Barbora Kleinhamplová at SAVVY Contemporary

Artist: Barbora Kleinhamplová

Exhibition title: Sickness Report

Curated by: Karina Kottová

Commissioned by: Jindřich Chalupecký Society

Venue: SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany

Date: November 30 – December 23, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin

Note: Exhibition text can be found here

In a new film and installation created specifically for  SAVVY Contemporary, the Czech artist Barbora Kleinhamplová addresses the sickness of neoliberalism through a metaphorical voyage both far ashore and into the mechanisms of building luxurious yachts and the fabrication of medications. An anthropological report of a middle-class dream-turned-into-nightmare attempts to capture the findings of a dizzy exploration, inviting viewers to consider their potential nausea as a part of something bigger:

It’s not just them or us who are sick. The whole ship trembles in nausea and discomfort. Stillness can hardly be distinguished from vertigo and acceleration boosts motion sickness of both the crew and the very deck carrying the tortured bodies and minds. For those in pain, it doesn’t sound like a solution to just wait for the boat to fall apart and then start building a better one from scratch. It might take too much time. It might never even happen. Time might bring irreversible damages. The ocean might not be very accommodating. Still, they are the ones on board, while others are drowning. More and more prescriptions of diverse medications clearly aren’t capable of bringing structural change. The symptoms are reoccurring, copy-pasted, spread out on most of the ships sailing turbulent seas. Drowsiness, dizziness, discomfort, restiveness, repetitive yawning, malaise, nausea, pallor, sweating, headaches, fatigue, chest pains or tightness, palpitations, insomnia, apathy. Reducing symptoms has proven easier than searching for causes.

Everybody participates. Even the doctors are sick. The workers in the drug factories are sick. The differences are mostly economical. Few can afford mechanisms that will excerpt their watercraft from the widespread misery. Some can afford not to be well. Some can afford the doctors and pills. And yet, they don’t really get better. The majority is working for and paying for the ship not to fall apart. In the evening, they sit down and watch it speed up, recess, stagnate. They are taught to think that sickness is their personal problem and therefore has to be treated individually. They don’t know who or what else to blame it on.

This new work was commissioned by the Jindřich Chalupecký Society and is kindly supported by the Czech – German Fund for the Future and the Czech Ministry of Culture.

Barbora Kleinhamplová (*1984) is an artist living and working in Prague. Barbora’s work is rooted in the relationship of human existence and contemporary political and economical institutions. She comments on different layers of society, posing questions as to what society is, how it works, and what its constitutive elements, illnesses, emotions and future are. Recently she has been employing a strategy we might refer to as constructed or staged situations. The script of her works is often derived from an existing format of group interaction (therapy, coaching session etc.) and the performative dimension of her projects accents the symbolic role of body politics in current systems of power.

Her work has been exhibited widely in the Czech Republic as well as internationally – including the Jakarta Biennale (2017), 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2016), New Museum, New York (2014), or Astrup Farnley Museet, Oslo (2014). She received a scholarship within the framework of the residency program of MMCA, Seoul, South Korea in 2015, Gasworks, London in 2016 and Residency Unlimited in 2017. In 2015 she received the Jindřich Chalupecký Award.

Karina Kottová (*1984) is a curator and theoretician of contemporary art based in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a director of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society. Her previous affiliations include MeetFactory international center for contemporary art (2012-15), DOX Centre for Contemporary Art (2009-12) and Museum Kampa (2007-2009). Amongst the projects she established and co-established are INI Project, an independent process-oriented project space, the Věra Jirousová Award for art critics, or UMA Audioguide. She is interested in the psychological and emotional impact of current socio-political challenges as well as in feminist theory and the subversive potential of so-called “feminine” qualities, such as empathy, irrationality or intuition.

Kottová earned a BA in Humanities from the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and an MA in Art and Heritage: Policy, Management and Education from Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands. In 2015 she defended her PhD thesis on “The Institution and the Viewer” in at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. In 2012 she was a Fulbright-Masaryk scholar affiliated with the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York.