Fotograf Magazine


Permanent Transformation

According to the artists, their latest major exhibition project in Prague is mainly about time, as is apparent even from the title itself. Permanent Transformation uses the repeating motif of a child to link the topic of the future with other occurrences – death, destruction and decay, and more-or-less associated existential messages. “Transformation” may be interpreted at another level as well – the style of the Rafani art group decomposes when other subjects, who introduce expressive impulses, enter the creative process. For Rafani, collaborative strategy is not at all unusual – from questionnaires covering burning political issues to cooking soup for charity, during the first decade of the new millennium, Rafani has been shifting from the art of collaboration to the more comprehensive art of intermediation, or commissions – at the end of which is a not entirely predictable output, which can, without qualms, be considered to even be a certain type of co-creation, just because the invited partners were given maximum space to five their creativity free reign.

The result is harsh, bringing the commonness of pop culture into the game, as well as morbidity and a strong dose of energetic childish destructivity – isn’t this “cocktail” in actuality a metaphor for the incessant decline of existing rules and the passing of temporary orders not only in the gallery context? The installation is a conglomerate of, as far as Rafani is concerned, still unusual genre experiments, arranged in space in such a way that it is possible for us to view the individual works, placed in separate cubicles, as stand-alone outputs, independent of each other.

In addition to the collective intervention of primary school children, who painted the walls of the gallery, and the documented record of this freely performative action made using polaroid cameras, there are two more extensive videos that stand out. The first is an existentially exalted music clip featuring a young rap star. The second presents the choreographic collaboration with a professional dancer, who, with strongly sexualized movements, circles around a dead pregnant “zombie”. This spectacle is somewhat trivialized by the sale of a limited series of T-shirts with philosophizing slogans – it is as if we are to digest the contentious inseparability of the ubiquitous stench of commerce and pathos within the experience of our own existence and its demise. The incessant dialogue provoking life and death within the process of transformation is never-ending – how insufferable!

Mariana Serranová