In the solo exhibition "My Hands", KALI Gallery presents the new series of works by Czech artist Markéta Jáchimová (b. 1988), which deals with intercultural exchange and the contrasts between the present and the past.
Markéta Jáchimová: My Hands
27 August – 30 September, 2022
Kali Gallery, Luzern
As the title suggests, the exhibition focuses on the most basic human manifestation of leaving traces, referring to the first human handprints in caves to the current phenomena of modern mankind and his interaction with the planet.
The artist is interested in the contrasts and bizarre manifestations of human consumerism. This is reflected in her works, such as the ready-made objects (fashion sneakers) or the plastic glue nails with zebra motif. The artist uses photography to fuse emotionless, plastic, kitschy, yet aesthetically pleasing objects and combines them with tapestry (tapestry) installations to tell a certain story or evoke a certain essence.
Through the travels, the artist brings her impressions and leaves them in her art, through which she shares her perspective and perception with the world.
The exhibition deals with man and the present, the changes in the natural environment due to the rapidly evolving time and deals with the clashes between social classes.
This is evident in the use of corrugated cardboard as a material, which frequently appears in the image montages and as an installation element. This material is often used as a cover for houses, non-permanent buildings, garages, and shelters. The artist gives this material not only practical but also aesthetic weight. Hidden in this material are references to the local culture. However, she does not use the corrugated cardboard as a roof, but as a vertically arranged material that mimics a curtain, a ripple of the surface in graphic abbreviation.
This element of roofing has appeared in the artist's work for over seven years and is used in this exhibition as a background for paintings and photographs.
In the entrance to the gallery space, one encounters an inviting installation with the silhouette symbol of a palm of a hand. It is a handmade tapestry made of many noodle-like fabrics rolled together and colored with spray paint. It has an organic and wavy shape, like the grooves drawn in our palm.
This installation sprinkles from time to time. Hereby the artist wants to create the feeling of rain in a place where it actually can not rain. The juxtaposition of places where water is present and can be passed on, and places where there is no water or never will be.
This is also evident in the photographs that accompany the tapestries and objects. The pressures of fast-paced times, new technologies, and the senseless production of waste drive the artist to return to her roots and traditional handmade techniques. She has appropriated and modified the technique of hand-knotted tapestries to develop her own unique technique. The material she uses is a fabric called molton. Her technique consists of collecting unused curtains from theaters, art fairs and surplus from textile factories and bringing the fabrics back to life through her creations.
Jáchimová strives to create art without waste. In doing so, she opposes mass and machine production. Each of her tapestries is unique.
This technique originated in the Middle East and therefore led her to Egypt, where during a six-month residency (SKK Lucerne 2021-22) she explored the local environment and created hand-sewn images.
The stay in Egypt, the origin of one of the most advanced civilizations, is an important inspiration for the artist's "happenings", which go beyond gallery exhibitions and take place in the local environment.
Jáchimová made tapestries that she photographed in the streets, on people and on animals. One of the events took place at the site of the Great Pyramids of Giza, where she carried out her walking gallery project despite a government ban. She hung her handmade tapestries on the camels' bodies, which bore the symbol of a fictitious corporate brand, a gesture made of ribbons blowing in the wind (coming from the artist's earlier work). The camels ran with the artwork in front of the pyramids at a sort of cat-like pace, as if on a catwalk, until they were stopped by the local government police, who had to be bribed to ensure that no one was harmed. The event lasted only a few minutes and was captured in photographs.
These events critically underscore the tourist and consumer society that offers no opportunity to breathe or enjoy the unique architecture. From all sides one is attacked by vendors offering to buy or rent souvenirs, horseback riding or the aforementioned camels at completely absurd prices.
The stay in Cairo was a decisive factor in the creation of this exhibition. The fulfillment of the dream to see such an advanced culture up close was quickly replaced by disgust and incomprehension of mixing with a consumerist and fast-paced society that produces unimaginable amounts of waste.
This is evident in the work "Nomad," a natural wood stick leaning against a black, corrugated wall with a sneaker hanging from it. The wooden object comes from the lake in Lucerne. The shoe comes from a factory in the Middle East and was bought at a local market in the Middle East. What is modern seems strange.
The sneaker is decorated with modern ornaments, and the highly stylized sole is inspired by the stylized image of the palm tree (palm).
"When it rains, they dry their shoes on a stick over a fire.
In this case, the shoe is a fashion sneaker fake. This contrast between two worlds that are separate yet on the same planet makes me think of the whimsicality and creativity of the local market."
As mentioned earlier, Jáchimová crosses the boundaries between image, object and installation by creating site-specific works and allowing the pieces to interact with the viewer. However, her latest body of work, created in her Lucerne studio after living in Egypt, is quite different from her work in Egypt.
The artist retains her handmade tapestry technique, but experiments with other elements such as ceramics and natural materials. Titled "There Was A Storm/Organic Soul," the works are no longer calm and meditative, no longer have a modest color scheme, but bring a disjointed energy, bursts of color and blends of color, like streams of water and lightning during a storm. A stick crosses the tapestry and is held by an alien hand.
These hands are a new representative in her work, it is the stylization of a hand that looks like an animal claw. It is a kind of representation of human manipulation in general. This claw protrudes into the painting with its fingernails and cuts through it.
Each of these claws is aesthetically treated with a colored glaze that flows like water. The artist often combines these claws with other objects, such as a sneaker with the claw serving as a hanger, or a photograph of a human hand holding a claw.
"The claw has a texture like running water and is photographed in dry areas. These elements evoke an ambivalence in me that I want to convey to the viewer."
Photo: Kim da Motta