Vernissage: ‘Nothing under the Sun – Nobody in a Box’ 23.11.2018
David Helan & Marek Hlaváč (performance)
and the white label Gang
curated by Mark Divo and Isabell Alexandra M.
shown at Vinohradská 122, Praha 3.
Nothing new under the sun
No one in a box
the solution is very pleased to present this very special joint exhibition of work by Marek Hlavac (*1988), David Helan (*1979), Emilia Vere (*1991), and the „while label gang“ (*1966), curated by Mark Divo, and in cooperation with Isabell Alexandra M. as the exhibition architect. Special thanks go out to emerging art critics and ambitious artists, craving for international fame.
The exhibitions Nothing new under the sun and No one in a box are already linked by their titles. However, it was not our intention to frame the group exhibition of Marek Hlavac , Emilia Vere, David Helan and the while label gang. When looking at the entire work it is not clear if there is only one, two, three or four artists. But we only want to connect the work of both artists in the places where it actually connects, not to violently create contexts. We wanted to leave their individual autonomy intact. Of course, it is tempting for us to look for parallels in their work and we easily find them on various levels, but we must not generalize. About Emilia Vere, the theoretician and hobby psychologist Mark Divo wrote that, “She was a great friend, but bilateral relations suited her temperament more than a group consciousness. She went her own way. With absolute openness she accepted each new subject and rejected influences. She enjoyed transformations.Veres installation works differed more and more from what was arising in the sculpture workshops of his generation. Living on the street she tried out all modalities of solitude and independence. She didn’t like it at all.”
The while label gang can be similarly described (as well as several other gender neutral artist collectives , of course) because their visual work at home or in the studio is very important for them despite the fact that they are constantly moving around the city. The gang is interested in the ever-present, consuming work of other artists and is even compulsive about it; these are often self-taught, naive artists as well as those who were diagnosed as mentally ill by society. Art that is completely undetached from the artist creates unalienated work, which, we believe, brings themes flowing from a constant process of arising that is non-speculative and inexhaustible. These themes, even though they arise at the margins, have their own effect at the moment when they are brought out into the daylight, into the a public house. Even though they are not intentionally political, they are innately critical and reflective, and even through time, which renders many works silent, these works do not end up as merely decorative objects. This has already been proven with the works of Emilia Vere, which were created under circumstances that are different from those of normal people and are still able to communicate. We have therefore exhibited pone of her creations in this exhibition.
The artistic salon is a place that interests us. It is the border between where something is created in isolation, which afterwards comes into the light of the world as a public object, and the conception of the exhibition emphasizes this. The living room behind the gallery space is a kind of salon, and an allusion to the studio of Pablo Picasso in Paris, where all kinds of rubbish were also installed in an exhibition featuring indoor walls (where they hung for many years). We are very happy that the exhibition’s architect – in the very broad meaning of the term “exhibition architect” – was the artist Isabell Alexandra M. We wanted people to be able to walk through the exhibition and make a connection between the separate spaces of the gallery, the external and internal spaces to create a parallel with the internal work and its impression on the outside and vice versa. Isabell created this artistic concept for the exhibition, which importantly connects the entrance and the toilet with one long bookshelf and other elements which straddle the border of individual works and the architecture of the exhibition.
Perhaps it is too strong a parallel, but all four artists, that is, David Helan and Marek Hlavac , just like Emilia Vere, and the while label gang, break the stereotypical gender imbalances between male and female artists, but without reversing them, either. Unlike any couples such as Romeo and Juliet and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, neither of the artist was, or is, overshadowed by the others. This is necessary to say, especially today when such things are increasingly discussed among us and there has been wider reflection on fashionable studies. We are therefore pleased that at this exhibition we can also openly introduce several new drinks at the bar. One question is: how would you feel feel being a part of this society of predominantly male alcoholics, drug users and wannabe artists as we see in photographs from Facebook and instagram. Do you have to ‘show your underpants’ and cleverness more in order to get a drink faster? Mark Divo knows that all the artists in the show felt comfortable being intoxicated by strong alcoholic beverages , which is a kind of anomaly in post-cocain Prague and even in villages. But how do today’s party crowd of art lovers feel after so much drink?
But if this exhibition discusses nihilism, then it does so more by expressing the world of nothing, which is a significant theme throughout the work of Marek Hlavac . It is certainly not a coincidence that Hlavac repeatedly depicts abstract structures and things connected to the ephemera world of rave culture. Nobody in a Box, in its many variations, and Nothing new under the Sun, at first glance, express an internal conflict of the ordinary, modern WORLD. But is this really the case? Isn’t nothing a ever-present subject that surrounds everybody – like no persons in the box, or nobody on a pedestal, or just like a lavatory seat that is constantly moving around, on which one relaxes, contemplates, or converses with colleagues on the toilet? Is it not the expression of the material essence of sound sculpture that Hlavac later overcomes by leaning towards conceptual expression and an emphasis on procedure? The exposure of nothing to sunlight certainly has more symbolic meanings interwoven with the prosaic ones since Hlavac actually spent most of his holidays close to nature in the czech countryside , and which for him was always a source of inspiration, an aid for expressing his feelings and thoughts and always a good excuse for a party. Nothing under the Sun could also be the negation of tomorrow, a sci-fi nothing who unites his powers with the sun, one who does not only have to fulfill a stupid idea.
Performance for David Helan is, on the other hand, a symbol of enclosure, liberty, but also of freedom, from where it is possible to observe the world and have his own thoughts. This seems to be a sign of how the body is used in many cultures, even modern cultures – as an object which is placed into a box or exposed to the sun, enclosed in a home or representing the idea of natural forces. Nothing under the Sun can be, according to Helan, a metaphor for a artist who has succeeded in getting into the light and conversely for those artists who voluntarily remained hidden in their closets or were swallowed up by arguments within families or simply forgotten, present only in the local pub or not even.No one in a Box may depict a person who is not allowed to, or does not know how to, engage politically in public. This person says “my feelings are nobody buissnes” and then enters the public space where he sees heaps of rubbish and the complexity of the world doesn’t stun him because it didn’t interest him in the first place.