Czech Republic

Martin Zet

Tears and Dust - Artist Statement

At a time when he is unhappy at his life
being absorbed by rationality,
ready to give up received knowledge
and enter into a phase of careful forgetting,
to refuse the taking on new information
but instead to attempt new connections,
he has come first to the edge,
and finally to the bottom, of a crater.
The auspicious sensuality, unguarded and imminent,
its intense seductions from afar,
and their scale, tried to blind him: It is enthralling, thrilling, beautiful,
be it good or evil, helpful or harmful.
It is attractive from a distance, but from close up, blistering.
The body rejects his upwind gaze,
the seat of intellect closes his eyes.
Without question, this forbids recognition, understanding,
and heartfelt emotion.
It is perceived only indirectly.
What the eyelids shut out, the fingers take in.
To prevent coming up with thoughts of intervening;
to cover, to obstruct, to obviate.
His eyes fill with dust, forced shut with tears.

Martin Zet, October 2015

Martin Zet (b. 1959) is a visual and performance artist. He lives in Libušín near Kladno and works at The Faculty of Visual Art at the Technical University in Brno as head of the Video Departement. In his work, Zet enlists the aid of replicas of specific visible features to reference their meaning. He makes use of the possibilities of the mutual interchange between the nearby and faraway, the known and unknown, the spoken and unspoken, and the concrete and abstract. For example the project, Sea Drawings/Kresby mořem takes the form of a series of sketches which appear to be natural images (physei eikones), in other words, images not created by human hands (acheiropoieta). Zet’s performance Czech Collection of the 20th Century/Česká sbírka 20. století seems to have a political subtext (in that it took place during the Czech presidential elections of 1998). A group of people costumed as Czech lions held a demonstration in which they carryed picket signs with images of Czech rulers and presidents from the last century. From these portraits a universal version of the Czech head of state emerged: a computer montage combining the features of all represented rulers and presidents. This work reflects mainly on the durability and continuity of certain stereotypes in the practice of memory (whose constant foe is forgetting). Here memory is represented by the metaphors of montage and defocusing, in which exact features are lost, and facts are replaced with fantasy or hallucination.

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