Exhibition text in accessible language

This is the text for the exhibition written in accessible language. We have also published an exhibition guide with more extensive texts, where you can get to know the individual works on display in greater detail. You can borrow or purchase the exhibition guide at the cash desk, or its contents are available free of charge here.

Welcome to our exhibition of contemporary art. Its topic was invented by the curatorial group—Rado Ištok, Piotr Sikora, Renan Laru-an, and the tranzit.cz team. These people think about the relations between works of art and the issues we are facing nowadays. A curator’s job is to select works of art for exhibitions. Tranzit.cz is a group of people that organized this exhibition together with the Prague City Gallery. At this exhibition, you can see works by artists from all over the world; some are still alive, and some of them have already died. Here you can find paintings, statues, videos, audio recordings, and installations—that is, groups of various objects put together.

The exhibition topics

For exhibitions, curators usually choose works that are related to certain topics, problems, or questions. This is also our case. Our main topic is people’s vulnerability. Every person has a weak spot, an inner child, or a memory of something painful that happened in the past. But these things can come alive and hurt again. Some people have many weak spots, and others don’t have so many. Some can deal with them easily, while others can find it more difficult. At this exhibition, you can find works about vulnerability. The vulnerability of people but also of things or
of animals. Where and how do injuries appear? Some are caused by injustice in our society. Some injuries are inherited; they are passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes, the most vulnerable among us—people who are excluded for various reasons, ill or handicapped people, children, single mothers who were left alone with their kids, and also animals or things—don’t have a position in our society to tell their stories. This exhibition should be such a place for them. The curators chose these works because they think they can tell these stories. Artworks often give voice to things, animals, or supernatural beings. They want to show us that a human is never an isolated, independent being. Humans never speak only for themselves because they are always connected with their environment—other people, animals, flowers, nature, things, and tools.

Exhibited artworks (Prague City Gallery)

The Laundry Collective has tried to make the gallery a place where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome. Each Tuesday afternoon, the members of the collective will meet at the gallery, and all of you are welcome to join.

Some works at this exhibition tell us about very painful events from history— for example, World War II and violence on large groups of society because of their ethnicity or other differences, such as Jews or Roma. These include works by Ceija Stojka and Charlotte Salomon, who were both very sensitive and at the same time strong female artists who experienced such violence. Hanni Kamaly’s statues relate to more recent incidents caused by hate. The bent characters in Lenka Vítková’s paintings can be seen as images expressing the power of fragility.

Other artworks tell stories about people who found themselves in difficult situations but found various tricks and tools to protect themselves. This applies to Tarek Lakhrissi’s work or videos by Alina Kleytman & Marie Lukáčová based on the old Czech legend of the Maidens’ War—a war between men and women.

Larisa Crunțeanu’s folding screens and Mara Oláh’s paintings are about women’s anger and emotional reactions, which some people have found exaggerated. These works show that anger can be a kind of defense and protection in a difficult situation. Larisa Crunțeanu talks about it through various characters from plays, novels, and poems represented on folding screens. Mara Oláh’s paintings tell stories about situations she lived through. Both artists also point out an unfair situation: the anger of those who are respected in society is often accepted more readily than the anger and rage of those who are marginalized. A listening installation by Bára Šimková expresses anger through a fairy tale. It is about a single mother who is an artist. She needs to take care of her child, create art, and face the fact that others don’t understand or appreciate her.

Other works give voice to things, plants, animals, objects, or supernatural beings. In the video made by the APART collective, oaks play the main role. These trees grow very slowly, and they were supposedly used about five hundred years ago to build ships for voyagers like Christopher Columbus who sailed to America. In Candice Lin’s installations, we see a cat demon who teaches us ancient Chinese healing and martial arts. In the environment made by Patricia Dominguez, we can meet spirits of ancestors who help us heal or teach us how to cure a society which is inconsiderate to both nature and people.

Some artworks at this exhibition are difficult, like Alina Popa’s drawings. Popa was an artist and performer who became seriously ill and died very young. You can look at the drawings she made in bed when she was very ill and could not move. However, this is also life—and even extreme weakness can be transformed into art.

Exhibited artworks (Hospital)

Barbora Kleinhamplová’s video shows seasick people on a boat. The sea has many waves that make the boat rock, so passengers can start feeling bad and sick. In this film, the boat with passengers represents our society. Something is wrong, and people feel uncomfortable and sick because of that.

Michal Bar-Or’s installation shows historic treasures that were stolen. They were dug out of the ground in Israel without permission. We can see photos of the thieves, but we can’t see their faces. What is the difference between finding and stealing something? How do such objects appear in museums? Is it possible that some of the museum artifacts were also stolen from someone?

Hera Büyüktaşcıyan’s film is also a story of various things and objects. It is about tiles made in the town of Rakovník in the Czech Republic. The tiles connect various places in Prague: the underground world of a wastewater treatment plant in the neighborhood of Bubeneč and the Imperial Hotel in the city center. In this film, tiles are associated with cleanliness and water, but they also represent our shared pasts. Sometimes we need to clean the memories of unpleasant events and experiences that we’d prefer to forget.

Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán’s video installation is a critique of our approach to planet Earth, especially in countries outside Europe. We change the landscape and affect its future for millions of years because we want to get precious minerals. The video installation is about diamond mining in Namibia, which has scarred the land and recently also the sea.

Marie Tučková’s work explores when a sound turns into a song and when it is only noise. It is a song for people and their children but also for animals. We can see a river with no life in it. It is an image of all the people and animals that are abused or oppressed. Our society is not caring enough, and it doesn’t protect those who are “not normal.”