EXTRA-PLANETARY COMMITMENT – Botond Keresztesi, Ad Minoliti, Julia Varela, Evita Vasiljeva


  • 16.03.2019. - 28.04.2019

We are dragged down by gravity, by the slowness of invention, by the viscosity of wet concrete. While a small organic sprout died of exposure on the moon, our home planet is increasingly filled with toxicity. Toxic air… earth… water. Imagine the protective garments needed to shield ourselves from our environment as extra-planetary conditions come to pass on planet Earth. Extra-Planetary Commitment curated by Àngels Miralda proposes a critical junction in critique and a solution through science-fiction narratives. The artists’ work with future environments as a way to analyse current earthly predicaments. This exhibition is not so much about space flight as it is about the freedom of imagination to critique current establishments and political practices as well as our contemporary daily life.

Technology is already redefining the human body and our relationship to nature. Artworks compare the pictorial space of the imaginary with the sculptural conditions of material reality. While imagination can expand into worlds free of gravitation and time, sculptural materiality gives way to a non-human agency. Considerations of bodies and limits appear in Evita Vasiljeva’s concrete, and PVC humanoid forms are emitting hormonal variations or gentle breathing gestures. Ad Minoliti’s abstract bodies replay modernism in an age of bodily re-definition where gender vanishes and is replaced by cyborg geometric sensualities. Cyborg bodies are brought up in Julia Varela’s Mehr Fantasie in which plasma-screen powder is used as a sinister beauty treatment masque alluding to the smothering powder of the waste of human progress. This abstract powder next to Vasiljeva’s breathing sculptures transmit the choked hazard of post-human toxic earth. In a mystic turn, Botond Keresztesi’s collaged elements see a world of insect warriors in abstract spatial planes – a universe parallel to ours made of references to digital space and modernism.

Modernism features in the compositional gestures of Minoliti and Keresztesi. The legacy of Suprematism and geometric abstraction lives on in contemporary depictions of space. Digital imaging software programmes have made this space reality – a blank canvas with which to fill with our dreams. Both artists remix the established art historical narrative into new formations and code. The concrete of Vasiljeva’s structures echo the lost dreams of Bauhaus architecture and the ruins of a utopia that never came to be. Varela’s powder corpse of plasma-screen vision lies on the ground like a pulverised black square. One hundred years on from Malevich and le Corbusier, our material conditions have yet to be overcome.

Don’t let the dream die - this is a bid to keep exploring other worlds.

This exhibition has been kindly supported by the Prague City Hall’s Cultural and Arts Grant, the Prague 7 City District Authority’s Grants Programme for Culture and by Key Promotion.

Àngels Miralda is a Catalan/American writer and curator. Her curatorial work focuses on the materiality of art production as a working metaphor for contemporary industrial-scale production, ecological relations to economy, landscape, and natural mythologies. Her writing focuses on political analyses of the contemporary art system. Her writing has been published in Collecteurs Magazine, A*Desk, Rotunda Magazine, Sleek Magazine, Revista Arta, AQNB, and Contemporary Art Stavanger. Recent curated exhibitions have taken place at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga; Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Berlin; Bombon Projects, Barcelona; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Chile; Arebyte, London; ODD, Bucharest; and Podium, Oslo.

Botond Keresztesi is a Romanian/Hungarian artist working in painting, drawing, and site-specific painting installations. Remixing references from Art History, popular culture, virtual space, and everyday life, his paintings crystalise into the fragmented realities of a dream-like landscape. Recent solo and group exhibitions have taken place at: Storage Capacité, Berlin; Damien & The Love Guru, Brussels; Kunstfort, Vijhuizen; Future Gallery, Berlin; Artkartell Project Space, Budapest; Labor Gallery, Budapest; Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest; and Schloss, Olso.

Ad Minoliti is an Argentinian artist who works in painting, drawing, animation, and performance. Interested in recouping art historical canons from male- dominated discourse – she inserts queer and femme aesthetics into the heart of modernism. Her comics and illustrations amalgamate art historically canonised artworks and subcultures influenced by them, transcending high and low culture. Her work proposes a world in which gender is vanquished by abstract-shapes-become-characters that redefine desire in pop telenovelas. Recent solo and group exhibitions have taken place at: FRONT Triennial, Cleveland; Kadist Foundation, San Francisco; Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; La Capella, Barcelona; Nottingham Contemporary; and Aichi Triennale, Nagoya.

Julia Varela is a Spanish artist working in film, installation, and sculpture. Her work revolves around society’s consumption of images and what we choose to see. She has been working on the subject of screen vision and media in several series of works as well as body constrictions and social space. Recent exhibitions have taken place at: Decad, Berlin; Galleri Mejan, Stockholm; Resartis, Melbourne; Galeria Fernando Pradilla, Madrid; Sala de Arte Joven, Madrid; La Casa Encendida, Madrid; Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin; and KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.

Evita Vasiljeva is a Latvian artist based in Amsterdam and Riga who works primarily in sculpture and installation. The objects she creates use basic materials used in construction, old electronics, and other relics of the urban landscape. Their significance is cryptic, and up to interpretation while formally they set up a stage in space to interact between each other and their surroundings. Recent exhibitions have taken place in: Tallinn City Gallery; Nest, Den Hague; Fondation Ricard, Paris; Lustwarande, Tilburg; Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga; ODD, Bucharest; P/////AKT, Amsterdam; and Art in General, New York.

– Botond Keresztesi, ‘N.S.A. – National/Sun/Association’, (2017), paint on canvas, 90 cm x 90 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

(press release)