Museum exhibition

Moving Image Department – 5th Chapter: The Economies of Time, Subverted

Thomas Baumann
National Gallery Prague - Veletržní Palace, Prag, Czech Republic
24 June - 18 September 2016

A sense of perverted nostalgia haunts over the cinematic narratives gathered in a polylogue of the 5th chapter of the Moving Image Department. After having phantasized a moving image as a vehicle of a collective voice, the following sequence concentrates on the economies of time – the transformative power, the metamorphosis, the image’s alchemic virtues, last but not least – an image as a passage, a journey, a state in-between. Homecoming and transitoriness are thematised in a cinematic oeuvre of Adrian Paci (1969, Albania). His „Per Speculum“ (2006) is a close-up portrait of humanity in suspense between hope and transience, submerged in a trance of expectation, daydreaming a better future. The images’ stillness strengthens the anxiety of a failed representation. The image allegorically blinds the spectators, producing an after image, the spectator’s own projection. Subversion is in the centre of the 5th chapter of the Moving Image Department; a reversed movement, and a shift, unexpected twist, or on the contrary – the most banal operation, like in already iconic „Gehfilmen 6“ (1994) shot and performed in Prague’s South Town by Austrian artists Thomas Baumann (1967), Josef Dabernig (1956) and Martin Kaltner (1961). Paci’s „The Column“ (2013) depicts an ironic return in a vertigo of global economies, historical upheavals, and the pathologies of labour. It is a caricature of homecoming; simultaneously, a contemplation of history in ruins and a possible epiphany of a new world to appear. The sculptural installation „Shadow“ (2016) by Adam Vačkář (1979, Czech Republic) might refer to Paci’s quasi-biblical tree of „Per Speculum“. His post-human forest is nature in decline, an apocalyptic paradise of an aborted future, a desperate act of protection. Vačkář’s gestural cinematic work narrates the passing of time, both subjective and collective, towards disappearance and removal. Here, like in the case of all other works presented in the 5th chapter of the Moving Image Department, a personal memory is politicized through the dust of universal history.

Curated by Adam Budak

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