What can joy be? It should be synonymous with life. But is life genuinely joyful, or is it drowning in exhaustion, anxiety and work?
Today’s world revolves around output and consumption. The “simple” joys of life now find themselves in a schizophrenic situation. On the one hand they are interpreted as obstacles to our output and career achievements, but on the other hand they are being appropriated by market mechanisms that are turning them into commodities to be consumed. It is as if the quiet centre has vanished.
This exhibition focuses on simple human joys. When planning it, a wide range of possible sub-topics were available to me. Eventually, these options crystallized into the following: erotic desire and its evolution into relationships between lovers and ultimately into family, as well as food, movement, dance, bathing, and moments of personal calm.
I was interested in whether it was possible to take these micro-topics and create an exhibition that reflected them, drawing only from the gallery’s own collections. My selection has no ambition to trace the evolution of artistic form and content in artworks addressing these topics over the course of history. Nevertheless, some of the groups of works may offer interesting insights into historical developments. For example, we can observe how lovers have been portrayed in varied ways, ranging from a traditional descriptive approach through impressionism to postmodern depictions.
I also invited the intermedia artist, painter and performer František Kowolowski to participate in the project and to offer his own response to the central topic. The exhibition should be read as a light-hearted visual mosaic, which will (I hope) bring joy to you – not only from the aesthetics and content of the exhibited works, but also from the way in which they are juxtaposed and combined.
Curator: Jaroslav Michna
Texts: Jaroslav Michna
Translation: Christopher Hopkinson
Graphic design: Katarína Jamrišková
Promotion: Jana Malášek Šrubařová, Magdaléna Staňková