Nervous Trees at Galerie Rudolfinum

The Czech artist Krištof Kintera has turned the gallery into a workshop

Galerie Rudolfinum is opening its100th exhibition since 1994. The large-scale exhibition project of Czech multimedia artist Krištof Kintera covers the last five years of his career, with some 20 sculptures, installations and interactive objects. The exhibition opens Sept. 6 at 6 pm and then runs from Sept, 7 to Nov. 26, except Mondays. Admission is free due to the support of the Avast Foundation.

The exhibition's title Nervous Trees refers to large mechanical objects that look like tree roots with globes on top. When turned on they skitter across the gallery floor, sporadically starting and stopping. They are in the same space with a pillar made of mortar sacks called Do It Yourself (After Brancusi).

Some strange sculptures complete that space, including a wild male sheep, made partly of wires with what looks like a taxidermy sheep head, rearing up. It is on of his more recent works, Electrons Seeking Spirit (2016).

The first item that greets people upon entry is a black rock protruding through the floor and a chandelier that has crashed down from the ceiling. It is not clear at first if it is part of the show or a recent accident.

This leads to part of Postnaturalia, a landscape made out of electronic debris. It is almost impossible not to step on parts of it, especially if the gallery is crowded.

Kintera said he liked the interactive parts of the show. One large piece is called Public Jukebox, and people who climb to the top of some crude stairs made out of foam thermal insulation can pick a song to play. A fan blows foam fragments around the room, as if it were a storm.

Another part of the exhibition has turned the rather stately Rudolfinum into a workshop complete with metal stairs leading to an upper level of scaffolding. People can see various works in progress.

Kintera likes the contrast that the re-created industrial spaces and items make with the Rudolfinum.

He said his piece We All Want to Be Cleaned, made of a tower of washing machines, works better there than in other locations because it stands out against the background.

For the past several years, Kintera's work has included copper wire. He now says it is time to move on and explore new media and ideas. He told Prague.TV that we were living in the copper age, and all of society depends on copper for electricity, electronics and so on. One of his pieces in the workshop area is called We Are Still Living in the Age of Copper.

The smaller spaces are dedicated to showing dozens of drawings, the more intimate side of Kintera’s work. While these are framed and a bit more traditional, they also include mounted objects. Recently, Kintera has started to add text to the backgrounds, making them something like 3D memes. One has a block of wood with nails in it, and the text, “I am just [a] stupid piece of wood but I kind of like you.”

These works are made rather quickly, compared to the larger installation.

The gallery is also showing Hands – Tools of Brain, a one-hour video compiled from seven years of recorded footage of works being made from components.

Krištof Kintera, born in 1973, ranks among the best-known Czech mixed media artists. “The moment of movement, interaction and the social critique contained in his work springs from a fusion of fine arts, performance and stage design,” a Rudolfinum press release states.

He is the founder of Jednotka, an experimental theater ensemble, and the concept author of the annual festival 4-4 Days in Motion (4+4 dny v pohybu).

A resident of Prague's Vršovice district and a keen cyclist, Kintera is the author of two atypical monuments in Prague. The first is Z vlastního rozhodnutí. Located under the Nusle Bridge and dedicated to people who committed suicide. The second is Bike to Heaven, located in Holešovice and placed in memory of Jan Bouchal, the founder of cyclist advocacy group Auto*Mat, and of all cyclists killed by motorists in Prague.

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