Galerie Rudolfinum is Neo-Renaissance building from the 19th century, which is many times called “the natural cultural center of Prague.” The contrasts and paradoxes can be found not only within the expositions, but also within the relation between the old historical building and the contemporary art, that this gallery represents. Rudolfinum also focuses on lectures, workshops, seminars, or festivals and it was a place for artworks of many authors like for instance Petr Veselý, Roger Hiorns, Rachel Whiteread, Raqib Shaw and many others. This building also shares its space with The Czech Philharmonic.
Rudolfinum now holds the exhibition, whose author is doc. Mgr. ak. mal. Jiří Černický, contemporary Czech artist.
Jiří Černický is very important for the whole European as well as international scene. He studied in Prague and Ústí nad Labem, and he is an owner of many prizes like 48th October Salon Award (Beograd, Serbia 2007), The Jindřich Chlupecký Award (Prague, 1998), The Soros Award (Prague, 1996), or he was the finalist of the Alice Francis Award (2012).
Černický is head of the painting studio at Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. He teaches many successful students and we can hardly find his influence in their work. They share some minimalistic features or maybe the images of human body, but on the other hand, some of his students paint more realistic paintings. His students are for example Aleš Zapletal, Martin Lukáč, Tomáš Bryscejn or Markéta Jáchymová.
Černický’s first important work was Tears for Ethiopia (Slzy pro Etiopii) in 1993 – 1994. This controversial work contained the tears of residents, which he collected from rubbish containers located at the Emil Filla Gallery (Galerie Emila Filly) in Ústí nad Labem and handed over to the abbot of the monastery in the Lalibela, Ethiopia.
One of the most famous works of this artist is certainly SONY Garden (2002). Černický engaged in a communication process with representatives o multinational companies for this multimedia installation, and he destroyed their sponsorship that consisted of monitors, printers or VCRs and he created something like Zen garden. We can find in this work the symbols of Japanese culture and economy, its special society, industrialization and consumerism as well.
Jiří Černický is well-known due to his sense of minimalism, or conceptualism, and we can also mention his work Proun Space Station, about which he writes: “This commemorative station (memorial) should serve as an eternal monument honoring the victims of the Soviet regime, especially the Russian state mafia. It should be a reminder of the sufferings of nameless victims, persecuted fighters for freedom and democracy, who had been removed, killed, disappeared or were forced to emigrate. The author of the idea of Proun was El Lissitzky. He tried to rework conventional forms of painting, sculpture and architecture. “Prouns” are stations where one changes from painting to architecture. As an abstract and dynamic unit they can be used by any anonymous artist.”
Very significant work of Jiří Černický is undoubtedly ABS video. It is a series of four video projections, which is based on the recording of real places, real time, without any cutting or editing. There are no actors and we are looking for the special concept of time. We can notice here also mental subtitles that are not used for translation, but bring us into the new perception of reality.
We had a chance to see Jiří Černický’s exhibition in Galerie Rudolfinum and it has brought us into the world full of the fantasy, wilderness, and dreaming. Wild Dreams is a very significant project which is based on a series of more than fifty drawings or counting the same number of objects and installations, out of which more than a half was created solely for this exhibition.
It is questionable what is hidden behind the topic Wild Dreams. We can look for the positivity as well as for negativity in our dreaming minds, but also the dreaming of Jiří Černický. The atmosphere of the whole exhibition does not offer us only the hidden world and minds of one artist, but it compels us to differentiate between the dreams and the desires, or the dreams which we have when we are awake. This exposition can be regarded as a combination of various materials or topics in different rooms with enough space to enjoy the art. Jiří Černický wants to share with us his feelings and therefore, he offers us also the explanations of his work. In spite of this fact, the concept of the overall production is strongly ambiguous.
The exhibition begins with the enlargement of skateboard with the formula wheels and daily used objects. These things look like they leak out of the wheels and perhaps, this is the materialism, that has very important and maybe sad roles in our hasty society.
We could see a lot of artworks, but one of the most interesting ones is a model of Neo – Ghotic cathedral which is made of trees. This idea comes from the discussions of the 19th century architects about Ghotic and its relation to the nature. It is just a small replica so far, but in the future Černický would like to execute this project like a real nature temple for all religions. It is very good idea – to pray in the interior as well as exterior place.
Of course, there are also other works with religious thematic content. For example, the two sculptures of Virgin Mary with a bicycle on their head or the black priest with the straps. These sculptures should represent the victims of religious repression and the Inquisition’s courts. They are neither offensive, nor vulgar, but they are certainly controversial. Inquisition or not, the lovers of religion and sport can find there a message: “In a healthy body, healthy mind.”
Some of the “dreams” bring us a feeling of reality, because they are accompanied by the electricity, sounds, lights, and projections on the walls. Černický’s work does not give us only a feeling of different reality, but it also shows us a kind of delirium when we are looking at the goddess of love Aphrodite, which is made from (maybe real) ecstasy pills. The rest of the pills is in the showcase and if it were not closed, the gallery could offer them to the viewers and this exhibition would be perhaps more understandable.
Černický also indirectly addresses the viewers, because not all of his works contain a warning “do not touch.” He has made a podium on which people can use the red stick and put it into the drain. Probably, nobody knows why, but who knows how to behave in a dream?
And what are your wild dreams?