Artist: Marek Meduna
Exhibition title: Heat and Mist
Curated by: Michal Novotný
Venue: Futura, Prague, The Czech Republic
Date: April 26 – June 11, 2017
Photography: Tomas Soucek, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Futura
The exhibition of Marek Meduna (1974, Prague) is dealing with figuration underlining the ambivalent disorienting impact of images. Chain of stereotypes abstracted from western mass media, stylistically somewhere between educational illustration and caricature cartoon, urges the viewer with the impossibility of coherent interpretation. Extremely sexualised, racist, xenophobic, islamophobic, obscene and generally clichéd motifs oscillates in between repulsion and fascination. The feeling of aversion, yet the impossibility of avert one’s eyes, is further accelerated with the depiction of visceral body parts, excrements, genitals, warts and other repugnant elements. Canvases are however hypnotizing in constant movement of the gaze from each elaborated detail to detail, concurrently not allowing the viewer to focus on the whole.
The paintings of Marek Meduna are therefore simultaneous accusation and conviction of the viewer from voyeurism and vulturism. A rupture, collision and consequent breakdown appears in the construction of meanings and paintings become in a sense a visual non-speech. Lacking clear linguistic sense, but still carrying strong emotional response. The exhibition at FUTURA gallery presents a complex scenography including the paintings into an overall sculptural-installation.
The Visitor finds themself in a partitioned labyrinth of repeating identical segments without an obvious beginning and end. A Kitschy fakeness, but also the certain brutality of slashed curtains and hanging chains surrounded by the belching, coughing and farting of a character that is interchangeably similar to current American president, animated on the background of Prague’s and Czech republic’s typical imagery. Bodily sounds associated here convey a certain uncouth small-mindedness, but also physical proximity and together with surroundings of constantly favoured vulgarly vernacular elements, supplements Meduna’s critically equivocal suggestion that “Czechia is also part of the World.”