Exhibition by the Czech artist MARK THER, featuring his award winning film Das Wandernde Sternlein, 2011.
The film takes place in the dark forest of the Czech frontiers, the Sudetenland, and presents woods and wilderness as the site of childhood nightmares and secret rituals.
Exhibition opening: Thursday, March 21 at 7PM. Open through May 9.
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To enumerate all the possibilities of meaning and pathos one finds in the vast oeuvre of Mark Ther, who, in his late 20s, has already become a prolific video artist in the Czech Republic, one would have to write an entire book. Rather than producing a body of work that boasts a coherent message, Ther’s videos – incredibly short, cinematic, hilarious, and confusing – have concerned themselves with the enunciation of a definitive style, a style that is marked by the joyful revivification of a camp aesthetic that is as sophisticated as it is playful, as well as a flippant sense of humor that has its roots in Eastern European absurdism. What distinguishes Ther’s work from that of other contemporary Czech artists is its fearless exploration of sexuality and transgenderism, topics that he manages to engage in without politicizing his commitment. Unlike most video artists belonging to his generation, Ther experiments with narrative in all of his videos; his is a liberated – and liberating – approach, one that isn’t blinded by the conceits of age. Although they frequently, through music and visuals, hearken back to the 1980s, perhaps the kitschiest decade yet, there’s something timeless in so many of these pieces that make them work so well in the here and now. Perhaps we’d do best to call it Ther’s time.
-By Travis Jeppesen
Das wandernde Sternlein, 2011, 20min, FullHD
The video Das wandernde Sternlein, awarded in 2011 with the Jindrich Chalupecky Award, cumulates several issues and strategies used by its author Mark Ther in his previous work.
The story begins with a tale narrated by a very old lady in Sudeten dialect. She brings us in the times of late 1930s and she reminds us how one of the children she knew disappeared in the woods under very odd circumstances. Then we see a wood in late afternoon, soon will be dark. A man is chasing a 11–year-old boy. Then the man molests the child and finally strangles him. This scene is very realistic, but very unnatural in the same time. After that we have a detailed look at the dead children´s body, when the rapist leaves.
The video was awarded by an international committee for Ther's “courage to overcome social prejudices and taboos”. On the other hand, the video Das wandernde Sternlein was received also with controversy, especially by parents and conservatives. ~Ladislav Zikmund-Lender
Mark Ther is the 2011 Jiri Chalupecky Prize finalist.