhibition so that each can be seen in turn, in changing configuration with the others. At different intervals, rehearsals, performances and screenings will change the character of the space, inflecting it towards being a stage, backstage, auditorium and investigations room, without ever 'easily' settling for just one or the other.
Throughout, a proportion of the space will be used for AN OPEN INVESTIGATION dedicated to the work and influence of the seminal Czech screenwriter, production and costume designer, dramaturge, director and artist Ester Krumbachová (1923 - 1996), best known for her long-term collaboration with Věra Chytilová (Daisies) and other leading directors of the Czechoslovak new wave, such as Jan Němec (The Party and the Guests) and Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and her Week of Wonders).
In dialogue with and through the other works, this on-going DIY research effort, undertaken together with students, invited guests, and the interested public, will manifest itself as a series of encounters, events and actions, opening onto Krumbachová's formidable contribution to cinema.
Krumbachová’s practise here figures as both a concrete and exemplary beacon which illuminates the hidden and often more opaque side of working-with-and-through-others. As the scholar Antonín J. Liehm noted, giving impetus and direction to the inquiry:
“[Ester Krumbachová] long anticipated the artistic and visual fin-de-siècle inspiration that has since become a fad throughout the world. Her thinking and what she wrote (which for the most part went unpublished) became an ideological hinterland, a framework, for many films. And because she never refused to help anyone who was at his wit's end [...] we will frequently find the imprint of her hand where her signature is missing. That is why it is so difficult to measure the degree of her artistic influence, which, in its own way, was a very fundamental one.” (Antonín J. Liehm, Closely Watched Films – The Czechoslovak Experience, International Arts and Science Press, New York, 1974.)
In bringing 5 UNEASY PIECES and AN OPEN INVESTIGATION to bear upon each other one may detect non-synthetic affinities between Nova Melancholia and Dora Economou’s invocation of Sachtouris' poetry (in Ectoplasms), Hadzinikolaou’s reverent ventriloquising of the figure of Aspa Stasinopoulou (in Aspa and Lost Spring), Chodzko’s surprising find behind Pasolini's Salò (in ‘Reunion; Salò’), Dillemuth’s «hard way» into meanings and materials (in ‘the pleasures of now’) and Kirschner’s incursion into the horror genre (in Moderation).
The exhibition and related program are curated by Anja Kirschner and organized by Are | are-events.org in association with UMPRUM in Prague and LUX, London. Supported by the Goethe-Institut in Prague, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Czech Republic, the Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic, and Prague City Hall. Special thanks to The Emblem Hotel.