Exhibition title: Landlocked Country
Venue: Nevan Contempo, Prague, The Czech Republic
Date: June 22 – August 2, 2018
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Nevan Contempo, Prague
The exhibition Landlocked Country marks the return of the Rafani art group to Nevan Contempo, their home gallery, after a break of three years. This new project was created with these specific premises in mind. Rafani has collaborated with the sculptor Matouš Lipus and the photographer Lukáš Jasanský on Landlocked Country. There is no curator. There is no need of a curator. This is Rafani.
Both our ancestors and our future are to be found in the ground. There are secrets in the ground. There is fear, wealth, hope and poverty in the ground. In the ground there is a core that bends our minds and bodies with its crushing power.
People live the good life in our country. They travel by car and call each other by mobile. They have a roof over their heads and their bellies are full. In the towns and cities and in the mountains, in Prague and everywhere else. Underground a culture spread that grew upside down, revolted or simply got ready.
For others or just for themselves. This is no longer necessary, we are all one large cultural front. Outside of our country we are not very successful and barely known. We have castles surrounded by ramparts, gilded hands and a sober approach to life. Anything we are frightened of we run away from.
Some objects are in the ground. And some no longer have to be.
We want more, much more than those before us. We want to experience success, power, to be visible, to be flattered… and we want everything immediately if not sooner. Before everyone else around us. The mark of success is high status, lots of likes and smiles, smiles, smiles. We have millions of friends. We are gripped by the fear of missing something, losing something, and so we make sure we are everywhere at everything. We create charts in order to rise to the top. He who decides on the order is sovereign. Anything new that appears must immediately be included in the values of our own importance. Long live ranking! Every second of the day we monitor how we are doing. We are good and we want to be the best.
The Czech art group Rafani was founded in the year 2000, underwritten by clearly defined, democratic rules and principles. The founding of the group is characterized by their collective approach and engagement, taking a stark interest in public affairs. Rafani have always been interested in an art of the public sphere, and in the structural form of exhibitions. They are deeply involved with the potentials of metaphor – a trope they understand as a type of tool, able to activate a particular discourse for a specific localized environment.
Rafani use certain forms from the political sphere (the speech, demonstration, uniforms, petitions) which they then rob of their ideology and content, often abducting them for the art world. The group understands the politics of their art as a battle waged for the world’s mirror image in the name of the language of power. Their activities are poised on the intersection between utopian visions, analytical and hermetic introspection, and the performance of quotidian, practical tasks.
During the first six years of their activity, the basic artistic method of Rafani was that of contradiction.
The logo and leitmotif of Rafani is a circle, most usually black.