Pavilion of Empty Illusion

PAVILION OF EMPTY ILLUSION

Pavilion of Empty Illusion was a gallery space transformed to the oriental pavilion, filled with obscure objects, which used to have some value for my family. These “souvenirs”, either real or not, used to decorate the house of my grandparents, but throughout the years they lost their meaning to us and soon they will be forgotten at all. Creation of such space meant to be a reevaluation of these particular objects connected to my childhood memories, with an important question: What did it mean to my grandparents to be surrounded by such environment in a time when, due to the political reasons, travelling was not possible? 

Solo exhibition OFF/Format Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic, 2017

Curator: Petr Kovář

Photo by Martina Schneiderová

A few months ago I was passing the Brno main railway station and involuntarily saw on the ground a sentence "born too late to explore the world." I still wonder what the author had on mind. Which perspective to choose, which of the illusions? Of course, long gone are the days of the first voyagers, exploration of continents and islands; from their stories about exotic flora and fauna have been preserved picturesque bestiaries, which today make even children laugh, as every little schoolboy knows, how a lion and an elephant look like, that Indians do not live in India but in America. In a time when with a simple act he can find out what the weather will look like tomorrow on the playground or in Tierra del Fuego. The world is discovered and explored.

 

While our grandmothers stored in glass secretaries giant seashells and Chinese porcelain, often without a desire to go to their places of origin, just as fetish luxury, a piece of the exploded grenade in the chambers of the aristocracy’s mansion. While our parents were becoming true nomads rather in campers than in caravans, occupying camps with a can of pork meat, we manage to travel a whole world in a form of "all-inclusive" holidays at any sea, with guaranteed European cuisine and leisure swimming in the pool without waves. Born to be lazy to explore the world! The gap between what we think and what exist re-opened again, new picturesque animals of our imagination (about the culture and the environment) are flooding the world, while the real - quietly dying somewhere behind our souvenir collecting passion, sometimes behind thousands of photos, often one like another that even do not interest our friends anymore.

 

We participate in the gathering* of empty illusions. We would not want to live in the seventies, but we love seventies aesthetics. We mix Japanese florally decorated interior with Chinese shadow theatre, while real plants are separated from us. We do not see their origins, relationships and needs, only an aesthetic dimension still docked at the former exotic luxury. Marta Fišerová does not create new artefacts but works with things that are known to us. However, she creates for them an environment, a framework through which we can read. Humorous wiredness is mixed with an engaged environmental message. That ambivalence is visible in each element and in a whole installation. The archive of travel fetishes combines cultural artefacts and nature facts with objects for which you can not absolutely be sure of their purpose or value. They can be anything when backed with an appropriate story, dating, GPS coordinates. These values are given by us, the audience, with our individual ability to read symbols. Maybe we should say by the visitors, because Pavilion of Empty Illusions is an environment, whether in terms of space, a garden pavilion*, outdoor variant of the living room, or in the meaning of communication, as a performance, "little discussion" with friends. It is therefore significant that the exhibition transforms conventional architectural layout of the gallery OFF/FORMAT, blends the elements of interior design with theater scenic framework.

 

We were not born too late, to explore the world, but maybe we were born too soon, to move the understanding of discovered and explored the world in order to feel our responsibility. 

Petr Kovář, curator

 

* the word "pavilion" (CZ: "besídka") has two meanings in the Czech language: small building in a garden (a garden pavilion, gazebo) and a gathering of friends (a kind of tea party)

[translators note]

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