When burnout catches up with the Sun
2019
Galerie Dukla, Ostrava, CZ
Solo show curated by Tomáš Knoflíček

“Only we ourselves have to untie that terrible knot, the paradox of the world’s progress, where we are worse off the better things get better.”

Theodore Roszak

No civilization has achieved such power, knowledge, audacity, abundance, and dynamism as the present. But no civilization has also endangered its future as significantly as ours. It can be considered paradoxical that it is at first sight a pragmatic and rational modern society that was the first to expose man to the real danger of the end of his existence. Above all, the feeling of anxiety about the revolutionary changes in the terrestrial ecosystem that are taking place today as a result of human activity also most significantly shaped the current exhibition at the Dukla Gallery. Despite all existential burdens, however, Deana Kolenčíková does not resort to describing pre-apocalyptic threats, and her exhibition is rather in the spirit of an unusual combination of contemplation of human and planetary fate during the anthropocene on the one hand and subversively ironic fun and analytical weather data on the other. For this, it logically uses the natural dialectic of mutually opposite showcases. On the right side of the passage, the scene with the sunset symbolically opens up in front of the viewer as an everyday and at the same time magical moment endowed with intuitively felt significance. For several years now, this ephemeral phenomenon has been a natural everyday constant for the author, bringing anxiety and satisfaction to her mind in the same way. From her time, she regularly reserves space for her observation – and this moment of rest between day and night is basically applied as a simple and at the same time effective cure for the chronic (hyper) activity of contemporary life.

It then represents the situation on the opposite side of the passage, where a peaceful sunset is confronted by a frantic celebration of the globe’s 4,543,000,000th birthday. Naturally, this celebration cannot miss a cake (made of moss), confetti and other festive props, including a fountain and a statue of the “celebrant” himself. Part of the “scene” is also an overview of the weather for the last year. Thus, if in the traditional polarity the right side of the passage represents the vivu contemplative (contemplative life), this side falls on the viva activa (active life), which is expressed primarily by the obsessive need of man to pursue primarily goals providing enjoyment or supposed benefit. But there are fewer and fewer of those who do not see pure escapism in this and do not realize that this Garden of Earthly Delights can turn into a mass grave at any moment.

Photo and text: Tomáš Knoflíček