The Young and Restful
Group Art Exhibition
April – May, 2022
Artists: Radka Bodzewicz, Alžběta Bačíková and Veronika Janštová, Dante Buu, Pavel Havrda in cooperation with Veronika Daňhelová, Juliana Höschlová, Semir Mustafa, Michael Nosek (in cooperation with Hana Nosková), Kristýna Šormová, Marie Tučková
13th, April - 29th, May 2022
Curator: Eva Riebová
Production: Jan Vítek
Graphic Design: Richard Wilde, Jan Arndt
Ke Sklárně 3213/15
150 00 Praha 5
Photo: Otto Palán, StudioFlusser
Some artworks in this exhibition are digitally extended.
To experience them, install the Artivive app on your phone.
Open the app and point your phone at the marked artworks to make them come to life.
Mountain I. Black Tree., 2022, mixed media on canvas, 190 x 200 cm, augmented reality layer
© Radka Bodzewicz
The Young and Restful is an exhibition of artists of the very generation that encountered the dominance of conceptual minimalism at schools and galleries during their studies almost ten years ago. As the hand-crafting techniques became the center of international contemporary art, the featured artists took to them in recent years as well. The repetitive rhythm of crafts and haptic material perception bring about the beneficial state of full concentration or flow that is praised by all mindfulness coaches generated by our performance-based society. This is, however, only a theory. Long hours of manual labor may also cause stress, exhaustion, and physical pain. The exhibiting artists often turned to handwork because they were frustrated with either creative arts (the oversaturation of both digital and conceptual art approaches), the societal marginalization, or new living conditions (social isolation connected with early maternity, worsened health state, or the current pandemic). I call them Young and Restful with a touch of humor as they do not shout loudly at today’s challenges but they sew them in, carve them in, dig them in and engrave them in their artworks. But as it turns out, the name fits less and less.
The exhibition is a part of the long-time exhibition cycle of the MeetFactory Gallery called Other Knowledge curated by Tereza Jindrová. It follows forms of knowledge transfer that go against the rational principle that dominates the Western and Central European society. When we craft by our hands, we pass on the experience not only orally through stories but also using motoric memory. Our knit and purl is the same as that of our ancestors, who taught us the craft.
In the spirit of insanity, which is one of the subliminal themes of the exhibition, I interviewed the artists to prepare for the show and understand their personal motivation to use time consuming manual labor. Some of them said it was initiated by a passion for collective creation as an interhuman contact of sharing. On the other side of the spectrum are the artists who exclude such moments of sharing and purposefully isolate themselves. However, it is apparent in both cases that they capture their stories using stitches, cuts, and strokes. If they injure their hands sometimes, they imprint DNA on their art literally.
The materials turn out to be great confessors, both discrete and resistant to pungent confessions. I must also mention the Greco-Roman mythological story analogy of Philomela which I read about while researching the current trend of crocheting in contemporary art by the Bosnian artist Šejla Kamerić. The story, as captured by Ovid in Metamorphoses, is about Philomela who is dragged into mountains, raped, and tortured by her brother-in-law Tereus. He, then, cuts off her tongue to silence her. In the end, Philomela weaves her story into a white yarn and gives it to a servant to bring it to her sister who sets her free. “She was unable to talk as she was mute but her pain inspired her imagination and her misfortune sharpened her mind. She stretched her smart white yarn on someone’s loom and weaved in her fate in purple letters.”
Apart from already stated frustration or need for loosening of the art form, which is being mentioned by artists themselves when talking about learning the craft, another often stressed motif is longing for “return”. Of what? The craft which they mostly learned to do during their teens and later left behind being burned out and fascinated by then new technologies. It is also the return of archetypal work and basic skills which bring back feelings of self-affirmation and “re-anchoring” that are much needed in the times of fluently passing from paralysis of the pandemic to the reality of until recently unimaginable and not-so-distant war in Ukraine.
Eva B. Riebová, curator