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Introducing Pavla Dundálková: When I Close My Window, I Donʼt Hear the Street Noise

Archive: Introducing Pavla Dundálková: When I Close My Window, I Donʼt Hear the Street Noise


Dukelských hrdinů 530/47, 170 00 Praha 7-Holešovice, Česká republika
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Date: 17.03.2017 - 10.09.2017
Place: Trade Fair Palace

Pavla Dundálková (1990, Zlín) is a fresh graduate from the Studio of Sculpture, headed by Lukáš Rittstein, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. During her studies, she passed scholarships in the New Media Studio of Anna Daučíková and in the Studio of Sculpture headed by Dominik Lang and Edith Jeřábková. She already has several group as well as solo exhibitions behind, and was the finalist of EXIT AWARD in 2015. Her work naturally combines video, spatial installation, sculptural object, and free and applied arts. For the Presidential Salon, Dundálková has prepared a multi-layered installation which responds to the contemporary complex social and political situation. It is her commentary on the escapist tendencies of both past and present, employing illusive installation, collage and ceramic objects, and also video.

Pavlína Morganová is art historian and curator. She works at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (AVU) where she lectures art history and heads the Scientific and Research Centre (VVP). She is the author of books Procházka akční Prahou / Akce, performance, happeningy 1939–1989 [Walking through Action Prague / Actions, Performances, Happenings 1939–1989] (VVP AVU 2014); Czech Action Art / Happenings, Actions, Events, Land Art, Body Art and Performance Art Behind the Iron Curtain (Karolinum Press 2014), based on the Czech publication Akční umění [Action Art] (Votobia 1999, 2nd edition Nakladatelství J. Vacl 2010), and co-editor of the anthologies České umění 1939‒1989 / Programy, kritické texty, dokumenty [Czech Art 1939–1989 / Programs, Critical Texts, Documents] (Academia 2001) and České umění 1980‒2010 / Texty a dokumenty [Czech Art 1980–2010 / Texts and Documents] (VVP AVU 2012). Morganová curated the exhibitions “Někdy v sukni / Umění 90. let” [Sometimes in Skirt / Art of the 1990s] (Moravian Gallery in Brno and Prague City Gallery 2014), “Začátek století” [Beginning of the Century] (West-Bohemian Gallery in Plzeň 2012, Fine Arts Gallery Ostrava 2013), and “Insiders / Nenápadná generace 2. poloviny 90. let” [Insiders / An Inconspicuous Generation] (Brno House of Arts 2004, Futura, Praha 2005).

Pavlína Morganová about Pavla Dundálková

Pavla Dundálková graduated last year from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Her work, which I repeatedly encountered at the Academy, had already attracted my attention several years ago. As early as in 2013 during the exams, I noticed her video Despite the Everyday Experience (2013), capturing a girl in an empty flat and finding herself in various awkward situations. She is putting on her stockings, fixed to the floor by their toes, or a sweater nailed to the wall. Her contact with the space of the flat and the commonplace objects in it suddenly receives an existential dimension. A certain continuation of this work is the video The Enclosure of a Form (2015), where Dundálková is repairing her torn stockings directly on her body. Again, there is the performer, the commonplace objects and the space, all interlinked by the functionality of both voluntary and involuntary relations. The repaired stocking scars appear on the body; scars connected with the bodily parts and the immediate vicinity inside the flat by a thread. It would be difficult to find a better metaphor describing the constants of Pavla Dundálkováʼs work. Her sculptural interest in space, her experiencing it personally and inspecting the objects which inhabit it… No wonder Dundálková is fascinated by the oeuvre of the Danish, late 19th-century painter and photographer, Vilhelm Hammershøi, who would repeatedly render his own home in various light conditions, along with its simple and unchanging furnishings and a certain kind of constant domestic atmosphere. The melancholic portraits of the intimate space of his flat are, in their poetry, very close to the early videos of Pavla Dundálková and, at the same time, the sources of inspiration for her present work.

In 2015 in the Studio of Sculpture, headed by Lukáš Rittstein, I was captivated by her corner installation Something Happened (2015), which created an illusion of a room architecture filled with various objects as well as shelves on which objects have been placed, the latter things being either made of plaster casts or glued porcelain shards. The original shape and function of each and every one of them was somehow distorted, such as the plaster milk flowing from a cup through a chair. Although it was a spatial collage, the installation felt like a self-contained whole and possessed its original poetry. Dundálkováʼs diploma work, entitled You Donʼt Want This (2016) and exhibited in the Trade Fair Palace in 2016, was in part based on the previous work. Here, the artistʼs passion for object and material found its full expression. Dundálková is fascinated by ceramics and other materials linked with applied arts. She excels in fusing the intimacy of a lived-in space and its everyday objects, at the same time imbuing them with immense monumentality. She often constructs complex architecture for her installations, whether it is a system of metal shelves or an illusory wall, as is the case of the presented exhibition. Dundálkováʼs oeuvre to date is firmly anchored in sculpture but, similar to Pavla Sceranková and Eva Koťátková, she too explores its potential through performative approaches and video.

Dundálková explicitly introduced performative work with her own body at one of her first solo exhibitions. It was held in January 2014 in Galerie K4 in Prague. The exhibition presented her video created on the basis of a performance of Dining (2016) by Dundálková and her colleague. Pavlaʼs body had become part of the table along with the opulent feast, all thus resulting in a still-life with food and the body enjoying it. The body, however, boasted extraordinary capabilities. Thanks to perfect choreography and the fact that the second performer was hidden under the table, the artist could for example take a sip from a glass placed on the distant end of the set table by burying her hand into the desk, and the hand would appear on that opposite side and would push the glass forward to her. Here again, it was about developing a refined relation between body, ordinary objects – such as table, dishware, cutlery – and space. It was a performed spatial illusory pun.

In late 2015 Dundálková presented her video Afraid of Darkness? (2015) in the Garage Gallery in Zlín. In it, she examined her childhood memories and the places where we grew up in a fond sense of security. Dundálkováʼs work often touches upon the situations when the flow of everyday timelessness is suddenly interrupted by a moment of life being possibly at stake. An unexpected accident or a constellation of things, when our heart instantly changes its frequency and our mortal frame begins to tremble inside, expecting someone to say: “Donʼt worry, this is just as if…”

Dundálkováʼs works displayed in the current exhibition also relate to this very point. The main installation is inspired by the oeuvre of the above-mentioned Vilhelm Hammershøi. The artist is attracted by his intimacy, the refinement that allows him to seize the invisible flow of time, to imbue his works with existential contents, which at first sight seem to be mere impressions of the everyday. She believes that even this intimate apolitical art mirrors the era when the artist lived, 19th- century society with its publicly tied morals, its hierarchy of power and its patriotism which all can be sensed from an outline of a woman present in some pictures almost as an inseparable part of a flatʼs furnishing. In the present exhibition, entitled When I Close the Window, I Donʼt Hear the Street Noise, Dundálková explores the exact boundary where private space comes into contact with public space. For the Presidential Salon, she has prepared a multi-layered installation responding to the complex social and political situation of today, when global affairs uncontrollably pervade our living rooms and when we all are heavily affected by the consequences of fear caused by bad news.

Curator: Pavlína Morganová

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Dukelských hrdinů 530/47, 170 00 Praha 7-Holešovice, Česká republika




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