Martina Havlíčková Holá: Long-term Goals

Date: 14.04.2022 — 22.05.2022
Beginning: 17:00

exhibition opening: 14. 4. 2022, 17:00
opening hours: 14. 4. – 22. 5. 2022, Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm

curator: Nela Klajbanová

The space is filled by sound. It guides us through a three-bedroom apartment. The floor creaks – it’s probably a rental property. Sometimes, she remembers something. She makes coffee, turns the radio on. The sound in the exhibition works loosely with associations that come up when one remembers a childhood apartment. The spoken word component, however, makes it clear that this is not a nostalgic return but rather a commentary on the attitude of the current generation towards housing availability and economic degrowth, a term appearing with increasing frequency in recent times.

Martina Havlíčková Holá’s work is characteristic in creating a collage of sound and image that often searches for moments of initiation in the past that update the present. How does our memory influence our reality, and to what extent is the nature of our memory subjective? We examine old photographs and perhaps appropriate some experiences or memories. The voice brings us to a house with a rounded corner, to an apartment with crates made from oak wood. The stream of consciousness of our guide draws inspiration from YouTube videos that allow anyone to see how celebrities live in the beautiful, spacious houses they own. The sound reverberates in the gallery just like at a viewing for an empty apartment. The script explores issues related to a society of degrowth that the protagonist occasionally calls into question, arriving at absurd contradictions. We hear an economist’s commentary: “But what’s beautiful about the world today is that everyone can have as much of their degrowth as they like. I think that’s nice – if they don’t want to grow, or rather not in the way of measuring economically that they get richer every month, amassing property, they can, no problem, and they can still live a nice – a beautiful life.” What is it like to have a beautiful life today? To grow or not to grow? The exhibition considers various aspects of measuring quality of life in the time of the housing crisis, gentrification, or ecological threats, asking about the limits we are set by fateful realities and whether we are capable of changing them. As we listen, we observe a collage of photographs and short videos in which we return to real memories; to phone archives, the most commonly used recording medium. It gradually becomes a place where we put things aside, where the important mixes with the unimportant, where we save screenshots from e-shops, social networks, and maps, but also essential memories and feelings. The video collage works intuitively and associatively with the themes mentioned here, along with fragments of the past that include the pavement near the house with the rounded corner. Again, the overwhelming quantity makes the term degrowth relative in everything we do today.

After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, during which time we often found galleries empty, this exhibition returns to the need of not simply creating a “thing for itself”, instead of having its own purpose. More than anything else, the gallery, therefore, reminds us of an empty apartment, degrowth, the need to break away from being overwhelmed, a desire for simplification, and the unspoken question of whether this is even possible in today’s complicated world.

Martina Havlíčková Holá (*1987) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in the studio of intermedia. She is focusing mainly on the medium of moving image which she presents in galleries as well as at film festivals (MFDF Jihlava, PAF Olomouc). From 2015 she worked in the Czech radio research section where she created short videos from the radio archives called Auditorium and for the programme ArtCafé she prepared content about international contemporary art. In 2019 Holá participated in the conception and dramaturgy of the project Stairs of Time with Roman Štětina, in which they represented 30 years of freedom through sound memory. She is also the author of the radio documentary Last News which points out current events reviving our past. Lately, she works on a series about visual culture Serviz for the platform Artyčok.TV.

sound engineer: Jonáš Rosůlek
voiceover: Marie Švestková
production managers: Anna Davidová, Tomáš Kajánek
installation: Anna Davidová, Kateř Tureček, Jiří Havlíček, Tomáš Kajánek
graphic design: Nela Klímová
translation: Ian Mikyska
sign language translation: Matěj Čipera (Tichý svět)

The project was financially supported by the grants of the State Cultural Fund, Ministry of Culture of The Czech Republic and Prague City Hall.