Sláva Sobotovičová at Futura

Artist: Sláva Sobotovičová

Exhibition title: Reverb

Curated by: Michal Novotny

Venue: Futura, Prague, The Czech Republic

Date: October 2 – November 25, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Futura

The exhibition of Sláva Sobotovičová Reverb takes its title from the music effect, that simulates absorbing and reflection of a sound inside of an enclosed space. However reverb is not only artificial, on the contrary, it is natural part of majority of sounds we ever hear. The title serves here as a certain metaphor for the mechanism of reactions and responses between the singing of Sobotovičová and her chosen musical context, as much as between sound and gallery space, when sound is a way to fill in the space, controls it and delineate it.

The exhibition dominate sounds installation, in which Sobotovičová collaged, mashed her own singing inside of other musical context. Three songs had been consequently mixed into coherent eight minute set. The text Sobotovičová sings is in the same time another collage made out of another song’s lyrics. The meeting, the reaction, therefore happens on the level of harmony, rhythm and melody, but also different genre as folklore, pop or avantgarde, different time frames, but also content-wise in the frame of symbolic or associative connections. The propositions of Sobotovicova are nonetheless critical, they point out gender or race hierarchies and stereotypes, but also the emancipatory, revolutionary potential, that music brings as a cultural phenomenon but also in the power of its pure musical component without the lyrics.

The sound is materialised in the gallery space via the sculptural installation of sort of balconies,  that refer to cantoria – singing galleries for church chorus. Sobotovičová conceived them also in the mash up aesthetics. Bright colours, kitschy details, etno, imitation or pseudo classical patterns relates to the light dynamic designs of audio systems or the rampant of DIY speakers and amplifiers in tuning car culture, the counter cultures in general and thus also the meetings of popular and high forms.

The exhibition is replenished with four, on mobile phone screens exhibited, videos, that in the frame of similar attitudes adds the visual, sometimes authentic, sometimes created component to the sound one.

Singing is however not primarily rational and analytic, but mainly emotional. Its effect is immediate as it vibrates through our corporeality. Thus is nevertheless important the position of an interpreter, as a bodily experience of the material given, experience that is in the same time intimate and performative, but doesn’t operate via reflection, but execution, internalisation. Also here  the reverbs serves as metaphor between the meeting of interpreter and material, interpreter being rather a certain medium, than active, purely intentional subject, the definition in frame of which we consider the modern individuality.

-Michal Novotný