Date: 15.08.2012 — 09.09.2012
Man is an animal that has learned to become bored. This is what separates us from the beasts: our sense of tedium, both the tedium of having nothing especially to occupy us, and the tediousness of what does occupy us. It is then we perceive not only what we could do but also, and this is important, what we could not do. This essentially human and genuinely poetical realm of utter indifference is where we can see differently what is possible in the world we live in.
Jaro Varga and Dorota Kenderová explore boredom as the condition of an authentic creative act. Somewhat unexpectedly, however, they do so in the context of Prague’s flourishing touristic industry. In the midst of crowds pouring over the Charles Bridge since early morning till late at night, the vendors, mainly painters and portraitists, keep trying to attract the gaze of the tourists in order to earn living. “Art stops in front of the bridge and then continues on the other side,” remarks one of the local caricaturists. Boredom gets dissolved in the swarm of the passersby. The question the artistic duo ask is the following: What is the object of gaze of these vendors, who spend their whole time on the bridge, which itself is an object of desire of tourists from all over the world, but which, at the same time, is a place the locals try to avoid at all cost? What are they thinking of once their attention turns away from the never ending torrent of potential customers? The artists, who are, importantly, also curators, have asked the caricaturists from the Charles Bridge to depict their “boredom”. Do these artefacts not present a fitting metaphor of the work of a contemporary artist in today’s times of late capitalism?