Lowdown / Proluka Gallery, Prague, CZ / 2022 * solo exhibition


ProLuka Gallery, Outsite gallery, Bezručovy sady, Prague 10 – Vršovice

9. 11. 2022 – 24. 3. 2023

Curator: Silvie Šeborová


Exhibited work:

Lowdown / 2022


Rahova. A huge housing estate on the outskirts of Bucharest built during the Ceaușescu regime. And also the name of the video installation that David Možný introduced to the wider awareness of the art world in 2008. Using computer animation from photographs of architecture taken on the housing estate, he put together a new, surreal reality in which individual panels and parts of the housing estate move and shift. However, why in 2022 are we returning so deep into the past of Possible Creation? Because around the time Rahova was created, David Možný was approached by Michel Foucault’s essay (published in Czech as part of the book Myšlení vnejšku), in which the philosopher describes the characteristics of heterotopias in a precise manner. This term, used in medical nomenclature for organs or tissues occurring in a different place than usual, is used by Foucault to denote places that actually exist, but which – unlike their surroundings – have a different structure, logic and organization of elements. In urban development, these can be, for example, cemeteries, parks, but also larger units – and it was during his stay in Bucharest that Možný realized that the entire Rahova housing estate is one big heterotopia.

The fascination with heterotopias has been present in David Možný’s work since the beginning (he used this word as the title of the first exhibition he prepared in 2002 for the exhibition space operated by the Brno House of Art) and influences him to this day. A prime example of how this phenomenon can be processed artistically is the installation Lowdown, which is disturbing, among other things, precisely because two different heterotopias meet in one place: a park with an airport hall. It’s basically a simple idea, but not simple in the sense of stupid. Although David Možný claims that the work is not conceptual art, behind his simple idea is a long-term interest in sociology, philosophy and cultural anthropology. As the second source of thought – next to the already mentioned Foucault – Možný draws attention to the publication Non-places by the French anthropologist Marc Auge. In this book, Auge comes up with the new term „nonplace“, which refers to spaces evoking impressions of transience, in which human beings remain completely anonymous, and which do not have enough meaning to be considered „places“. In the introduction to this study, Auge tells the „story“ of a man who arrives at the airport, parks his car, checks his suitcase, collects his boarding passes, goes to the duty-free shop, boards the plane. In principle, nothing major will happen here, it is a description of the atmosphere we associate with airport halls and other similar places. Airport seats are so significant for this space that we immediately remember this feeling after seeing them. Added to this is the unexpected connection of two realities, although the benches belong in the park, they are not supposed to look like this, moreover spatially deformed into a manipulated reality, which subconsciously attracts us to the work.

In Proluka, David Možný thus develops his old, popular theme in a new way, when he works with ordinary objects that everyone knows and is able to recognize immediately at first glance. After all, he already used airport benches as the basis for his installation in the case of the Together We Stay – Divided We Fall exhibition in 2019 at the Nevan Contempo gallery, which represents Možné. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the gallerist’s bet on David Možný was the right one. After last year’s extensive and successful solo exhibition at Fait Gallery and participation in foreign exhibitions in Sofia and Venice, it was only in October of this year that his works could be seen at the 4+4 Days in Motion festival and at the Bunkr Gallery in Most. David Možný’s presentation is being prepared for next year as part of the Prague Quadrennial festival.

Silive Šeborová