Soya Stream

  • installation
  • 35m2 Gallery
  • Prague
  • Czech Republic

The exhibition Soya Stream at galerie 35 m2 marks a continuation of Diagnosis of the Curved Spine, an exhibited held this spring at Horizont Gallery in Budapest. As was the case with the Hungarian exhibition, here, too, the artists are interested in the invisible hand of the marketplace. Brno-based artists Julia Gryboś and Barbora Zentková have worked together since their time at university. Both are graduates of the master’s program at Brno’s Faculty of Fine Arts, where they are currently studying for their Ph.D. In 2016, they won Slovakia’s Oskár Čepan Award for young artists.
The current exhibition, which makes references to the earlier exhibition’s series of objects (paravent-style folding screens), is loosely inspired by the formal language of these items of furniture that are both utilitarian and decorative. Here, too, the historical context and genesis of the particular piece of furniture plays a central role. In the past, folding screens, originally from Asia, played an important political role. The more decorative and luxurious the paravent, the higher its owner’s social status.
Like the previous exhibition, the Oriental character of Soya Stream draws on the aesthetics of chinoiserie, a concept that among other things has been associated with the import of East Asian art into Europe since the 17th century. From the perspective of today’s consumer society, the subsequent crisis of European artistic craftsmanship resulting from a surplus of imported goods from these countries appears like an unstoppable and constantly repeating process. Among other things, this process is also reflected in the choice of material – the wooden structures are covered in textiles purchased from bankrupt stores. Another reference to market mechanisms is the repeated use of a deformed version of the Chinese symbol for prosperity and financial gain. What on the surface appears to be a painted spatial situation thus hides a slowly creeping, ever-increasing atmosphere of collapse, crisis, and uncertainty.

Photo: Oskar Helcel