What If We Gave Birth to a Frog?
Moravian museum, Fauna of Moravia, Bishop’s Courtyard
Zelný trh 299/6
50,- / 25,-
Martin Kohout is taking part in the Brno Art Open show with an intervention in the permanent exhibition of the Moravian Museum, in the zoological section called The Fauna of Moravia, which has completely retained its form from the 1970s and 1980s. It is therefore a museum of interpretation and installation procedures in itself – a glimpse of the history of how the world was exhibited long before it could be seen in internet clouds or before travel became more affordable than ever before. At the same time the permanent exhibition is an imprint of a world which is forever lost: some of the animal species which still lived at the time of its origin have died out. The dystopic question that is readily at hand is what role is played in this process by our society and what is its future going to be like.
An emblematic point of departure of the artist's installation, which is situated in the permanent exhibition of stuffed animals, is amphibians. He is interested in the related cultural references, myths and symbols, as well as the biological properties of the class, such as adaptability. As the title of the work suggests, a frog is morphed with a human. An observation of the specific features and possibilities of their fusion is shifted to a fantastic and mysterious image of a monster: “Your eternal wisdom is able to change human into monster and monster into human”.A quote from the libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil for Dvořák's opera Rusalkaindicates that the artist touches on a cultural stereotype. The institution of the museum as an object encyclopaedia of the world optimisation study of a similar archetypal nature.
Martin Kohout's project is related to his long-term interest in using scientific research for artistic activity. In this case it may be ethnographic or field research which attempts to understand a particular environment – a museum of natural history – including how its position develops in time. The artist does not "rebuild" the current form of the permanent exhibition but responds and makes additions to it. But even these minor interventions trigger off interaction with the whole organism of the institution which otherwise stays silent and static remaining to be “a museum of a museum”.