By Àngels Miralda, curator
We are dragged down by gravity, by the slowness of invention, by the viscosity of wet concrete. While a small organic sprout died of exposure on the moon, our home planet is increasingly filled with toxicity. Toxic air… earth… water. Imagine the protective garments needed to shield ourselves from our environment as extra-planetary conditions come to pass on planet Earth. This exhibition proposes a critical junction in critique and a solution through science-fiction narratives. The artists’ work with future environments as a way to analyse current earthly predicaments. Extra-Planetary Commitment is not so much about space flight as it is about the freedom of imagination to critique current establishments and political practices as well as our contemporary daily life.
Technology is already redefining the human body and our relationship to nature. Artworks compare the pictorial space of the imaginary with the sculptural conditions of material reality. While imagination can expand into worlds free of gravitation and time, sculptural materiality gives way to a non-human agency. Considerations of bodies and limits appear in Evita Vasiljeva’s concrete, and PVC humanoid forms are emitting hormonal variations or gentle breathing gestures. Ad Minoliti’s abstract bodies replay modernism in an age of bodily re-definition where gender vanishes and is replaced by cyborg geometric sensualities. Cyborg bodies are brought up in Julia Varela’s Mehr Fantasie in which plasma-screen powder is used as a sinister masque alluding to the smothering powder of the waste of human progress. This abstract powder next to Vasiljeva’s breathing sculptures transmit the choked hazard of post-human toxic earth. In a mystic turn, Botond Keresztesi’s collaged elements see a world of insect warriors in abstract spatial planes –a universe parallel to ours made of references to digital space and modernism.
Modernism features in the compositional gestures of Minoliti and Keresztesi. The legacy of Suprematism and geometric abstraction lives on in contemporary depictions of space. Digital imaging software programmes have made this space reality – a blank canvas with which to fill with our dreams. Both artists remix the established art historical narrative into new formations and code. The concrete of Vasiljeva’s structures echo the lost dreams of Bauhaus architecture and the ruins of a utopia that never came to be. Varela’s powder corpse of plasma-screen vision lies on the ground like a pulverised black square. One hundred years on from Malevich and Le Corbusier, our material conditions have yet to be overcome. Don’t let the dream die – this is a bid to keep exploring other worlds.
Curated by Àngels Miralda
lítost, Přívozní 1054/2, Holešovice, 170 00, Prague
16 March – 28 April 2019
Featured Image: Installation view of the exhibition Extra-Planetary Commitment, lítost gallery, Prague, 16 March 2019 – 28 April 2019. From left to right: Evita Vasiljeva, ‘Hormones’, (2017), metal, concrete, wood, cable ties, noise sensitive light, wires, each part 25
cm x 57 cm x 57 cm. Courtesy of the artist; Botond Keresztesi, “Miss Universe 1”, black colour airbrush on paper, 29.7 cm x 42 cm. Courtesy of the artist; Botond Keresztesi, “Miss Universe 2”, black colour airbrush on paper, 29.7 cm x 42 cm. Courtesy of the artist; Evita Vasiljeva, ‘There is no Grace in Shrinking’, (2017), latex, pump, plastic tubes, various sizes. Courtesy of the artist; Botond Keresztesi, “The Audience”, black colour airbrush on paper, 29.7 cm x 42 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Lenka Glisníková. © lítost