a place instead 

Velibor Božović
Tomáš Hrůza

On view 13.06. – 6.09.2018

Torn net. Hazy mist. Deeply ploughed field.

Memory, while studied by exact scientific disciplines presenting its images in the form ofhierarchic structures and extensive maps, does not constitute a clearly definedspace. On the contrary; created in the language of antitheses, it can never become a space in the mathematic sense of the word.

It has no limits.

The limit points of memory are guarded by tangles of undulating snakes. From above, they remind of moving liquid sands, of land trembling with the kiss of danger of its quaking and opening. Instead of columns designated by power, the processual borders of memory are occupied by membranes letting information in and out following an unclear filtration rule. Is that why memories are dangerous migrants?

It is not a compact, measurable surface.

The terrainof memory is jagged by grooves of memories, potholes of encased emotions whichmake our hearts beat at a fast rate. Some images and words disappear in deeptrenches, where they survive as frameless scenes uttered without context, only to spread out through all of our being in an unguarded moment. Others, twistedand crumpled many times, are hiding in high corners. Looming over us like a leaning tower, they are waiting for a sheer drop, so we can then indulge in the hermeneutic reading of our own past on the debris of this kaleidoscope.

It is not a fully describable, and thusobjective entity.

Memory contains blank spots, whose origin can only be doubted. Are they still waiting to be filled, or are they the remains of an act of violent erasure? While memory seduces us by its aura of uniqueness, it is filled with purloined memories, which we stole ourselves from family narratives, old photographs and social media. Instead of a custom designed interior, it proves to be a multiplied collector’s still life built by the hand of a thief, a pathological liar and a dreamer.

Torn net. Hazy mist. Deeply ploughed field.

The space of memory which defies the language and imagination of mathematics requires its own communication mode. Verbal and visual images, which, like memory, will seem like a corpus of clearly articulated narratives, will dissolve in the ambiguity of contexts and plurality of interpretations the moment they are uttered. The images of memory are not inclined to build vast places of memory, rather becoming bearers of the intimate memory of a place. Although showing perfect colour surfaces delimited by the frame of the computer screen or the line of photographic paper at first glance, inside, they succumb to a movement in the rhythm of bumps and tongue twisters.

We may decide to overcome these internal obstacles, or to reject them and find our way around them. Then, however, the nature of memory will catch up with us themost. There is no “way around” in memory delimited as a non-space. As shown by the exhibition of Tomáš Hrůza and Velibor Božović, we appear trapped in the ever-expanding network of stories of places, their memory, our place in those places and the place of those places in our memory. We live in memory which is our liquid home. We are the moving sands on its edges; we are the thieves, dreamers, liars and creators. We are forever uniquely lost in this transcendental geometry.

                                             Andrea Průchová


Velibor Božović

In 1988, to mark 150th anniversary of the invention of photography, the city of Montreal designated 6 streets within a new housing development in Rivière des Prairies/Pointe aux Trembles district to be named after important historical photographers of Montreal. The new neighborhood was drawn and the names of William Notman, Ovilla Allard, George Arless, Edgar Gariépy, Conrad Poirier and Alexander Henderson found their place on the official map of the city. There, they remained for 19 years. But, in reality, the streets have never been built and the names have never been inscribed on street signs. Finally, in 2007, the city administration retracted from its initial plan and the photographers’ names were removed from future maps, never to be printed again. The designated area remains a wasteland to date. Strangely and stubbornly, the ‘phantom streets’ still appear on Google maps. This curious story about Montreal administration’s relationship towards the pioneers of its visual history, and the story about photographers’ refusal to disappear, serves as a pretext and inspiration for the installation and the film titled Nothing Will Surprise You Here. Two protagonists, Catherine and Gustave, take walks through the 'phantom streets' (in reality, only a desolate woods) and have a dialogue revoking memories of growing up in the 'neighborhood' and exchanging stories about people they once knew. The images document the site, the passage of time, the seasons, as Catherine’s and Gustave’s existence belongs only to the stories they tell. It is a poetic and philosophical piece that touches on the cultural meaning of space and place. It celebrates the (lost) potential of the lives that will never be lived, but the potential that can never be taken away even if it is forever buried in the past.

Tomáš Hrůza

Theseries “A Place Instead”, including several photographs and one video,represents the outcome of a long-term creative process done in a ruralenvironment located nearby the author’s summerhouse and adjacent orchard. Themain motif presents the fire that can be perceived as an agent of the catastropheas well as an agent of the purifying process of emancipation from our past,memories or, to put it simply, from unnecessary things in our lives. Theseries, thus, is more an open-ended narrative with less articulated conceptualambitions. The photographs work here as symbolical images of life mirroringinner stories or rituals that can take place at the outskirt of a village aswell as in the center of an urban jungle. This way, the series captures theauthor’s most preferred perspective; it allows us to view his work, usuallyoriented towards the exploration of landscape and nature, more as a process of findinga position of a human in the contemporary world then a pure expression of landscapephotography.   


Velibor Božović

Tomáš Hrůza

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