The Last Day of Creation:
Landscape Reclamation in the Ústí nad Labem Region Today and in the Past
11/3 — 31/8 2020
The short film The First Day of Creation, which was commissioned by the Czechoslovak Television's Documentary Department in 1978, features a legendary expert on landscape reclamation after surface coal mining - Stanislav Štýs. He walks through the “deserted and lifeless landscape”, in some places totally devastated and seemingly barren. In other shots, he presents landscape conservation plans for the North Bohemian coal district and he states that there are no limits to technologies and socialist planning and that - as in the beginning of the world when the Earth was desolate and then plants grew on it and it became fertile - it is possible to transform landscape according to your needs and replace former brown coal mines with a human-made lake or an orchard. Stanislav Štýs has been working in the field of landscape reclamation since the 1960s, his plans developed during the 1960, 1970s and later are still being implemented and some of them have already been realized.
The group exhibition will focus on several aspects of landscape reclamation, exploring the anthropocentric and colonial relationship to landscape, which manifests itself in the belief that any part of landscape can be exploited in order to get coal and then irrigated and cultivated again without any serious consequences. It is the impact of coal mining that we feel today in connection with climate change, which is a very topical issue to which contemporary art also responds to a large extent. The architectural study by Jitka Žambochová or the critical video essay by Marie Lukáčová will deal with the actual development of the North Bohemian landscape and its current state, foreign video contributions will also largely reflect the efforts to find solutions and fulfil specific utopian ideas. These ideas are very often based on criticizing the current political and economic system. Therefore, a large part of the exhibition will be devoted to anti-capitalist struggles for the right to land and initiatives of organic and cooperative agriculture, which are becoming an alternative to the aggressive land use we are witnessing in the Czech Republic. The local efforts to protect landscape and to use natural resources in a sustainable and sensitive way are the actual utopias of the present, which are trying to break free from anthropocentric colonialism of nature and to remedy what can still be remedied.
The exhibition and the interdisciplinary accompanying program will present several aspects of landscape conservation plans for the North Bohemian coal district today and in the past. Visitors will be able to see exploring the anthropocentric and colonial relationship to landscape, which manifests itself in the belief that any part of landscape can be exploited in order to get coal and then irrigated and cultivated again without any serious consequences.
Martina Johnová a Anna Remešová
Angela Anderson, Radek Jandera, Marie Lukáčová, Jan Kvíz, Martin Netočný, Matthew C. Wilson, Jitka Žambochová
BCAA System, Lea Kupková, Anna Chmelařová
Tomáš Uhnák, Johana Zacharová (Fakulta životního prostředí UJEP), ateliér Tečka, David Přílučík a Artyčok.TV
Barbora Kropáčková, Klára Vlachová, Hanka Kokšalová, Evelína Ženíšková a kolektiv Hraničář
The Last Day of Creation 12/3—28/8
opening: 11/3/2020 at 6 pm
Prokopa Diviše 1812/7
Ústí nad Labem
“The power of art and culture is inspirational and as such has the ability to change people, their perception, and the whole society.”
The conception of Hraničář Gallery comes from the effort of critical reflection of current issues and events in the society. We would like to initiate international collaborations to provide opportunities for education and sharing of ideas. Hraničář Gallery supports critical thinking and new forms of artistic and intellectual engagement in connection with science, society and fine arts. We are building both real and virtual environments which would offer the viewers and guests good conditions for inspiration and critical self-reflection.
In 2016, the Hraničář partnered with German institution of Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden and also with the UJEP Faculty of Arts in Ústí nad Labem. The collaboration with German partners is done via an open dialogue and interconnecting topic-based exhibitions. The main idea is not to copy contemporary exhibition which can be seen in Dresden, but rather to bring new view and paradigm in terms of art exhibition confrontation when it comes to contemporary art in the Czech Republic.
Throughout art exhibitions of contemporary Czech and foreign art, Hraničář art gallery opens discussions for current topics and can elaborate on them via different supporting forms of public events. Education programs for students and children are also a key venue of our monthly program. The Hraničář art gallery is located in the old Hraničář film theatre building, right in the center of Ústí nad Labem. In 2014 the building publicly reopened and new floors suitable for art exhibitions were introduced.