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Curatorial Text / MeetFactory Gallery / Between the Walls

4.12.2014 – 8.2.2015


Walls are the determinants of spatial relationships, defining space and providing it with structure. A wall lays down frontiers, divides the out from the within. It determines the possibilities of what can happen behind it, in front of it or around it. It gives rise to something, letting other things go. A wall does not just divide two spaces, but constitutes their connection at the same time, being a common point where the two spaces meet. A wall disturbs and changes the space it enters and builds a new one. However, it never stands for itself: what a wall is, that is given by its relationships within its neighborhood. It defines the character of those who have something to do with it, as well as those relating to the wall define its meaning and character. The context of a wall keeps changing, the same as the wall itself keeps altering the surrounding contexts by its mere existence. Yet it’s always been specific moments and specific contexts the wall brings to life. How to ponder the wall, how to relate to it, how to experience it? 
The Between the Walls exhibition at MeetFactory Gallery tries to capture, in the works of four contemporary artists, four specific interpretations of the wall. In his work, Czech artist Martin Dašek continues to question the physical possibilities of space, both in the gallery milieu and in the public space. His enormous installation Mark VI can even be felt as a violent step into the viewers’ comfort zone. It disturbs and limits one’s possibilities to move, authoritatively setting the way of the viewers’ gait, the bend of their bodies or their ways of maintaining balance. The slanted and deformed arch, however, despite its stability and passability, creates the impression of a massive barrier when viewed from another angle.

The spatial object by American artist of Korean descent Hong Seon Jang is a comment on the transition between the familiar environment of one’s home and certain separation from it. Home furniture covered with a one-color carpet creates a unified monument in space. Familiar shapes of tables and cabinets are subdued under the accumulated collage of upholstery, which – on the one hand – evokes the relationship of an individual to everyday objects, but also certain tension between the individual – single pieces of furniture – and collective memory – the monument.

British artist Terry Smith planted his work directly in one of the gallery’s walls, as the continuation of his long-term series of wall cuts. A simple silhouette of a door uses the visuality of the wall itself and refers to the process of its origin, both by the trial cuts in the neighboring wall and by preserving the fallen plaster. The unmasked masonry layers point at a reverse function of the wall; in everyday functioning, we primarily relate, in an utilitarian or aesthetic way, to the doors, a passage from one place to another, inclined not to notice the walls in which the doors are set.

The triptych of Korean artist Deok Yeoung Gim introducesthe overlap with virtual reality, but also with the TV-mediated violence. The first room is the simulation ofa virtual arena and laser points sent out in the surrounding space entangle the viewer in the violence game. This is frozen later at the exit into the next room. The monumental object is a kind of a paraphrase of cruelty put to a halt, a warfare stop-time. The triplet is completed with a video that interconnects both previous rooms in a sort of grotesque manner.

In 1802, the third US President Thomas Jefferson answered the letter of the Baptist Association in Danbury, which was full of worries that religious freedoms might be lost in the newly established legal system of the state. The nervousness of the alarmed Anabaptist minority was obvious. After a couple of months of thought, the President answered the Baptists by referring to the first Amendment of the Constitution, on the freedom of religious denomination, and adding that religion is a private affair between the individual believer and his or her God, and that it is necessary to “erect a wall between the church and the state”. The vigor of thus formulated dividing line between two fundamental elements of social and political life of the period led to one of the most frequently interpreted legislative formulations in modern history. Yet just a few months before Jefferson was elected President, the Congregationalist families in New England, in an uncomfortable foreboding of an iconoclasm that might spring from the President’s election campaign, were hiding the Holy Scripture in wells or burying it in the ground. Just in case the Washington Administration would decide to destroy it.  

Zuzana Jakalová