East Contemporary

DOX Centre for Contemporary Art: “Where Is My Home?”

DOX Centre for Contemporary Art: “Where Is My Home?” Poupetova 1, Prague 7, http://www.dox.cz

“Where Is My Home?” is a large open-call based group show trying to research the status of Czech identity and self-image. The title of the show refers to the first line of the Czech national hymn. I felt quite touched by the show, because it focused on something personal for me. There were loads of artworks and materials, more than one could take in. Originally I did not plan to visit this show, because I worried it would be too much educative, but in the end this worry did not materialize.

If there is anything to point out about this show, it would be the presence of too many video works of a too much variable quality. Some vide works were really good, while others were nothing more than student exercises. The abundance of videos also influenced the impact of paintings, as – especially on the ground floor, those two media were hung side by side. I understand the curator was trying to ‘balance out’ the two different media, but I don’t think placing alternatively videos and paintings in a row (kind of) is a solution to this. I would prefer fewer videos, and those then delegated to separate white/black boxes where they don’t compete for attention with paintings and sculptures as the LCDs in the show did.

So while the above is a slight criticism of the selection and installation process, the intention of the curator was very clear and the resulting show produced a coherent impression of one central topic observed from many different angles. I can imagine that a foreigner (not-Czech) could be a bit lost in the material displayed as there were no explicit explanations that would connect a narrative together or provide a historical background, but still he would take away some impression of how Czech artists feel about their country, and how Czech artist’s work looks like. But I guess the decision about the amount of explaining was made with regard to the target audience of DOX – the majority of visitors will be Czech. So I think it was a good decision to leave more space for interpretation and not over-explaining. DOX is a very special place in Prague, founded and managed by a private individual. To a large extent it is substituting the lack of exhibitions like this on the ground of other state-run institutions.

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