REPOSITORY / UNDERLINING THE OBVIOUS
gallery project, performance, installation, public space intervention
Exhibition - 15.12. 2020 - 30.1. 2021
Performance - 15.12. 2020
Komnata Gallery, Zlín
The Komnata Gallery is situated within the kiosk of a former local bus stop along the main motorway interchange of Zlín, in the area of a dispersed industrial zone. To see the content of the gallery unit (13 m2), if you are an inquisitive person waiting for your transfer, you can look through the large glass window, or even if you are just passing by any means of transport. In addition to the exhibition unit itself, the gallery expands its activities into one of three lightbox displays (180x180cm) a few steps further (the other two still serve as normal advertising areas and bus timetables). The entrance to the exhibition space itself from the back, less frequented side of the building, is not accessible to the public and only serves as a service entrance, consisting of a security grille and the original door.
The exhibition project Repository reflected the basic parameters of the gallery space, its geographical location in interaction with public movement, as well as the economic possibilities within the creation of the work of art (gallery budget, material state of the interior). Within the framework of building management, we can spot some problematic issues of public movement. The building serves as a refuge for groups of illegal substance users or the presence of homeless people from a nearby tent community that come to collect metal wires or firewood, both of which clad the considerably large area of the bus stop.
Within the limited possibilities of a small gallery and the available budget provided by the city of Zlín, a partial upgrade of the exhibition space was carried out as a part of the installation. With this intent, the exhibition was presented to the public. The renovation involved the purchase of new doors, replacement lighting, ripping out the old wooden floors, repainting the walls and cleaning work. At the same time, the security grille was removed so that the new door could be highlighted.
Once the wooden floor was removed, an entrance to the city sewer was uncovered directly in the gallery’s interior*, which later served in the opening of the exhibition to the accompanying performance. The removed floorboards were used in creating a multi-layered collage, evoking the idea of urban graffiti, in a nearby lightbox display.
The Repository exhibition monitors the period of its own duration with a view to explore the interactions of external influences and the space itself. The newly installed back door, which is the only entrance to the space, remained open, well unlocked, for the entire duration of the exhibition. This information has been kept secret from the public and thus leaving the exhibition open to 'random' acts of curiosity. The month and a half-long-lasting exhibition of empty space is continuously documented, just in case any interventions and remnants of external elements activity would appear in the space. Observing and documenting of changes, the deposition of information in the space of a continuing exhibition (without further intervention of the author or gallery) serve further as material for research into the identity of the place, determination, body and physicality policy, the influences of ideologies and choreography in the public space.
Once the exhibition is finished, the remaining budget will be used for additional repairs needed as result of external damage and also for putting in the new concrete floor, allowing the gallery to continue to host any future exhibition projects while in operation.
At the opening of the exhibition, there was a initiating performance titled “Underlining the Obvious”, where an actress dressed in a casual corporate hipster-style costume, sipping coffee from an orange coloured single use coffee cup in one hand and paying undivided attention to online content on her phone's display – was stood half way in an open sewer not paying attention to what was happening around her. She held the orange coffee cup just above the floor as a reference to the previous coat of orange paint around the edges of the gallery at the same level.
NB: The exhibition took place during the pandemic, at a time when all cultural venues were closed to the public by order of the government.