Exhibition: February 5 – March 4, 2016
Školská 28 Gallery, Fotograf Gallery and Ex Post
Opening: February 4, 2016 from 6 pm
Školská 28 Gallery and Fotograf Gallery
Symposium: February 5–6, 2016
French Institute in Prague
Frontiers of Solitude is an artistic-sociological-intelligence probe into the context and space of three geographically, artistically, and culturally distant countries. The exhibition presents the outcomes of several months of joint artistic research of twenty artists and curators on the issue of transformation of the current landscape.
The Agosto Foundation is a proud supporter of the Frontiers of Solitude project.
Visual artists living in the Czech Republic, Norway and Iceland were invited to participate and were asked to reflect on personal experiences from one- to three-week expeditions to Iceland, the Most coal basin in northern Bohemia and in Finnmark in subarctic Norway. The expeditions took place in the late summer of 2015. After each expedition, the participants were given approx. five months to formulate and process their concepts. Various versions and forms of realization will successively be presented in three exhibitions in the Czech Republic and potentially also in the partner countries.
A series of exhibitions and accompanying catalogue offer a wide range of personal attitudes, interpretations, strategies and responses related to the specific realities of several types of cultural landscapes. At a deeper level, the project and the individual works resonate with general issues to which today’s society is seeking an answer, or rather a solution. The concept of exhibitions and the individual works usually do not build on abstract concepts on aestheticisation of formal issues and are not based only on indirect information. The exhibited projects are the result of personal confrontations with three specific European countries, from meeting with people and their everyday problems. You can watch the impacts of our economic system, including the impact of industrialization on discrete and obvious layers of landscapes, gradually on the landscape units, with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears. There is no doubt that the landscape in terms of man has never really stopped changing, but only recently we have the opportunity to observe and perceive the changes in mutual relations and broader contexts. We are aware that the project Frontiers of Solitude is part of the art business and economic reality, because to carry out three expeditions meant to move the two dozen people to mutually rather remote “corners” of Europe. We hope that this undertaking in the form of not negligible carbon footprint can be at least symbolically balanced by the urgency of the issue, to which the project addresses.
The Prague exhibition is thematically linked to an international symposium prepared in collaboration with the French Institute in Prague, focusing in particular on the interaction between cultural, political and economic aspects of contemporary notions of space, the environment, the landscape and the land, including the topography of an edge, a transition zone, a limit, its determination and its crossing. Invited were Czech and foreign lecturers – artists, critics, architects, environmentalists, sociologists, philosophers and naturalists who share long-term professional and civic concern about the human impact on the landscape and the earth’s ecosystem.
The exhibition will present works by Czech, Icelandic, and Norwegian artists, directly or indirectly inspired by what the group experienced during a series of three interdisciplinary expeditions to the subarctic regions of Norway, the brown coal basin in northern Bohemia, and the highlands and seashores of Iceland. The challenges of fostering collaboration among artists working together for the first time served also as an artistic and social experiment into the customs of countries that are geographically, artistically and culturally rather remote from each other. As a consequence, the exhibition reveals a broad spectrum of individual attitudes, interpretations, strategies and responses related to the specifics of three types of landscape. In a deeper sense, the works produced reveal shared concerns, and also express the need to reconcile these findings with existing perceptions. The exhibition is part of the international Frontiers of Solitude project, which focuses on current transformations of the landscape and the close connections between our post-industrial civilization and nature, and fosters collaboration and an exchange of experiences between individual artists, researchers and initiatives across Europe. The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive Czech-English catalogue.
The theme of the exhibition will be further elaborated by the interdisciplinary Frontiers of Solitude symposium, co-organised and hosted by the French Institute in Prague. It will offer a comparison of opinions, experiences, and points of view of artists, curators, and other invited guests on the themes of the Anthropocene, landscape and art. It will search for relationships between the cultural, political, and economic aspects of our understanding, and present denotations of words such as Earth, countryside, landscape, and land, including the topography of transitional zones, with an eye on both establishing and crossing over boundaries and limitations. The participating artists, art critics, architects, environmentalists, sociologist, philisophers and scientists have different cultural and professional backgrounds, but they all share a sincere, long-term interest in the impact of human activity on the landscape and Earth’s ecosystems.
How can we express and capture in human—rather than statistical—terms, both the visible and invisible transformations that the landscape undergoes, both locally and globally, with regard to the entire biosphere and climate? Does contemporary art make it possible to orient ourselves within this unstable and ever-changing territory? Do frequent art projects, festivals, and interdisciplinary conferences on the theme of Anthropocene offer viable approaches, possibilities or solutions?
Exhibiting artists: Finnur Arnar Arnarson, Karlotta Blöndal, Gunhild Enger, Þórunn Eymundardóttir, Monika Fryčová, Tommy Høvik, Elvar Már Kjartansson, Alena Kotzmannová, Iselin Lindstad Hauge, Julia Martin, Vladimír Merta, Pavel Mrkus, Greg Pope, Kristín Rúnarsdóttir, Ivar Smedstad, Vladimír Turner, Robert Vlasák, Diana Winklerová, Martin Zet.
Lecturers: Guy van Belle (BE/ CZ), Dustin Breitling (US), Vít Bohal (CZ), Peter Cusack (GB), Petr Gibas (CZ), András Heszky (HU), Stanislav Komárek (CZ), Alena Kotzmannová (CZ), Julia Martin (DE/ IS), Pavel Mrkus (CZ), Ivo Přikryl (CZ), Matěj Spurný (CZ), Tereza Stöckelová (CZ), Martin Škabraha (CZ), Martin Říha (CZ), The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Isabelle Frémeaux /FR/ and John Jordan /GB/)
Both the exhibition and the symposium are part of the Frontiers of Solitude project, which is supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants (Program CZ06 Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Art). The project is a joint initiative of the Školská 28 Gallery (Deai/setkání), the Atelier Nord and the Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts in Iceland.
Frontiers of Solitude
Head Curator: Dagmar Šubrtová (Školská 28 Gallery). Exhibition co-curators: Julia Martin (Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts), Ivar Smedstad (Atelier Nord), Dana Recmanová (Školská 28 Gallery), Michal Kindernay (Školská 28 Gallery). Concept: Miloš Vojtěchovský (Školská 28 Gallery).
Partners: Agosto Foundation, Ex Post, Fotograf Gallery, French Institute in Prague, Hungarian Institute Prague
Media partners: Artmap, A2, jlbjlt, kulturissimo.cz, Scandinavian House
Press Contact: Dagmar Šubrtová, firstname.lastname@example.org