Kateřina Konvalinová & Judita Levitnerová

Work exhibited in the Trade Fair Palace:

Rusty Sheep Dreaming / 2024 / multimedia installation / sound (15 min), art protis by and with: sheep of Skudde, Zwartbles and Jacob breed, Jednorožec (Unicorn) Farm, Jiří Santner (shepherd/ sheep shearer), weaving mill Strmilov (Filip Kubák), Eva Vobrová (Dobroděj), Faculty of Textile Engineering TU Liberec (Jiří Chaloupek), Ivo Brzobohatý, Judita Levitnerová, Kateřina Konvalinová / text: Lucie Rosenfeldová, Kateřina Konvalinová / sound: Jan Kašpar, Jiří Žák / courtesy of the artists. Made within the specific research project at FaVU-J-24-8619

Rusty Sheep Dreaming, 2024, Biennale Matter of Art 2024, National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (c) Jonáš Verešpej

In their work for the biennale, Kateřina Konvalinová (lives in Prague, b. Pardubice (Czech republic), 1991) and Judita Levitnerová (lives in Brno, b. Hradec Králové (Czech republic), 1991) bring together their interests in the textile industry and sheep wool production. They want to make sheep the heroines of this history. They shift the focus from a human perspective to a broader, more-than-human outlook. They express their concern for animal well-being and ethical practices in sheep keeping and breeding. In the 19th century, the Czech textile industry became famous for producing high-quality wool. Its center Brno was even called “the Moravian Manchester”. During state socialist times, new technologies, such as the Art Protis technique, were developed to create cheap tapestries on an industrial scale. The artists are interested in the changes in the textile and sheep wool industry after the socialist era. After 1989, wool lost much of its value, and Art Protis technology became outdated.

They embrace but also question this idea of uselessness. They make an Art Protis tapestry from wool considered as “trash”. If they didn’t use it, it would end up on the dung heap on the farm where Kateřina Konvalinová is working. This act connects the useless wool to the Art Protis machine that Judita Levitnerová uses, now seen as a dead end in the textile industry. Visitors are invited to touch, sit, or lie down on the textile work. At the same time, they can listen to an audio piece that combines the sound of pastures, herd manipulations and shearing (cutting wool off a sheep) with short stories and comments by the artists.

From the archive of Kateřina Konvalinová

Kateřina Konvalinová is an audiovisual artist and performer based in Prague. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (2014–2020), she enrolled in a three-year educational program focused on ecological and regenerative agriculture and husbandry. She completed an internship at Inland – Campo Adentro, where she met and worked with shepherdess Julia. Currently, she is working on her PhD project Art it extended field at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology, where she is doing research on initiatives, collectives, and other types of collaborative practices connected to art, agriculture, and economic autonomy, approaching this theme from a feminist perspective of care.

Judita Levitnerová (c) Lucia Sceranková

After graduating from the University of Ostrava, Judita Levitnerová continued her studies in the Intermedia Studio at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology, where she is currently working on her dissertation on the subject of contemporary informel, which includes, among other things, an interest in the Art Protis technique, viewed from the feminist perspective of women’s work. Her artistic practice is based primarily on the medium of painting, but she also transfers her painting techniques into her work with other art forms, be it objects, applied fashion, or live visual accompaniments to musical performances. She has worked repeatedly with the method of imitation, which she sees primarily as another method of approaching the subject she is exploring and as a way of caring for forgotten artistic techniques. She collaborated with the Intermedia Studio and Brno’s HaDivadlo on the creation of the theater play Sedimenty diagnózy wellness [Sediments, diagnoses, wellness], for which a book of the same name was published. Since 2019 she has participated in the program of Gallery 209, and she subsequently worked at the FFA Gallery and the Blansko City Gallery. Her work has been presented in group exhibitions in institutions such as the House of the Lords of Kunštát, Pragovka, and Holešovická šachta. She is one of the laureates of the 2024 Jindřich Chalupecký Award.