Veronika Šrek Bromová's exhibition curated by Lukas Hoffman at Karlin Studios in Prague.
Veronika Šrek Bromová: The Strangest Times
Curated by Lukas Hofmann
21 December, 2020 - 14 March, 2021
Karlin Studios, Praha
"I drew Milky Way for Ivan - my then new partner. It was supposed to express my relationship to a place he named Chaos. This was around the time when we began living there together. In the drawing, milk is flowing from breasts - as a symbol of female fertility, which I was still hoping to possess at the time, the fertility of surrounding nature, the starry sky and the galaxy arched over us. The drawing also foreshadowed the desire to create something together in Chaos, to fill it with meaningful substance through mutual love - for a place in nature and the care for it. And indeed, that's been happening here for 12 years now. We have been farming here, growing crops, have founded an association and a gallery here, built and expanded, adopted children, created things. And we still do create.”
November. Tea, thick socks, damp wood. Veronika and I discuss her life and career in Chaos for half a day, and in chronological order, I learn about the men of her life, her two families - the one she was born into and that which she created, about the topology of long-closed galleries. Later we enter a cramped room and begin exploring stacks and folders of photographs and drawings. Here, a parrot drinks a tear from Daniel Nekonečný's eye, a young boy blessed by the sun. Over there, a family diptych - three generations of women and the piercing gaze of her mother. A drawing of aliens from school years. The author, reminiscent of Mother Courage, tied with a rope as if in bondage, with medicine balls on her feet.
I opt for smaller individual works, personal confessions, records of sometimes joyful, sometimes painful moments, to show a different facet of the artist, who has become, due to ouroboric curatorial interpretations, a certain atrophied symbol in the local collective psyche.
Somewhere near the corner, paper rustles, and something squeaks.
"I used to have white domesticated mice that mysteriously got lost. I had psychedelic, horror-like dreams about them, in which they multiplied uncontrollably. When I walk through the countryside, I see a network of their paths, from one hiding spot to another. Nowadays, there are mice in my photographic vanitas.
The red room should become a miniature, filigree code for myself, touching on my family, relationships, psyche, body and the desire to break free from its shackles, detach from the roots of the earth and fly away.”
As a group of jolly children crawls through a wooden house, Ivan beats wooden boards into the shape of a chimney or a narrow bookcase. It reaches to the height of the human body. When it gets dark, he ignites it. The sparks move swiftly in their graceful, wavy curves under a dark, perforated sky. Overcome by fatigue, I fall asleep in a nine-sided booth near the bonfire - the one onto which the Milky Way flows.
Photo: Tomáš Souček