Prague, 19 October 2023 – 21 January 2024, https://www.galerierudolfinum.cz
The spacious and beautiful halls of Rudolfinum Gallery were adorned with a small number of large artworks, giving each individual work space to breathe. This was about minimalism and its heritage, but it was also about the effects that objects have on a space. Where is the boundary between an object and space, that is usually delineated by material markers like walls, signage, fences, etc.? If the material is the same, what makes them different?
Among the artists represented in the show – Marion Baruch, Larry Bell, Michał Budny, Angela Bulloch, Simon Callery, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anthony McCall, Jaromír Novotný, Robert Šalanda – I was most of all touched by the work of Anthony McCall. This was the only “media” work in the show, consisting of purely air (visualized by fog) and light (while laser projector). I have no photograph of it, and even if I had a photograph could not really do it justice. It had to be experienced.
The above could equally be said about all the other works in the show. While the new-media-ness of McCalls work made it obvious, also the other works (almost exclusively protruding in to the third dimension) were something to stand next to, something to be felt by the spectator as if they were exercising a certain gravitational pull. The mostly larger-than-human scale of the works meant that the viewer had to mentally negotiate the physical relationship with the “thing”. Observe it from multiple angles. Look closely to inspect material properties. Step away to be able to see the whole and its structural constituency. The artworks had a “thingness” to them but they were not the usual “things” that one encounters. They were recursive self-references caught in a loop of their of signifying process.
More than in many other exhibits, it was the viewer who completed the artworks in his/her mind. One could walk through the show in a very quick pace and have a feeling to have “seen” everything. But one could also walk very slowly through the show and enter into a spatial dialogue with each of the works.
This show was curated by Filip Senk, whose research interest seems to lie in at the intersection of architecture and art history. This was also the last show at Rudolfinum Gallery with director Petr Nedoma at the helm of the institution (for 30 years!). I can only express my big respect and “thank you” to Nedoma for his engagement. Gallery Rudolfinum is THE Kusthalle of Prague, the place where for over 30 years one can encounter Czech and international art that is always an inspiration and worthy to see.