participating artists: Jesper Alvaer, Zbyněk Baladrán, Daniela Baráčková, Ondřej Brody and Kristofer Paetau, Milena Dopitová, Konstantinos-Antonios Goutos, Alena Kotzmannová, Radim Labuda, Ján Mančuška and Jonas Dahlberg, Michal Pěchouček, Pavla Sceranková, Sláva Sobotovičová, Ivan Svoboda, Jan Šerých, Mark Ther, Martin Zet
… for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also a cast of the dice … A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
This exhibition is a representative show of the contemporary Czech art of motion pictures, without claiming to be objective. While conceiving its framework, I gradually gave up my initial ambition to achieve an overview that would encompass all the remarkable examples of video work. On the contrary, I attached greater importance to my personal feeling about the qualities of the particular works and their potential to form an interesting whole.
When deciding in favour of a particular work, I was, in the end, always led by a feeling that I am attached to it by a kind of point, a detail which is an extra element here. Something that isn’t part of the work’s identity as it could be defined by the categories of medium, genre, theme, tendency, context etc., but something that makes the work special particularly by being so groundless.
To refer to Barthes’ usage of the word “punctum” when formulating the conception of the exhibition allows a considerable freedom, but at the same time it creates a certain contradiction. There is no guarantee that the viewer will perceive a “punctum” in a particular work. It seems to me, however, that it is this paradoxical effort, which represents one of the most interesting aspects of the contemporary conceptual approach – making a preconceived scheme, in which additional value is created, while this value appears meaningless in relation to that scheme; the conditions are intentionally set to cause a short circuit; the invocation of an accident. This is the kind of thinking that the exhibition would like to stress.
The artists we approached are people from the contemporary Prague scene, representing the conceptual approach to video. A vast majority of these artists don’t consider themselves to be exclusively “video artists”, the video being just one of a number of media they use. Most of the exhibited works border on stylized video, a documentary coverage of reality, performance and installation. The exhibition is loosely structured around themes. These aspects are gaining at least a semblance of a frame. In my opinion, however, the cracks in the walls of this structure are more interesting than the structure itself.
exhibition view, photo Futura, Tomáš Souček