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Pavel Kopřiva - #LIVE TRANSMISSION
Every day we are confronted with horrific reports about what is happening in the Middle East and Ukraine. And scientific discoveries and miracles in medicine are a daily source of fascination. As soon as we wake up, we can be connected to the whole world, which can know everything about us with just one click on a smart phone. We even know about the hitherto mysterious dark side of the Moon. But can we really believe it?
Similar questions are raised when viewers enter the exhibition by Pavel Kopřiva, an artist closely associated with the art scene in Ústí nad Labem. His work constantly oscillates between reality and fiction, both on a formal level and in terms of content. In Kopřiva’s work, the precise creation of artefacts often balances on the knife edge of a designer’s notion of a used product, or resembles or actually makes use of existing systems and products (devices used in electrical engineering, scientific aids and devices, media structures, or programmes). The artist draws the viewer into a semantic game, reckoning with the thrilling fear of the unknown, and the endless quest for knowledge connected with eternal wonder. But he also takes advantage of our voyeurism, or our tendency to let ourselves be manipulated by “official announcements”.
Kopřiva’s artefacts, photography and video installations operate independently of each other, as experimental objects or documentary materials. In addition, they are also connected to multi-layered, mutually permeable installations and compositions. The artist is always creating a specific situation, in which he presents particular works, and offers the viewer an opportunity to experience such presentation. Viewers find themselves in situations that they are expected to be engaged in. Kopřiva always offers them several interpretations: he makes claims, observes, puts forward ideas, raises questions, and misinforms. None of these options is regarded as the correct one. Images and meanings in the works link together, deflect, disrupt other contexts, and follow various meta-links. The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.
This exhibition at the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region is conceived as significant layers in the archive concept. It can be seen as a journey of more than 20 years of artistic development, as an archive of visual commentaries examining diverse systems (social, political, scientific and cultural) or as an archive of information, real or fictitious. The boundary of uncertainty with which Pavel Kopřiva works in his output, creates the potential for the viewer to be actively engaged, and thus emphasises the basic task of artistic expression in a social context. The artist’s role is formulated as a social position, indicated via aesthetic codes, by the transformation of images and the creation of bonds in terms of relationships and semantics.
Eva Mráziková, exhibition curator