‘Slav Squatting and Its Discontents’ at MeetFactory
If you do not know what Slav squatting is, just take a look at one of the many Boris’s videos. The masked man shows here not only the technique of right Slav squat, but also the suitable places for this activity. “Do you know how to recognize the right Slav? By a squat, of course. And by a tracksuit with three stripes. (…) The idea of a typical East European as an uneducated primitive in a sports tracksuit with a heavy Slavic accent took root in western Europe same as the idea of a young refugee with a luxury phone in hands here,” the Czech Radio reported about this subculture.
The project was inspired not only by post-Soviet street culture, but also by the Sigmund Freud’s book called Civilization and Its Discontents. “At present, this trend is somewhat a social status, perhaps at a first glance a simple pose that is loaded with many meanings and thoughts”, a curator Piotr Sikora explains. “It’s a powerful visual language that was originally part of a low culture to become a leitmotif, a sign of era or an internet memo.”
The question of subcultures, the ironic playing with the features of material culture, pop culture versus subculture, the role of the individual and generation in the newly created conditions, politics and power … These are the themes that connect the work of eight artists involved in the exhibition. The key element of the exhibition is the figurative statue by Norbert Delman (PL) – Chav or Gopnik. The artist uses the material found in the garbage or iron warehouse. Gregor Rozanski’s (PL) car, which refers to the legendary Polish techno / gabber club Ekwador that experienced the golden era in the 1990s, will dominate visually in the gallery. The world of Russian suburbs with all its melancholy and harsh character will be introduced in two Alina Gutkina’s (RU) videos. There are two guys as guides in videos, belonging to the forgotten generation of this unknown territory, the transformation of enfants terribles of the late 20th century. Baba Jaga, a well-known character from Slavic legends, is displayed in the project of Irenka Kalická (PL), who is trying to find a modern version of this famous witch. Oleg Kulik (RU) compares the happenings in Russia and the West in his installations, sculptures or photographs. He is best known for his performance of 1994, in which he acts in the role of the dog. New work by Lenka Balounová (CZ) deals with the popular culture of meme – a girl photographed with a bear. The artist explores the patriarchal concept in this visual expression. Olexander Pavlov (UA), a member of the Kiev etc collective, deals mainly with silk printing and the active participation of the audience in his making is the main essence of his work. Max Lysáček (CZ), a recent graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts at Prague’s Academy of Arts Architecture & Design, creates anti-utopian visions of the future in his work, where civic society faces the last and darkest phase of late capitalism of Cannibals Party.
The penultimate exhibition at the MeetFactory Gallery this year will show the East European region and its post-Soviet subcultures. After the “Balkan” Stranger Than Paradise, German Fake It Till You Make It, and the Czech “Someone Walking Around”, we are getting back to the new piece of Europe as a part of the gallery program. At the end of the year, MeetFactory will head north with the perfect knowledge of the Slav squat …
|Artist||Lenka Balounová, Norbert Delman, Alina Gutkina, Max Lysáček, Oleg Kulik, Irenka Kalicka, Olexander Pavlov, Gregor Rozanski|
|Exhibition||Slav Squatting and Its Discontents|
|Place / venue||MeetFactory, Prague|
|Dates||September 22 – November 4, 2018|
|Curated by||Piotr Sikora|
|Index||Alina Gutkina Gregor Różański Irenka Kalicka Lenka Balounová Max Lysáček Meetfactory Norbert Delman Oleg Kulik Olexander Pavlov Piotr Sikora|