Fotograf Magazine

Alexey Klyuykov a Vasil Artamonov: Poušť

Ladislava Gažiová: Poušť

23. 1. — 22. 2. 2013

This dual exhibition at Fotograf Gallery consisted of Ladislava Gažiová´s Wasteland and an eponymous parallel exhibition by the duo Artamonov/Klyuykov. One of the items on exhibit – a large, faded white notice board – featured a short quote from a book by the Italian writer Dino Buzzati, printed in rubber office stamps. The quote from Buzzatti’s Il deserto dei Tartari (The Tartar Steppe) reads: “And when the first dawn was breaking they saw from the New Redoubt a thin black line on the northern plain. A thin moving line which could not be a hallucination… A small black line was advancing from the north across the uninhabited steppe; it was both astonishing and absurd although even during the night some sort of presentiment had been abroad in the Fort.” Like the double exhibition, Il deserto dei Tartari is about the wary gazing across a desolate expanse of desert, which is at the same time the frontier, a threshold. We are constantly in doubt as to whether it even makes sense to guard this border (against whom? And for whom?). Neither the book nor the exhibition, however, make this clear – in fact the gallery itself can be seen as a sort of small-scale wasteland: mostly, nothing happens there, but every now and again some small black thing moves there, a possible harbinger of “some unknown thing.” Ladislava Gažiová´s delicate installation was made up of “censored” books (stripped of their text) on ethnography, and several photographs featuring minimalist horizons. Artamonov and Klyukov´s installation was likewise sparse in nature; apart from notice boards and sheets of paper running through the exhibition venue, devoid of any clear authorship, they essentially exhibited merely four invitations to excursions into various settings outside of the gallery. The gallery itself was thus all but empty. A note on the invitations: it was in fact not strange that they were included in the exhibition, or that they featured an invitation for something taking place outside of the gallery. Referring to settings outside of the gallery has become a routine practice in contemporary art. What was curious was rather that the invitations were found in the gallery exclusively and were not distributed by any other means. They were simply discarded in the gallery – the desert. Was anyone watching? It was optimistic when occasionally meeting other people at the excursions.

Pavel Sterec