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DOUBLE DISPLAY

Umělec magazine 2003/3

01.03.2003

Jiří Ptáček | news | en cs

This autumn Prague’s Gallery Display put on two remarkable projects. First a full exhibition of the Dutchman Michael Kluiters (Nov. 11 to 30) and the weekly “sub:label” of Milan Salák (Dec. 1 – 7).
Imaginary rooms and mysterious corridors fascinate Kluiters. For his projection Shopwindow in Display he divided the gallery into two rooms. In one room he projected on the glass of the street shop window an image of a huge labyrinthine industrial space. The illusion was perfect. In the evening hours as people strolled past the gallery, they stopped and wondered how such a space had suddenly appeared in the ground floor of an empty building in Holešovice. Only an imperfection in the show by curator Radek Váňa disturbed the illusion: he made the questionable decision of placing a large photo and documentary video by Kluiters in the other half of the gallery, so a careful inspection of the windows revealed to passers-by that art was the source of the illusion. Maybe Display doesn’t want to forget that they have an didactic role in the Czech art scene.
On the other hand, in the case of Milan Salák’s Two Horizons, also at Display, this role was used appropriately. That one of the most active “young and restless” artists from end of the 1990s has cloistered himself away for three years was suspicious enough. But the discovery that this whole time he has been painting large landscapes was bewildering. Salák defended his regional conceptions when, with great discipline, he successfully transferred maps and overhead views of the Czech lands into illusionary landscape paintings. The artist wished to emphasize the importance of looking for and finding places in the paintings that we know and have “tramped through” many times. The paintings have strange spatial vaulting and there is a maddening obsession with details and precision. The effectiveness of the paintings could be placed on a scale somewhere between “hardcore hikers” who finding treasured places to the cold response to the schematic transfer of the map by those who don’t know the original. Both of these he admitted as possible ways to understand the work, as a quality and sacrifice, so that he wouldn’t have to take part in impersonal global messages.
Jiří Ptáček




01.03.2003

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