MeetFactory, o. p. s.
Ke Sklárně 3213/15
150 00 Praha 5
13:00 do 20:00 + based on evening program
19. 1. -
20. 3. 2022
18. 1. 19:00
The exhibition Studnice moudrosti / Wells of Wisdom attempts to answer the question of how our corporeality influences our understanding and experience of the world, and how the body itself can be a source of knowledge. (1) We begin from the experience that in a patriarchal society (2) (in which we still live – we’re not talking about the Middle Ages here!), the body that is perceived as socially neutral, original, “Adam-like” and therefore naturally superior, is the body of the cisgender man. What we are interested in, however, is the experience and knowledge of bodies that are seen as “other” from this perspective. However, we do not wish to perpetuate a binary logic by describing these bodies merely as female. The notional well of wisdom of the exhibition title includes richness and knowledge that exceeds the gender identities of the cis and trans women who are mostly represented in this exhibition.
Each of us has an experience acquired through corporeal experience, but even so, it cannot be described as universal – not even within a single gender. Despite this fact, we search for what connects the exhibiting artists in the context of corporeality, without calling their individuality into question. More than biological processes and experiences that are tied to changes in the body, experiences of cyclicity, or pain and pleasure, we witness the arising of social connections. We realise that the inequalities we experience are not caused by our bodies, are not natural (or, on the contrary, unnatural or “deviant” if they defy binary gender norms). The difference of our bodies from the “neutral” patriarchal body, however, allows society to legitimise and normalise these inequalities.
The exhibition therefore wants to be a space in which to reflect upon the vulnerability of our bodies, which is not determined by a supposed fragility or weakness but by the hostility of an androcentric world. It is also, however, a celebration of their vitality and beauty. A majority of the exhibited works focuses on the most intimate parts of the body, which we see as imprints of the artists’ individuality as well as striking symbols – gates to the wisdom of our bodies, nodal points of pleasure and pain, spaces of joyously giving ourselves to others and also spaces of plundering and violence. These are parts of our bodies that we must expose or cover up against our will.
The exhibiting artists share a particular openness with which they approach the experience and knowledge of the body, accepting it (or attempting to do so through the work), examining it, and reporting on it. It was important for us to compose into a single living organism the works of artists of several generations, turning to the body as a source of knowledge about the self and the world around us from various perspectives and positions, but always with certainty and self-confidence. Thus, the exhibition brings together Toyen’s illustrations from the 1930s, which surprise us with their freshness, the feminist works of Jana Želibská from the 1960s, Veronika Bromová’s now iconic photographs from late in the 20th century, and the newest works, by Czech artists Marie Lukáčová and Romana Drdová, created especially for this exhibition. The exhibition is bound together by a significant curatorial vision of exhibition architecture, executed in collaboration with the architectural duo Stibitz & Stibitz.
(1) At this point, it is appropriate to articulate our own position as white, middle-class, heterosexual cis women.
(2)The patriarchy is here taken to understand general male dominion in the world – not just over women but over the structure of social relationships in general.