Zdena Kolečková – Panna a Orel

27. 4. 2023 — 29. 7. 2023
Gallery 1
Artist: Zdena Kolečková
Curator: Jiří Černický
Opening: Wednesday 26. 4. 2023 at 6 p. m.

Exhibition Panna a Orel (Virgin and Eagle) by Zdena Kolečková

The basic theme of the exhibition is the loss of certainty due to the splitting of unity, when the two newly formed entities have taken on opposite meanings that lead to inconsistency. It is therefore the opposite of the yin yang principle, which is an expression of harmony or split cells that must be in harmony in order for new life to emerge. The conceptual leitmotif of the exhibition is therefore something unnatural, something that has rather arisen from conflict, a rupture, the reverberation of which is therefore trauma.

But what kind of trauma is it? Characteristically, Zdena Kolečková communicates the pain thus created in a subtle, allegorical and layered way. She guides the viewer to a type of reading that irritates (unnerves) them and then sort of lulls them into thinking that it is not so bad after all, so that in the third layer she presses the saw of subliminal despair.  I would illustrate this by saying that, for example, the blood that the author uses does not at first glance evoke cruelty or pain at all, for it is not clinging to a knife, but to a subtle pen, which is usually used in fairy tales by the devil to almost painlessly stab the finger of the hero, who would sign the coveted contract with his blood. And this writing instrument continues to scratch nothing, but carefully describes seemingly harmless poetic Slavic ornaments. Yes, let’s realize that in the end the pen is a more powerful and refined weapon than the knife and the ornament in the form of a Slavic star, trumping the Nazi swastika more painfully than a cut in our body. So this is how, for the second time, we find ourselves on the subliminal layer of trauma, only to have to wonder why that insidious symbol almost scratches into the fragile shell of the egg, hiding life in its most traditional form. The medium of photography then captures this cruel act almost sterilely – medically clean, so again the opposite of cruel.

If I mention the emphasis on the uncertainty created by forced separation, it is important to mention  also the frequent result of this act – chaos. It is precisely this that is then multiplied many times over on the viewer, who is unable to absorb the contradictory and false information to which he is exposed on a daily basis, until it is often difficult for him to keep his sanity. This is a real phenomenon of our times, which troubles the author so intensely, and she tries to fight this aggressive force with the opposite, i.e. with an almost metaphysical calmness and gentleness with elements of simple, ephemeral embraces.

Zdena Kolečková plays with the subtle, often at first hardly noticeable processes of the above-mentioned phenomena. They are, whether we want them or not, hidden all around us: in the curtain blown by a gust of wind, in the eyes of trout from a forest lake, in silk embroideries, in sugar stifled in homols and, of course, in the coveted artistically cultivated blood.

Zdena Kolečková (*1969, Ústí nad Labem) is a professor at the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem and head of the Fine Art Studio. Her multimedia work is closely linked to reflecting themes shaping the complex social, environmental and cultural situation characteristic of the structurally affected areas of the Czech borderlands – the former Sudetenland. Her work combines a rich portfolio of expressive media ranging from traditional techniques of drawing, painting or printmaking through various forms of digital photography to richly structured installation units or the use of dynamic technical imagery. An important part of her creative strategies are also interventions in public space or emphasizing elements of artistic research and multidisciplinary research focused on the artistic interpretation of historical events, issues related to visual archaeology or the specifics of scientific methodologies. Her artworks are represented in the collections of the Prague City Gallery, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Museum of Art in Olomouc, the Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové, the Klatovy/Klenová Gallery and other art museums.