Fotograf Magazine

Martin Vongrej

Waiting for Final Present in Absence

October 3 – 31, 2014


Martin Vongrej has a talent for choosing the right means for expressing his thoughts. In terms of the intensity of his passion for articulation he can be compared with his cohort, another Czech artist of the same generation, Matyáš Chochola, who likewise has the ability to stage an esoterically bearable experience. Unlike Chochola, however, Vongrej draws on a strong tradition of Slovak conceptual art. If one is unaware of the title of the exhibition and the artist’s reading of it, his latest installation at Fotograf Gallery appears relaxed, without placing any special intellectual requirements on the viewer – an impression dispelled by reading the exhibition title. On the other hand, the title also speaks of an authentic attempt to pursue an all-embracing expression, also reflected in the artist’s commentary accompanying the exhibition. Using a variety of simple media he tries to comprehend a variety of actual phenomena. His spatial installation includes drawing, photographs printed in black and white on an office printer encased in plastic, a string, a mattress, a sheet and two prints. Although in general he strives to achieve a balance between all of these elements, his personal canon, being subject to esoteric patterns, does not allow it, and thus central motifs emerge in his work. In the case of the present exhibition, one such motif was the convergence of lines, their intersections and eventually the formation of a circle. The interpenetration of the conscious and unconscious mind evoked by the intersection was to be represented by sleep. The artist intended to rotate the mattress according to a pattern of meanings he would have recorded in a borderline state between sleep and wakefulness. The plan was to fall asleep four times in the course of one day during the installation of the exhibition.

Denisa Bytelová