2013, video, 12:05 minutes, found footage from the 17 Moments of Spring TV series, voiceover; 3 drawings, ink and water colour on paper, variable dimensions; carpet; 3 pedestals
Kostka Gallery, Prague, 28. 2. – 17. 3. 2013, curated by Karina Kottová
translated from Czech by Karina Kottová, the Czech voiceover read by Dominik Gajarský, the English voiceover read by John Comer, sound Jakub Jurásek
The project tells the tale of the search for a privileged space for art in a manner of a spy movie. It draws on two sources of material: firstly, the thoughts of the late 18th Century German thinkers, who saw beauty and the arts as a means of achieving freedom and true humanity, and secondly, a Soviet television series called 17 Moments of Spring (1973), which tells the story of a Soviet secret agent who has infiltrated into the Nazi German elite in the final months of World War II.
We see the Soviet agent cracking a coded message using a clue that he has found in a volume of Schiller’s collected writings. The message describes a real historical scene from the life of Friedrich Hölderlin, reported in one of his letters from 1794, when he and Goethe met in Schiller’s house and failed to recognize each other. All the three poets believed that human society could be cultivated through the aesthetics. The failure of recognition described in the video could be read as a metaphor for the transfer of the ideals of modernist aesthetics to the political reality of modern age.
exhibition view, Kostka Gallery, photo Markéta Magidová
exhibition view, Le Musée d’art contemporain, photo Blaise Adilon