Sunday, November 12, 2006

Magdalena Jetelová. How much should we know?

See this>
These are powerful images. Dark, quite genuine in their landartishness, in their hands-on approach to the material. No gimmicking with the pictures here, just plain, gloomy black-and-white pulp.
My recent lectures, concerning Shakespeare, his work and times, put these images in a great perspective. What is the disappearance of the battleground? And the rupture between violence and human territory? Is it about the transmitting of the violence as a value, from generation to generation? An ever-available tool? Then the battleground disappears, since war becomes a state of mind rather than an act, which is but its realization. It is the possibility of all wars against evil, be it another culture ("barbarians" means "the foreign ones") or another, more sophisticated concept required to execute the inherited right to violence ("war on terror", of course...). So the battleground disappears, and there is a rupture between violence and human territory - because it isn't about the land any more. It is about identity. About preserving what is mine, because it is mine, and because it is what it is and is in danger of becoming what it is not. Suddenly, seen from this point of view, war is everywhere. It is unbearably flexible. It becomes this dark, black mass that is there.
Then there is another level. Atlantic Wall is the title of the series of pictures by Czech-born artist Magdalena Jetelová. The Atlantic Wall, (ever heard of the Siegfried Line?), were huge fortifications made by Hitler during WW2 along the coast of the Atlantic. What does that knowledge change? How different is the spectator's position? Now go a step further in the mythological aspects of the Atlantic Wall. And now, go for an informed review. How does your response to the work change as you discover the various layer? Does it necessarily get «better»? You don't need a spoiler to make it a spoiler. In this particular case, the Atlantic Wall looked at with all the info, seems like a mere illustration to a book. A beautiful illustration, but not more. It is very difficult to forget. Go back to all this Shakespeare, which from this perspective can seem like naive babbling of an ignorant.

Among Jetelová's many great projects, one of the most powerful ones is the Domestication of a Pyramid (to see more pics, on her site go to global-pyramids, then click on pyramid corners).

Once again, my silly question: How much should we know? In this case, I preferred to remain innocent and not inquire. After all, once I know, I cannot unknow, can I?


Hans said...

Amazing ! A pity that I have not seen the piece in Berlin in 1994. How did she made those ?

vvoi said...

From what I understand, she first created a construction (wooden?), and then finished it, putting a layer of earth on top. I wouldn't know if she put something in the earth for it to adhere.


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