Matter of Art

Jiří Žák – It Was Probably Our Karel, She Said

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It Was Probably Our Karel, She Said was one of the twelve new artworks commissioned for the exhibition Biennale Matter of Art Prague 2020. Due to the government restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition was prematurely closed and therefore many people missed it. We have managed to shift a minor part of the program online, including two commissioned artworks with the kind permission of the authors. Aside from this video by Jiří Žák, you may now also stream Alžběta Bačíková's film Lavish Issue here.

It Was Probably Our Karel, She Said is a poetic tale of a man who we get to know as a sensitive individual with artistic interests and ambitions, and also as someone with an interest in weapons. A combination of family ties and the social and political context in which he lives lead him to decide to commit a violent act. The installation is inspired by actual events, but it nevertheless blends fact with fiction. It is thus a distinctive reflection on our country’s post-communist transformation, with a focus on its wilder, more criminal side. In the main role are the Musela brothers, weapons manufacturers. The younger Pavel, nicknamed the “king of the weapons industry,” was involved in the controversial privatization of the Most Coal Company in the 1990s. In 2008, he was found in the woods near Zlín under suspicious circumstances, with serious, permanent brain injuries. His older brother Karel, among other things a passio- nate landscape painter, was convinced that Pavel was attacked by people from a rival weapons company, and so he decides to avenge him.

Jiří Žák (*1989) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 2016. He works primarily with video, and in his projects he addresses specific sociopolitical themes in relation both to history and to present times. By means of experimental films, video essays, and installations he explores ambiguous and complex aspects of today’s society. He lives and works in Prague.

Jiří Žák – It Was Probably Our Karel, She Said
2020; Video, color, sound, 23′
Written directed and edited by Jiří Žák
Starring: Husam Abed
Director of Photography: Michal Blecha
Music: Cyril Kaplan ft. Husam Abed
Sound: Adam Bláha, Petr Michal
Light Design: Václav Hruška
Thanks to: Kateřina Konvalinová, Marie Novotná, Adrian Altman, Jan Tomšů, Jirka Skála, Venuše ve Švehlovce

Commissioned and produced by Biennale Matter of Art.
Courtesy Jiří Žák (c) all rights reserved