Artists' Television Access

Romance, Mystery and Death

Collection of videos by Czech artists, curated by Radim Labuda.

Sunday, May 28, 2006, 8:00 pm, $5


This collection of videos somehow came together by itself rather than being a result of a pre-defined concept. They all somehow happen to explore certain heavily romantic moods and subjects. Nostagia, melancholy, romance, mystery and death. Their tempo is slow, but hypnotizing. The artists’ choice of subject is not restricted to local themes, they choose reference points understandable for audience anywhere in the world. After all, moving images are an international language.

Short film Mary (2000) by Daniel Pitin is inspired by real events from 1914, when souffragette Mary Richardson, cut up painting Venus with the Mirror by Velasquez at the London National Gallery. Fake silent movie, grothesque and surreal parody, is accompanied with score of Griffith’s Intolerance.

Michal Pechoucek is already an established video artist with a unique vision. His captivating movies made often of slowly moving images bear a trademark of returning back to bleak seventies in socialist Czechslovakia. Pram Room (2004) explores mysteries of vacant rooms typical for the concrete ghettos in all formerly socialist countries accompanied an by industrial soundtrack. Some of those mysteries may be very creepy.

Black Angel (2005) by Radim Labuda (that’s me) is an ambient remix of a randomly shot urban scene. Deserted scenery of an underground station becomes witness of a mysterious apparition of a fragile otherworldly creature with an accordion.

Mark Ther’s beautifully shot filmic narrative Small Blonde with his Red Suitcase (2005) is generously colourful nostalgic reverie, supposedly based on a story from a randomly found scrap of paper. Pathos of the romantic soundtrack rolls in waves across the daydreaming of two women in a rich baroque room, pondering on a mystery of a small blonde boy with a red suitcase.

Fake documentary about Marilyn Monroe by Sylva Malova titled Shakespearean Actress (2004) balances between reality and fiction in search of small private fragments of the big story. These are acted out by fictional characters. The illusion is almost seamless, you can only guess by small details if the footge is new or original. Malova’s fiction delivers yet another misleading view into our mass media drenched world. I’m very curious, if her reconstruction can be convincing even for american audience.

I could say come and grab a czech beer, but beer is not what this collection should be enjoyed with. I recon it goes best with red wine.

Radim Labuda

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