“bad support”: the kind of support that both creates an opportunity for you to thrive at the same time as it undermines your thriving
This thought manifested in a series of exhibitions from 2016-2019. This page is about an exhibition I produced in 2018 (October 6-29) at GAVU, Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague; part of the Accessibility Note exhibition series curated by Magdalena Jadwiga Härtelova.
Magda’s curatorial description of the exhibition is here.
Written by Magda, the curator: The gallery is dominated by a black circle suspended above the space. The circle is an escape portal for those who want to co-create a society organized around different values than monetary productivity, patriarchy, and pathological individualism. The shelf on opposite wall displays contracts for performance that have taken place during the last week. Three actors, merged here into one character, visited various places of patriarchal power in the city. They asked for women and mourned their absence, breaking down with sadness caused by fear of being left behind. Now and then, we can hear them in the space. The men worry women have simply left, that they have joined the queer people, the people of color, the disabled and poor people to create a world of their own, to outgrow the oppression of current society.
The black circle is also a Black Hole that sucks out everything that comes to its vicinity. A photograph forms a line sneaking around half of the gallery. It shows people waiting in front of the National Bank for the centennial coin. Lit by candles, the piece is given a light of unreality. If the line is currently a monument to capitalism, maybe the candles mourn its victims. The eclipse uncovers both: the wounds we try to hide caused by our current economic system together with the remnants of social trauma of so called “communism”, where socialist benefits, such as free health care and education, as well as right for employment and housing, were entangled with loss of freedom stolen by the totalitarian regime.
The black circle is also, very obviously, a table top from the previous exhibition, painted black and lit from the back. It is an illusion. There are two different illusions put forth by Thornton in the exhibition. One is, in Thornton’s words, ‘’the illusion of capitalism as savior, money as wealth, people as competitive, hierarchy as natural, collectivity as a threat.” The other illusion is the portal. A text on the floor asks us to squint our eyes and use our imagination to transform the circle, to see an entrance where we know there is a wall. At the end of the day, all we have is time and the decision as to where we invest it.