Extremism Blockade

12. 12. 2019 – 1. 2. 2020
Opening 11. 12. 2019 at 6 p.m.

We are living in the times that surprise me more and more with their fatal misunderstanding of the past mistakes. It seems unbelievable yet more and more realistic to me that the mankind can fall into the same trap over and over again. The Internet and social networks allowed the famous fifteen “Warhol” minutes of fame to everybody interested. Fake news websites now have more followers than serious media, and conspiracies and hoaxes get shared at a faster pace than fact-based news. At the end of November, the results of a survey were made public in Slovakia, showing that should only young people under 30 vote in the next-year elections, it would be a crushing victory for a party that denies democracy and basic human freedoms and rights. The party that discriminates minorities, questions Holocaust, and celebrates a criminal ideology. 

The Extremism Blockade is an exhibition adamantly revealing the truth we would prefer not to know, let alone see and hear. I used to marvel at Tomáš Rafa’s will – that he can visit places where no normal person would dare to go and would even have no motivation to see. That he can shoot and make public claims that should be left burning in history’s rubbish dump, and point out people whose names would better not be mentioned (even in this text). The truth is, though, that Tomáš Rafa had been documenting the dangerous evil before it even came to power, became significant in the society, and found tens of thousands of followers. Looking back at his works today and trying to understand them with this in mind, we find them to be an even more terrifying document of the era. 

In the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts (DUUL), Tomáš Rafa presents his photographs, videos, and the Czech-Roma Flag project. The winning flag is hanging above the gallery’s entrance – unless it has been stolen, of course. The space is dominated by a monumental picture shot at the Serbia-Hungary border when the refugee crisis was culminating, linking the exhibition to the group The Centre for Political Beauty, our guest. Rafa’s videos show the Anti-Roma (2010-2013), Anti-Refugee (2015-2016) and Anti-LGBT (2018-2019) protests as well as painting workshops that took place in Roma settlements. A video that was exhibited in MoMA PS1, New York will also be presented. The Czech-Roma Flag is an older project, premiered in collaboration with the curator Lenka Kukurová in the Artwall Gallery, Prague. The fusion of the Czech and the Roma flag brought about many hateful and outraged comments on both sides, just as one could expect. 

Curator: Juraj Čarný
Artist: Tomáš Rafa 
Guest artists: The Centre for Political Beauty (GER)

→ press release