Artist: Hannes Egger (IT)
Curator: Michal Koleček
The exhibition that Italian artist Hannes Egger has prepared for the House of Arts in Ústí nad Labem refers in its title to a performance he realized in September this year in Milan. As part of this event, a rented billboard car drove round and round bearing a simple message: Everything´s Changed — Nothing´s Changed. At the heart of the region heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis, Hannes Egger drew attention to dramatic shifts in the functioning of society in response to the pandemic and at the same time offered hope, determination to face this unusual situation with respect for each individual destiny and the ethical relations within a complex society.
The idea formed the starting point for the artist’s new Ústí nad Labem project, it being increasingly clear that in alternating waves of hope and threat, the possibility of using the traditional exhibition format is irrevocably fading away. Faced with apparently insuperable external restrictions Egger gradually began to transform them into inspiring creative stimuli, which not only determined the choice of expression and communication strategies for the exhibition, but also gave it its final thematic focus. The artist used an exclusively remote mode, not being able to work directly with gallery space in Ústí nad Labem, for which cooperation with the production team of Ústí nad Labem House of Arts became an important factor shaping the final form. The exhibition Everything’s Changed — Nothing’s Changed is thus built on a hybrid structure, while a significant — participatory — part takes place online in virtual form. The results of this online communication will give decisive shape to the ensuing physical presentation of the exhibition, which, however, given the coronavirus situation, can occur either in a closed gallery space or, again, virtually.
The exhibition’s structured participatory scheme includes closed social and cultural institutions (schools, universities, galleries, museums, theatres, concert halls, music clubs, etc.) operating mainly in Ústí nad Labem and its surroundings, artists from various fields cramped in their everyday artistic practice, and an audience sending letters to the organizers with stories related to the year 2020 as part of an open call. Institutions temporarily inaccessible to the public are cooperating to provide selected pieces of currently unused equipment from which Hannes Egger and the production team will assemble a processual installation visible via the gallery windows. Stories of viewers relating their 2020 experiences are to be published anonymously, with their consent, directly in the House of Arts Ústí nad Labem and on its online platforms. This material also will serve to recap the artist’s output — a kind of chronicle of 2020 – cum – exhibition catalogue. Hannes Egger will offer some of the stories to participating actors, musicians, dancers and audiovisual artists to interpret, and these artistic études will be recorded and presented in short video format in the gallery window and online. Hannes Egger’s exhibition in the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts thus becomes a platform for overcoming communication difficulties associated with isolation of individuals and closure of institutions. It provides a moment and a space for reflection on the current complex pandemic period which is tending to reinforce mechanisms preventing freedom of imagination and social functioning. (Michal Koleček, curator of the exhibition)Read more