Thinking Through Film 8. 11. 2023 – 18. 2. 2024
Curator and author of the exhibition concept: Sandra Baborovská
Film is “a form that thinks,” as director Jean-Luc Godard once noted. Montages of images and sounds enable us to express certain ideas but also to reflect on the material, formal, and narrative elements that define the film medium. The exhibition and publication project Thinking Through Film focuses on the ways in which contemporary audiovisual art not only pushes the language of film forward, but also brings it back to its roots.
Exhibiting artists: Zbyněk Baladrán, Radek Brousil, Jakub Jansa, Ján Mančuška, Lea Petříková, Sara Pinheiro, Tomáš Svoboda, Ondřej Vavrečka
All three floors of the Stone Bell House explore film as narrative in the gallery space. For the most part, the exhibited films were shot with professional crews (cinematographers, editors, and sound designers) and professional actors/performers, including Ester Geislerová and Tereza Hofová (as Oracle), Cyril Dobrý (as Half-Dead Fish), Miroslav Krobot (as himself), Jan Vondráček (voice-over) and others.
The first floor is dedicated to Jakub Jansa’s Garden of Problems project, which for the first time brings together episodes from the Club of Opportunities series, dating from 2017 to the present. Viewers visit the gallery instead of “Netflixing.” The series thematizes social issues of our time and raises questions about authority and hierarchical relationships. Underprivileged entities turn into elites and vice versa, with new opportunities arising during this transformation. Each episode creates situations between reality and fiction, gradually revealing the story through video, objects, set design and acting performance.
The exhibition on the second floor hosts contemporary Czech artists, both those focusing on the film medium (Ondřej Vavrečka, Lea Petříková, Ján Mančuška) and those associated with moving-image art (Tomáš Svoboda, Zbyněk Baladrán) and sound design (Sara Pinheiro). We deliberately juxtapose visual artists from art schools, filmmakers from the FAMU film school, and creators combining both backgrounds. Paradoxically, the conjunction of these opposites produces an unusual and unexpected dynamic, as they are not often presented together. Filmmaker and FAMU teacher Ondřej Vavrečka is represented by a costume and collages, in which he comments on film, specifically editing. It is no coincidence that Ján Mančuška’s Reflection (2008) was a result of a Vavrečka editing workshop. Sara Pinheiro, a sound maker also based at FAMU, created the sound design for Like in a Movie (2016) in a similar way. Lea Petříková graduated from both FAMU and the Academy of Arts Architecture & Design in Prague (UMPRUM), and her film History of Shrouded Screen (2021), shot on “material,” explores the “surface” of the film screen.
All of the exhibiting artists have the ambition to express themselves through the moving image, either narratively (Ján Mančuška, Jakub Jansa, Radek Brousil, Lea Petříková), or in an essayistic way (Zbyněk Baladrán: Night of the World, 2011; Tomáš Svoboda: I Live Film, 2015).