Czech Republic

Epiphany – Frontiers of Solitude

7 September 2016 to 22 October 2016

Dům umění Ústí nad Labem
September – October 2016

An exhibition and symposium created within the framework of the international transdisciplinary project Frontiers of Solitude.

.. there are many, many other worlds, yes, but they are all hidden within this one. And so to neglect this humble, imperfect, and infinitely mysterious world is to recklessly endanger all the others.
Earth in Eclipse-an Essay on the Philosophy of Science and Ethics
David Abram

Aside from its biblical, gnostic, or metaphysical meaning, the term epiphany also raises issues concerning the relationship between humans and nature and the boundaries of thought, belief and epistemology. Where does the sacred lead and where does the profane begin? Where does the revealed come from, and what does it consist of? The idea of revelation and its embodiment affects our relationship with the sacred, as well as our neighbors, and also our sense of belonging to a physical world, which we are increasingly remaking in our image. What kind of image is it? We will need to reevaluate our technological approach to the environment, which we understand reflexively as an inexhaustible deposit, a source of energy, as a free reservoir for exclusively human use.

A criticism of “disenchantment,” of the alienation of humankind toward the biological world, is found in different areas of contemporary science, humanities, religion, philosophy, economics and art. It is becoming evident that this is a dangerous and complex cluster of values, interests and assumptions, providing the elites with access to unimaginable wealth, and sacrificing the rest of the biosphere, edging us nearer to the environmental extreme of physical survival.

The project Frontiers of Solitude develops this discourse. The exhibition and the accompanying program serve as an attempt to outline the relationships among the cultural, economic, and ethical issues of the environmental challenges we currently face. In 2015, Frontiers of Solitude launched three separate expeditions to ecologically threatened areas of Europe. In addition, the project has offered a series of exhibitions, meetings, workshops and symposia. The expedition “Into the Abyss of Lignite Clouds” took place in the Most lignite coal basin in the Czech Republic. The participants researched the morphology and the history of this region -- a landscape that has been heavily transformed to a depth of several hundred meters by industrial exploitation. The toxic Black Triangle, which is defined roughly as a carbon-rich area between Sokolov, Litvínov, Bad Brambach and Katowice, has softened its boundaries somewhat since 1989, and, on the whole, has grown.

The exhibition presents several works that were produced by artists participating in the project - Elvar Már Kjartansson, Pavel Mrkus, Robert Vlasak, Martin Zet, Vladimír Turner, Julia Martin).

In this extended form, the project focus shifts to both local and global contexts through a selection of works by several Czech and foreign artists, whose approach resonates with issues that the project raises: Steina Vasulka [IS], Layla Curtis [UK],, Michal Kindernay and Paul Chaney [UK]). These works are enriched by a few contextual interventions and artifacts, such as a selection of apocalyptic documentary photography from the series of Ore Mountains landscapes by Josef Koudelka (Black Triangle-1990-1994), as well as a stage-design-like intervention by JSD - Peerless Brotherhood of the Holy Nurture from The Universal Psychiatric Church 316a (UPSYCH) in Kuřivody.

The exhibition outlines the cross-connections among various social, psychological, mythical, economic and cultural landscapes. The works reflect the process of a larger-scale globalization and touch not just upon the perspectives of geology, meteorology, energy and ethics, but also try to penetrate into the lower depths of the demonology of the landscape of the 21st century.

An accompanying program and an interdisciplinary symposium will be dedicated to the problems of Art and the Anthropocene, and is scheduled for October 19, 2016.

The schedule and program of the symposium The Landscape in Focus will be announced as soon as possible.

preliminary program see Krajina v pozoru/The Landscape in Focus

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Orka,Steina, installation view, foto: Jachym Myslivec

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