Elmgreen & Dragset | & others | a cool breeze | galerie rudolfinum, prague, czech republic
König Galerie | 25.4.–11.8.2019

Through a collection of works by seventeen international artists, the exhibition A COOL BREEZE exposes new possibilities of spatial depiction of a figure in contemporary art. The main theme is a new concept of the classical sculptural theme – the human body – which is increasingly being processed in an unusual way and using non-traditional materials. The exhibition is trying to confront the past with the present to bring to light the fundamental shifts in contemporary sculpture. By choosing the paradigm of human figure, we are faced with the socio-anthropological issue that uncovers the past conventional codes of human ideal and beauty. The challenge inherent in the figure sculptural tradition leads to the most progressive and the most innovative examples of contemporary sculpture. “It is evident that many artists still consider the human body, the figure as a key means of their artistic expression; a way through which one can comment on the very contemporary issues of identity representation, social issues of specific groups, cultural values and symbols. The result is a confrontation with classical aesthetic values and modernist forms,” said Petr Nedoma, curator and director of Galerie Rudolfinum. Contemporary sculptural production blends reinterpretation of tradition, search for resources in non-Christian cultures, free treatment of abstract tendencies, adoption of various installation practices, relying on the narrative as opposed to more or less emptied-out symbols, ironic comments on old techniques, social role of the individual in the context of Western society, all in motion back and forth between abstraction and anatomy in a variety of techniques and ways. The human body has ceased to be the exclusive and practically the only means to articulate binding ideas and themes in rigid form, derived, through complex distillation, from the intersection of the whole history of the field. The body is no longer the subject. Artists use the figure more in the sense of a catalyst, using it to formulate ways in which our Western culture conveys identities, social positions and values. They deal with current issues of the influence of mass media, issues of violence, the situation in society, whether inside or outside our cultural circle, their works being unusual mirrors of our accepted codes and conventions representing it the humane. “Each and every one of the seventeen exhibited works, as well as the exhibition as a whole, has an extraordinarily powerful aura and story. We tried to bring it out, to emphasize it so that it leave an emotional footprint in this flood of information,” concludes the curator Petr Nedoma.

Exhibited artists: Elmgreen & Dragset, Ron Mueck, Athar Jaber, Yinka Shonibare, Stella Hamberg, Paloma Varga Weisz, Stephan Balkenhol, Isa Genzken, Melik Ohanian, Krištof Kintera, Roger Hiorns, Georg Herold, Christian Holstad, Antony Gormley, Thomas Houseago, Frank Benson, Thomas Schütte