Artist’s statement in the form of a fictitious interview:
Rabbit: So what awaits me at the exhibition?
A.K.: Some of the installations are linked to the series Attempts at Regaining Reality, on which I have been working continually since 2010. They represent groups of photographs, prints, and objects. At their core is the idea of combining miscellaneous visual motifs which I have found with photographs from my private archive, plus newly made photos. The resulting chapters –individual series of about 5–15 photographs, large size prints and objects – each have their own theme. The themes are built on my previous artistic practice and can be summarized under the terms of archeology of time, looking for traces of the future in the present, exploring the identity of the environment, questioning the aesthetic role of photography, as well as creating new meanings through unexpected relationships of individual photographs.
Queen: And how, permit me, shall I understand the individual “attempts”?
A.K.: Each series draws on a specific photographic shot or object, which I then go on to elaborate with the addition of further photographs, with a view to “renaming and redefining” them when set in a new time and place. What I am trying to do is not rediscover the reality represented by the original motif, but rather visually analyze that motif’s seminal elements as proofs of reality being represented by images in ever new ways, dependent on the change of context. I leave it up to the viewer as to how he will connect the internal links between the submitted “evidence”, and, as a result, relate them to the original motif. Mind maps resulting from the proposed relationship (the subsequent synthesis) are based on both individual and collective experience. Photography is presented partly as proof of the existence of the external world, and partly as a trigger of associations in the viewer’s memory.
Rabbit: I, on the other hand, like the premises of old palaces which are slowly being gnawed away by time. But is not an exhibition of contemporary art about something else?
A.K.: This exhibition addresses the space for which it has been created. It does not intend to merge with it, but it does not take a critical position either. The architecture and decoration of the Colloredo‑Mansfeld Palace exhibit a high degree of presence of historical elements with additional layers of modifications, adaptations and interventions of diverse styles and qualities. The halls and corridors maintain the grandeur and ceremoniousness of a residence which, despite all its representativeness, makes the visitor feel that he is intruding into someone’s privacy. Derelict halls, formerly undoubtedly filled by things and objects and activities and bustle of every kind, give the impression of bygone time, of a time‑absence disorder (a disorder caused by uncertainty about what time it is).
Queen: But what will you do with such premises?
A.K.: I am trying to enter the space in the role of someone who is looking for links between the past, present and future. The building is situated in the city center with a cosmopolitan history, a temporary presence and an uncertain future. This space is a challenge for me, a challenge to bring things into it and put them down, to cut in and attach objects and images which seem to be rising from the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing some unexpected rearrangement of both space and time.
Rabbit and Queen: Rearrangement, rearrangement, but in the name of what?
A.K.: Geometry versus ornament, a representative zone versus a private one – these could be the key concepts defining the installation Attempt at Regaining Reality V, Attempt at Regaining Reality III, Stage, Fireplace and Hall of Ancestors. These installations, together with other “experiments”, especially Attempt at Regaining Reality VI installed in the ballroom, are not just attempts at rediscovering hidden contexts and relationships between causes and effects of the represented facts, but primarily attempts to form the ultimate fusion of my freeform art and the response to a specific location. The often economical form of expression (such as the installation Fireplace) symbolizes a gesture of liberation of one’s creative ego, as well as liberation of the visitor from the compulsion to make a statement at any cost on the complicated situation of the space. My intention is to indicate the direction, to point out the quality of the space for its continued existence. I am trying to perform a hypothetical reconstruction of the place, linked to the ancient cosmopolitan past thanks to the used visual motifs from remote places, while hoping that adding another layer does not merely confirm the status quo, but it is a step toward the future.