Being Between

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© Dvorak Sec Contemporary
© Dvorak Sec Contemporary
Being Between
Curated by: Olga Dvorak

Dlouha 5
110 00 Prague
September 10th, 2009 - November 21st, 2009

Czech Republic
Mon-Sat 1-7; Or by appointment.
installation, sculpture


dvorak sec contemporary is very pleased to present Being Between, a group exhibition that presents a diverse group of sculpture and installation. What is today´s sculpture? Why sculpture? What current problems does sculpture address? What makes this ancient image generating technique that long predates classical antiquity relevant today? What effect or validity can an immobile, physically statuesque image pretend to be in an age of highly accelerated, disembodied data and communications transmission?

However, this group exhibition is not so much about culture as about the artists getting to grips with the critical relationship we have with the material objects in our ordinary lives. This reveres first and foremost to all the things we pick up, use, consume, throw away, buy. The piece of sculpture is the antithesis of a mass product and represents in this exhibition a demand for something physically tangible, non-interchangeable.

Marek Kvetán is an artist who regularly experiments with methods of visual communication through the use of installations and new media—internet, video and computers. In the case of his lightboxes—a series entitled TXT Project—Kvetan transforms the text of a diverse collection of literature into abstract mosaics. Using special software, Kvetán converts characters and letters into color, the finished product being abstract granular multi-colored mosaics. They are presented in combined form of light boxes and digital prints. Kvetan’s installation of plates in the gallery creates the effect of unstable building, inciting respect and anxiety. Rather than approach the work, the viewer has the feeling that he instead should avoid it.

Štepánka Šimová (1966), runner-up in the Jindřich Chaloupecký prize, is currently one of the most important figures in the current Czech art scene. In her works, titled Vzduch Temže ( Air of the Thames ), the artist created an installation combining light, movement and the imagination, which was inspired by the spiritual world. The viewer can observe, through foggy plexiglass, indistinct rippling formations in pastel colors. These quivering images, made from nylon fabric, are a direct reference to paper cut-out flags used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. Air of the Thames was created specifically for the gallery space.

Martin Sedlák is one of the most distinct young artists of Slovakia`s art scene. His works encompass a vast spectrum of different types of media, ranging from sculpture to painting and from photography to light installations. The appeal of Sedlák`s works, which can be characterized by an interest in a certain “magic of sight”, is enhanced by an effective use of trendy materials and processes (glowing plastic sheets, thermography etc). Light objects and installations are another one of Martin Sedlák`s interests. In order to create light sculptures, the artist uses neon tubes ( Chair, 2000), luminescent foil ( Gate, 2007) and luminous cables. The combination of rationality and simplified forms is typical of Sedlák`s works as he associates himself with current modernist traditions based on minimalism.

Trong G Nguyen (born 1971), is an artist originally born in Vietnam, though he currently lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, including Sequences 2006 (Iceland), 9th Havana Biennial (Cuba), Conflux 2007 (Brooklyn), and Performa 05 (New York). Trong has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Harvestworks Digital Media Center, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Puffin Foundation. Currently on display in the gallery is Nguyen’s unique interpretation of a classic library. Small plastic bags—resembling the card found in library books reminding the reader of the borrowed book’s due date—are filled with grains of rice. If the viewer looks closely, he will find entire text, first, or last chapters of various books hand written on these grains of rice—one word per grain.

Japanese artist Sako Kojima (b. 1976) has used a variety of mediums including sculpture, performance, photography, and drawing to explore the face of modern society. Whatever the media though, the common element running through all of her works is sensationalism. Whether performing in the faux-fur costume of a rodent or painting small animals in sinister forests, Kojima creates a world brimming with the complex and cynical. Kojima’s works borders with sex fantasies and at the same time hints irony and sadness of human existence. Her trademark rodents display strangely human attitudes and concerns, and present.

New York based artist Daniel Rozin (born 1961 in Jerusalem) creates interactive installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. Even though computers are often used in Rozin's work, they are seldom visible. Mirrors and mediated perception of the self are the central themes in Rozin’s recent work. In many cases the viewer becomes the subject of the piece and in others the viewer is invited to take an active role in the creation or performance of his artwork. Mirrors Mirror is a mechanical sculpture that organizes the 768 square reflective pixels along a picture plane. This piece is the first by Rozin that deflects the person standing before it. Investigating order versus chaos and the inner workings of human visual perception, Mirrors Mirror also explores the borderlines between digital and analog worlds, or virtual and physical experience.

Jana Smělíková`s portrayal of the angel of today is a white, shooting figure. In this piece the artist is questioning, with an air of exaggeration, whether even phenomena like angels and cupids give in to trends. In a world of virtual simulations and bleakness (as it has in-memorably been) appears a figure of a little girl holding a gun that wants to play, protect you or strike you with cupid`s`s difficult to know for sure. Jana Smělíková studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts under the guidance of Jiří Načeradský and professor Petr Veselý and sculpture with professor Gabriel. She also attended an internship in Romania (Faculty of Fine Arts and Design) and in Milan (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera).

Jenny Holzer is best known for her arresting and contradictory texts, and her skillful manipulation of mass media channels ranging from light-emitting diode (LED) signs to street posters, plaques, and even brief television spots. She has also conceived and implemented powerful site-specific installations. Her transformation of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York into a moving spiral of electronic information; her widely praised pavilion at the 1990 Venice Biennale (composed of LEDs, benches and inscribed marble floors); and her recent light projections on iconic buildings have fused the text - be it a declaration, a challenge or a lament - with the architecture and sculpture.

Through installation, assemblage and collage, Mexican artist Hisae Ikenaga (born in 1977) explores the possible physical anomalies developed in mass-produced objects and industrial materials. Fascinated with familiar objects like furniture, cars, planes and motorcycles, she examines, alters and combines them. Ikenaga recreates and changes the genetics of manufactured objects, alluding to risks of malformations—irony, absurdity and humor consistently play a key role in her works.

Shih Chieh Huang (born 1975 in Taiwan)creates installations that merge common, store-bought artificial materials and dissected electronics with air and water to create interactive organic living environments and sculptures. In his creative process, he takes common, everyday items and combines selected parts to form new entities. They then come to life as Huang implements a dynamic system of circulation of water, electricity and air. Having first worked on two-dimensional works, Huang quickly evolved to three-dimensional installations, inspired by everyday household electronic devices. He studied Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York where he starting learning about physical computing and robotics, which took him a step further in the creation of his artificial organic environments.

Julian Opie (born 1958) is a leading contemporary English artist, who uses computerized imagery. On display in the gallery is Antonia with Evening Dress. Initially taking photographs of his subject matter - be it of people, landscapes or still lives - he then digitally manipulates the photographs and constructs his images by a process of elimination and distillation, and through this practice has developed a concise and reductive formal language. Drawing from influences as diverse as billboard signs, 18th Century portraiture, popular comics and Japanese woodblock prints, Opie 'paints' using a vast array of media and technologies.

Working initially as a painter, Richard Stipl (b. 1968 in Czechloslovakia) has recently turned to making sculpture. Stipl’s sculptures reflect a contemporary reinterpretation of a classical art form; rather than employ the traditional use of sculptural busts to glorify a subject, Stipl uses his art as a vehicle that forces us reconsider the role of boundaries and consequent categories of choice that comprise contemporary attitudes and approaches to art-making and art-consumption. Using himself as a model, Richard Stipl’s sculptures are proportionately correct miniatures of himself. The figures, made from clay wax and resin, are dark yet humorous representations of the infinite cycle of recreation and rebirth undergone in a lifetime. He focuses exhaustively on the infinite nature and moment-to-moment paradoxes and singular moments that compose this cycle. The artworks are about ‘capturing an individual, analyzing his expressions, his weaknesses, and his limitations.’

Kateřina Karlová finished her studies at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts with a thesis that was based on her very personal relationship to horses due to the long-term, daily contact she had with them. Her art, mostly based on her positive relationship to animals and nature, is slightly shocking and a bit perverse. Her diploma thesis, "My rocking horse - Bukephalos" was based on an essential desire for the artist to penetrate the soul of a horse and in doing so, achieve a perfect harmony between the horse and the artist. In her rocking horse, she retains the actual size of her horse and thus captures its strength, elegance and beauty, while creating a nostalgic image reminiscent of childhood and pure love.

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