Opening: 16th August at 8pm
+ 22:00 DJ set TRAINSPOTTING: RADQOHSKI
Exhibition duration: 16.8. - 31.8. 2012
Open daily 1 - 8 pm
"This is only his box. The sheep you asked for is inside."
I was very surprised to see a light break over the face of my young judge:
"That is exactly the way I wanted it!"
Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
The current art project of the MeetFactory artist-in-residence Tamás Szvet begun with a basic question: what do you expect from an artist? As the Little Prince or any child has shown to a grownup, the simplest questions are often those most difficult to answer. The artist has been posing the question during his three-month stay in Prague, asking the visitors of his studio to answer it on a sheet of paper. Since it was mostly adults answering, the outcome was largely determined by the common socio-cultural standards, education and perhaps a slight fear of originality, which in some cases resulted in ridiculing the whole subject. The outcome was, therefore, not far from the artist's initial assumptions. Although modern and contemporary art has been involved in a fight for plurality of aesthetic qualities for quite a while now, many people still do expect beauty. As Arthur C. Danto has put it, although beauty is no longer the one and only possibility for an artwork, it is, unlike other aesthetic qualities, also a value we can hardly live without. Besides beauty, we expect concepts: art should be thought provoking, the artist should pose new and interesting questions and perhaps even give some answers. He or she should bring new points of view and let us think outside the box. Then comes engagement. An artist should be critical, point out things that are happening in our society, culture, politics. And of course there is a claim for originality and innovation. Above all, we expect freedom. However obvious that might sound, sometimes it is quite essential to remind ourselves of the notion of art as a symbol of freedom and uncensored communication.
The concept of thinking inside and outside the box merged with a recent experience the artist made in an art museum in Hamburg. He entered an area closed for installation of a new exhibition, where the art to be was still contained in professional packages with names of the (mostly rather famous) artists written on top of them. One could, therefore, only imagine what is hidden in the box and draw the exhibition in his own head. For his installation presented in the Kostka Gallery, Szvet created handicraft pinhole boxes, inviting the viewer to take a look in their inner perspective. The images they contain are derived from the topics of the artist's research. They might be universal symbols, an image from an old book or widely recognizable artworks. One of the boxes is left blank, with no image and no possibility to look inside. This one correlates with the perhaps most interesting answer to the artist's question: a blank sheet of paper. Thinking outside the box does not have to mean giving the right answers. It can stand for posing good questions and giving them space to resonate.