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Janek Rous (CZ): Sound from the Desert

Ke Sklárně 3213/15, Praha MeetFactory

9. 4. - 3. 5. 2015


Curator: Karina Kottová

Opening: 9th April 2015, 19.00

Exhibition duration: 10th April – 3rd May 2015

The spatial story Janek Rous has created by means of his video installation, tailor-made for the Kostka Gallery, plays around with the thin line between dreaming and awakening, the “higher” reality, subjective imagination and illusion. The mosaic of figures in an open plain is composed of seemingly realistic fragments that made a logical whole still a while ago. However, now their relationship escapes the awakening man. He forgets but the sensation remains. The infinite horizon in which the figures are put reminds us of surrealist canvasses, but the third (and fourth?) dimension in Rous’ installation further intensifies the well known and yet so hard to describe feeling – though all seems quite clear in the realm of dream, in the flat dreariness of the morning creeping in we cannot grasp these dimensions we were walking through while sleeping. Thus the final memory is somewhat shattered – we may remember a fragment of a dialogue, or someone’s face will flash through. 

The five-channel projection transfers into the gallery space a moment of a special encounter, one that is not told to the end, and yet is a narrative. Its monumental air provokes a question – is it a fading dream of somebody still peacefully lying in bed, or even an experience much more difficult to grasp – a vision of a man who really found himself in a “desert” and became witness to a wonderful action. Is it all a mirage? Is the presence of figures in this empty landscape, seemingly with no mutual relationships, a shear optical illusion? They might have walked through this place before, or they just previously appeared quite somewhere else.

Similar illusory phenomena usually arouse a dual reaction: wonder and doubt. We are too rational to believe in these images, yet at the same time too emotional not to be fascinated by them. We laugh gladly at the absurdity of the Photoshop collage of a landscape unwittingly crossed by a UFO, yet the idea that it might be real makes us shiver slightly. However, what we are most fascinated by – and what we doubt the most at the same time – are not so much the sailboats hovering above the ocean or the illusory oases in a desert, but that which is the most natural and most wonderful at the same time: our own life, which unfolds freely when we do not think about it, and evades us as soon as we focus on it. Should you find yourselves in a desert all of a sudden, what would you say? And who to?


Janek Rous (*1981) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, the Monumental Art studio of Jiří Příhoda. He spent one semester at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Rous works especially in the media of video art, installation and performance. With his projects he creates absurd-poetic parallels to the day-to-day life: dealing with “publicly useless activities” such as shaking off the snow from the trees during heavy snowfall or watering artificial flowers with one’s urine after drinking rain water. His latest projects show a shift toward the relationship between the realm of reality and unexplained phenomena, or slightly parodied personal mythologies. He has presented his artwork both in solo and group exhibitions at a number of Czech independent institutions but also internationally, e.g. in the Krakow Bunkier Sztuki, MWW Wroclav, the Kunstverein in Bonn and more.

Open daily 1 – 8 pm and according to the evening program. Voluntary admission fee.