Brownfield at the Brno Lower Railway Station
June 19, 2019, 17.00
Unveiling of the object Construction Block by Martin Zet
Although he is one of the few artists invited to this year’s BAO who has an academic education in sculpture, his attitude to the classical object is subversive – he often dematerializes his objects with a radical abbreviation or a strong gesture. When doing so, he doesn’t emphasise the material nor the formal aspect. What is essential to him is time, duration, life expectancy, dialogue and interpersonal relationships. In 2015 and 2016, he incorporated his art, experiences, and memories associated with Brno, where – despite his longstanding reluctance to teach – he led the Video Studio at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology, together with Jiří Ptáček, Anna Balážová and later with Jan Šrámek, in an exhibition named Terraces (TIC Galleries) and a specific retrospective book published under the title Nekrolog(Obituary). He now returns to the city after three years as an artist represented at the Brno Art Open. However, his exhibited work doesn’t relate to his own existence, but to the work of his father, sculptor Miloš Zet, one of the most important personalities of the official art scene in Czechoslovakia in the second half of the twentieth century, who – like his generational peer Sylva Lacinová, who is represented at BAO – was intensively involved in the “art decoration of architecture”. In parallel, Martin Zet prepares his solo exhibition for the Brno House of Arts, in which he opens a dialogue with his father.
The object called Construction Block is a direct quote from the work of Miloš Zet who, apart from sculpting, designed original construction elements to vary the schematic standardisation and prefabrication of communist construction projects. But in the context of the show the object draws attention mainly to the change in perceiving the city space symbolised by the transition from public to private ownership.
Martin Zet installs his object in the area in front of the lower railway station in Brno. The issue of the location of the main railway station in Brno, debated without a result for almost a hundred years, became stalled in a catatonic state a long time ago and the dilemma of moving the station away from the city centre to the periphery today seems unresolvable. The epicentre of the whole argument is the vast empty plot between the existing railway station and the temporary lower station. In the confusing tangle of economic and political interests the potential of the plot is gradually fading. The paradoxical petrification of the whole problem is symbolically expressed using the object of an enlarged concrete masonry unit which is set in a large green meadow as an imaginary cornerstone of the possible development of the so-called South Centre.