22 September 2017 - 14 January 2018
|Place||Brno, Pražák Palace, Husova 18, CZECH REPUBLIC|
|Organizer||Moravská galerie v Brně / The Moravian Gallery in Brno|
The novelty of last year’s edition of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award for young visual artists was the launch of the tradition of an international guest who would introduce his or her solo project in parallel with the exhibition of the award finalists. It would be a distinctive contemporary artist whose work resonates with the current events on the Czech art scene, although it may not have been introduced here so far. After presenting an exhibition project of Laure Prouvost in 2016, guest for 2017 is the Berlin-based artist Clemens von Wedemeyer. In his conceptual moving image works and audiovisual installations, Wedemeyer often works with (film) archives, historical and symbolic references while adding engaged commentaries which link the archival material to contemporary issues.
With most of his research drawing on site-specific inspirations, the artist pays particular attention to social and physical constellations and power relations connected to a particular space in its present or historical moment. In Vermin of the Sky, a project created especially for this occasion, Wedemeyer decided to use several works from the Moravian Gallery's sculpture collections, resulting in a new video work presented at the Atrium Gallery at Pražák Palace, and an installation intervening into the permanent collection display in the same building. The artist created a poetic yet political narrative, building unexpected connections between both historically and conceptually disparate works: from a largely damaged Gothic Madonna through archetypal portraits by canonical Czech artists Josef Václav Myslbek and Vincenc Makovský to less renowned works and artists. In a surreal meeting at outer space, digitalized sculptures engage in dominance and submission exercises, which turn a bust of a locally meritorious general, a mask of the prime Czech patron saint and Prometheus' head into mere physical matter, played out in a newly told Space Odyssey. The work is a continuation of the artist's research on the discursive, social and symbolic value of sculpture in relation to film, the actor, and also the spectator, which Wedemeyer already explored in the exhibitions The Cast, presented at MAXII Rome in 2013, and the subsequent project Cast Behind You The Bones Of Your Mother, shown in KOW Berlin in 2015.