Gold und Liebe XII. – a conversation with Šimon Kadlčák on Brno, corporality and the exhibition series Spooky Butt.

Ráhel Anna Molnár

Šimon Kadlčák (CZ) (*1990) works interdisciplinary in the field of contemporary visual art. Along with his own artistic practice he co-founded an independent experimental off-space Zaazrak|Dornych in Brno, Czech Republic. He explores the theme of dissolving identity of an individual in the collective or in the altered states of consciousness, that includes topics such as autonomy, freetekno, football or the Hussite movement. In the past years he exhibited solo at Berlinskej model, 35m2 Gallery, Jelení Gallery or National Gallery in Prague and at group shows at PLATO Ostrava, Kunsthalle Bratislava or Galerie Emila Filly in Ústí nad Labem. He lives in Brno where he also graduated at the Intermedia Department at the local Faculty of Fine Arts.

Ráhel Anna Molnár: Why Brno?

Šimon Kadlčák: In the beginning, I came here to university because I wanted to study in the Intermedia department lead by Václav Stratil. Back then I felt I’d rather be in Brno than Prague because I felt some almost Balkan-like atmosphere here, something that got completely lost throughout the years. I also have to say that before Brno I've only lived in small places. I’ve always thought that if I'm ever going to initiate some cultural activity – let’s say starting a club or a gallery –, why would I do it in the centre where there are already so many of them? Although Brno is not that small in the end, I still feel some of that “regional dedication” left in what I'm doing. I’ve been living here for ten years now and strictly from the personal perspective, I'd like to move away. But I started some things here and if I left now, I’d feel like I’m running from a work half done. I think I got to stay a bit longer so I feel like some stuff I have worked on had been fulfilled and then I can leave with a good feeling about it.

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Šimon Kadlčák: Untitled, 2020

Part of this is the gallery Zaazrak|Dornych that youve been running since 2019. Although there are several project spaces and artist-run initiatives, I had the feeling that it is all centred around the university in Brno. In the end, there’s a weird mix of a pretty vibrant young artistic scene and some void-like smalltown atmosphere that surrounds it.

I’d say the problem is that the whole mid-age art scene is missing. There are the neo-avantgarde, conceptual legends, who are coming from the 70’s and are already in their seventies as well, and then the students of FaVU. There's something really fresh and vibrant and then something you should acknowledge, but the mid-age scene actually should create the body for the whole scene, and the body is not there. The scene here is like if a head was growing straight off the ankles, that’s how it feels. Although there are some “first spring swallows”, artists in their 30’s and 40’s who graduated from FaVU. Their work is relevant for the scene and they stayed here (and usually they teach at FaVU now). It's definitely better, but still, this process is only at its beginning. 

How can you visualise the organic, the somatic and the digestive? It’s a quotation from the first part of a trilogy of exhibitions (Spooky Butt 1: Bio Organic / Somatic Digestion) that you’re co-curating with Daniel Hüttler. Can we say a major part of the young Czech art scene is also centred on this question or is it just my perception as a stranger?

We didn't think of it as a statement of some local or generational part of the scene. I’d say the body, corporality, and the organic together with the popularity of use of some natural materials are some of the major topics of the young art scene globally. Although, it is definitely largely present here, in Czech and also in Belgium for example. The ad hoc theory could be based on the fact that both countries have a vast beer tradition. Beer intoxicates the senses, slows down one’s perception and also may cause digestive problems. I’ve already been telling someone about this theory, I haven't made it up now.
On the other hand, one of the crucial artists at our show is Csaba Kis Róka, whose work also perfectly fits into the digestive concept, which brings me to the idea: would you say there's something like a “red wine spirit” in Hungarian art?

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Spooky Butt 1: Bio-Organic / Somatic Digestion installation view with works of Kinke Kooi and Csaba Kis Róka. Terén, Brno, CZ, 2021)

Definitely, we can take red wine as a link to some early 19th century literary hallucinations filled with agony soaked in romanticism, but it is also a clear reference leading us to ancient Hungarian myths. We’re right at the terrain that Hungarofuturism works and plays with. But red wine probably remains a symbol that will always be ironic to some extent, while we actually nurture a real pálinka spirit in Hungarian art and Hungary in general. Take pálinka as a poison that makes you feel the extremes of emotions such as anger, desperation or passion, while it simultaneously keeps you stuck in the fire thats burning in your own footsteps. 
How about the venue where you’re organising this series?

It’s in the medieval catacombs under the Center of Experimental Theatre (CED) in Brno. CED administers several alternative theaters in the city and recently they launched a new scene under their patronage called Terén. It's the most progressive and experimental scene of them all (under CED) actually. I accidentally found out about the catacombs when I bumped into the outdated webpage of “Galerie Katakomby” which went on in that space sometimes in the 2000’s. There were some photos of the shows. The gallery wasn’t relevant even back then, but I was fascinated by this strange intestine-looking space without a single wall flat and without any 90 degrees angles. The show is actually very site-specific – the space itself already brought me to the digestive topic. The catacombs have no official function now, but when Terén started to operate in this building I began asking about the possibility of making a show there. Eventually it happened to be the whole series of shows.

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Chin Tsao: hot bitch and her instadoge from Spooky Butt 1: Bio-Organic / Somatic Digestion

What’s to be known about the next two chapters of this series? Is there some kind of narrative or is it more like a kaleidoscope bringing up different aspects?

A bit of both, I think. The first show’s subtitle is Bio-Organic, it’s about the feelings of discrepancy towards one’s own corporality, digestion, excretion, and the inability of control over the basic physical inner processes. The second show’s title will be Bio-Efficient, it's about the technological extension of the human body, prosthetics, cosmetics, phones, and transhumanist questions. The third show will be Co-Parasitic and it's about the fact that even inside your body, you never are alone.

Upcoming chapters of the exhibition series:
4–15. August: Spooky Butt 2: Bio-Efficient / Recursive Procession
4–12. September: Spooky Butt 3: Co-Parasitic / Mikrobial Regression  

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Gold und Liebe I. – A conversation with Katie Zazenski on care, (virtual) identities, Stroboskop art space and Poland’s political reality

Located in a small garage in Warsaw’s Ochota district, Stroboskop Art Space is an alternative, exploratory platform that engages with both the Polish and international art community. Through a program of critical exhibitions and performances, lectures, screenings, and community meetings, Stroboskop is a space for experimentation. Stroboskop was founded in 2016 by Norbert Delman, Agnieszka Delman, Przemek Strozek, Franek Buchner, and Jacek Słoniewski. Katie Zazenski joined the team in January, 2018 and Martyna Stołpiec joined in June, 2019. Stroboskop is co-directed by Zazenski and Stołpiec.

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Gold und Liebe II. – There are No Boundaries

Hyperlink Athens is the project of two young Greek artists, Alexandra Koumantaki and Yannis Voulgaris. It’s an independent curatorial platform and elastic artistic collaboration. The collective has been re-shaping itself since 2017, through cooperations, off-site and in-situ works that break down and reinterpret the borders of artistic and curatorial work, real and virtual space and the medial frames of what an artwork can be.

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Gold und Liebe III. – Lessons from Mutants

The (new) Constellation, the T(n)C was founded in 2017 by Ágnes Várnai and Tina Kult. They live and work in Vienna and experiment with a wide range of media, including virtual reality, 3D, installation and fashion. By combining the different disciplines, they are researching immersive experiences to connect the digital and physical levels of realities. T(n)C believes in the power of joint efforts. Their aim is to expand the practices of collective storytelling with a collaborative approach.

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Gold und Liebe IV. – Plague

Plague is a curatorial group founded in Krasnodar, Russia in 2018. It was created by three young artists, Arthur Golyakov, Stas Lobachevskiy, and Vanya Venmer. In their curatorial and artistic practice, they discover such issues as post-graffiti aesthetics, occult roots of capitalism, non-human and object-oriented agenda, and other newest artistic topics.

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Gold und Liebe V. – It’s about friendship and this sense of otherness

In the summer of 2020, we recorded a radio show with the participants of a regional cooperation project. We organised the cooperation together with the members of Budapest-based MŰTŐ group.

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Gold und Liebe VI. – MŰTŐ

A MŰTŐ független, artist-run platform és művészeti kollektíva, amely 2016 óta mutat be változatos programokat, s fiatal, magyarországi és nemzetközi művészekkel együttműködésben dolgozik a képzőművészet határainak tágításán. A MŰTŐ közössége kritikus kurátori megközelítésen és DIY kultúrán alapuló, demokratikus struktúrákra épül. Ennek a közösségnek én is tagja voltam, valamint vagyok is az Alterum artist-run network projekten keresztül. Most Kókai Zsófiával, Pálhegyi Flórával és Romhány Veronikával beszélgettünk a MŰTŐ jelenéről és jövőjéről, változó struktúrákról és táguló horizontokról.

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Gold und Liebe VII. – Utca & Karrier

Utca & Karrier (U&K) is an underground platform, focusing on politics, culture and arts. It aims to represent a critical, young creative scene and to build an institution in a counter-institutionalist manner by giving voice to new thought and perspectives. The magazine was founded in Budapest, in 2018 and has been operating ever since with a growing net of collaborating artists and writers. Following the previous issues (Application, Violence, Knifes, Flames and Golden Age) U&K is currently preparing its 6th publication, Phoenix.

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Gold und Liebe VIII. – Utopia is an existence of uselessness

Rhizome parking garage is a decentralized art project. Through art, music, writing, and the creation of decentralized networks it hopes to help create a desire to shift the structural asymmetries.

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Gold und Liebe IX. – Šimon Sýkora

Šimon Sýkora (1990) lives and works in Prague and Vienna. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague in 2019. He participated in the study programs of Unarte Bucharest (2016) and TNUA Taipei (2018). His attitude as an artist is characterized by primitivism and sensitivity, working with themes such as absurdity, embarrassment, irony and apathy. Through his paintings, he captures distant characters, silently provocative inhabitants of terrains the rules of which we are not even aware of; while his performative practice dives in the bizarre spheres of political extremism.

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Gold und Liebe X – Hollow

Hollow embodies the shared hallucinations of choreographer Viktor Szeri, game designer Tamás Páll, and curator Gyula Muskovics. They have been working collectively since 2018, combining their visible and immaterial forces with sound and game mechanics to create immersive environments and cross-reality experiences. They merge the methodologies of choreography and contemporary dance with poetics, augmented reality, and live action role-playing to build world prototypes where the dominant systems of consensual reality can be questioned and modified. Hollow has provided access in various forms to the land of obscurity, investigating topics and contexts such as queer cruising, millennial cults, eco-anxiety, nature as a black box, and walking as a psychoactive substance. Hollow is constantly becoming, and most of their performances and installations are ongoing. Moving seamlessly across virtual terrains and the corporeal, they blur the line between fictional and consensual realms and distill personal domains into collective experiences. Hollow is a shapeshifter; they melt and mutate in the moment and the space they occupy. They are a crucible where identities and narratives dissolve and bleed into each other.

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Gold und Liebe XI. – Bublina

Bublina is an online magazine created by students from different studios of Brno’s art university FaVU VUT. Within this multimedial platform they explore the possibilities of digital publishing as a space for presentation, dialogue and collaboration. In the third issue with the theme Brave Space, they decided to sign the codex of the feminist art institution, which defines the principles of their work ethics. The main aim of the crew is to support their colleague students and also to create a self-made institution with a progresive approach of communication not only with the general public, but also within the collective itself.