Marek Meduna

Pictures, Captions and Plinths for the Period of Climate Transformation, 2019–2050, Marek Meduna (tribute to Piero Manzoni) 

acrylic on cetris, atmosphere, Earth

Janáček Cultural Centre Building Site

Besední 39a

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Marek Meduna has been invited to the Brno Art Open with the suggestion that he address two controversial situations that have arisen in the city public space in the past two decades. One of them is the fate of the mural by Vasil Artamonov and Alexey Klyuykov made for the previous edition of the exhibition in 2017, which had to be removed against the will of the organisers from the Brno House of Arts. Although they fought for nearly two years to keep the work permanently on a blind frontage of an Art-Nouveau tenement building, they failed to overturn the political decision. Meduna’s intervention refers to collective care for the public urban space, intermingling official restrictions, economic interests, the subversiveness of culture and other obsessions.

The focal point of the second situation is the building site of the Janáček Cultural Centre, a project carried out by the city of Brno for more than fifteen years without success and accompanied from the beginning by a series of non-transparent steps – from zero respect for the results of the first architectural design competition from 2002–2003 to opaque selection of further architects contributing to the project, or a lawsuit for copyright infringement brought against the city by the winning architecture studio. At present the construction of the Centre has been halted in the form of a large foundation slab, a concrete “field” in the city centre.

These two cases have inspired Marek Meduna to make two murals – independent, but related in their contents; a kind of monumental caption merging the signified and the signifier. The painting is simultaneously a placard and a critical notice directed against the representation of power. The placement of both works is simply eloquent: one is viewed from below, the other from above. The moment of seeing from above is emphasised by the interconnection with another work of this year’s exhibition: the observatory of David Helešic and Jaroslav Sedlák located on the roof of the Praha v Brně café, symptomatically titled by the artists 2021, i.e. the time in which the “delivery date” of the concert hall has been seemingly firmly set. Nevertheless, the two goals can get lost very quickly in the mist of futural perspective, covering them smoothly with other causes. The viewers are placed in two positions: They can be part of a crowd from which – taking a more attentive look upwards – they can gain perhaps somewhat encrypted, but clear “information on the condition of society”. Similarly, they can be invited to take a different position, to mentally rise above the artefact, to get a cartographic view from above.