Reality Check | Arts (General)

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at the Stone Bell)-The View From Here This group of more than 80 photographic works by some 20 artists from Central Europe and the American Midwest, two regions that while geographiC caily different have certain similarities. The show is divided into four main themes: the natural landscape, built·up areas, social issues and cultural values. The exhibition is a joint project of Arts Midwest and the Ohio Arts Council, . with the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. Ends May 4. Staromestske nam. 1.3, Prague l~Old Town. Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m . Galerie hlavniho mesta Prahy (Prague City Gallery) at Staromestska radnice (Old Town Hall)-Jakub Spanhel This up-and·coming young artist presents his latest cycle of paintings, meditative and gestural canvases based on church interiors and graveyard crosses. Ends May 18. Second floor orOld Towh Hall, Staromestske nam. 1, Prague 1. Open Tues.-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. . Galerie Josefa Sudka-Jifi Sever Photographs. Ends April 27. Uvoz 24, Prague l-Hradcany. Open Wed.-Sun. 1.1. a.m.-5 p.m. Galerie Kritikil-Jakub Stretti: Anatomy of Colors Paintings and drawings that synthesize aspects of micro and macro, inner and outer, into a whole that hints at the unseen phenomena of nature and human cognition. Ends Apri/1.8. Jungmannova 31. (in Palac Adria), Prague 1.-New Town. Open TueS.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Galerie Miines-Mllan Knizak A show of paintings by this fig· ure from the 1960's Fluxus movement who is now the ever·controversial director of the National Gallery in Prague . Ends April 1.2. Masarykovo nlibr. 250, first floor, Prague 1.-New Town. Open Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. . ." . Galerie Roberta·Guftmanna..:.... Ales Vesely: Mountain of Mountains A presentation of the artist's monumental land· art projects for the deserts of Israel. Ends April 6. U stare skoly 3, Prague 1-0/0 Town. Open Sun.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Galerie Rudolflnum-Reality Check This show presents the work of 16 contemporary British photographers and video artists from the younger generation. One artists uses mixed media. See Review, this page. Ends June 8. Alsovo nabr. 12, Prague 1.-0Id Town. Open Tues.-Sun. 1.0 a.m.-6 p.m. Galerie Techo Centrum-Europe Art Languages In the frame· work of a larger European project of the same name, this show confronts the work of 19 Italian and seven Czech artists from the middle generation (Michael Rittstein, Jiff Beranek, Vladimir Novak, Ivan Komarek, Pavel Roucka, Vaclav Blaha and Jaroslav E. Dvorak). The exhibition takes place in a working furniture factory, which stays in full operation while the works are on display. Ends April 1.2. U Tovaren 770/1b, Praha 10Hostivai'. Galerie Zdenek Sklenar-Karel Malich A show of pictures, collages and sculptures by this noted Czech artist. £hds 1IttId5; _8IiIii'..4.·,
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Too close for comfort
British artists delve deep into their lives for art
By
PAUL WILSON FOR THE POST

Jaroslava Fragnera-The ted Box: The NeverInteriors of MDRDV An . 'on of work by the noted architectural firm V. Thursday, March 278. Betlemske nam. 5a, 1.-0Id Town. Open •-Sun. 1.0 a.m.-6 p.m. Castle-To Fame and (Second Book of ,28th Chapter, Second ) An exhibition of pre· textiles from the 16th the 20th centuries Czech and Moravian syn· s. Wednesday, March June 23. Cfsarska konfrna 'al Stable). Open Tues.1.0 a.m.-6 p.m.

ONGOING
Josefa Sudka (Josef Atelier)-Gerald ine: Baltic Borderlands French photographer and - gist Assouline, whose ch sent him for the past years to the cities and side of the Baltics, ts a selection of about black-and·white photo, along with a short tary. Ends April 21. 30, Prague l:"'Mala . Open TueS.-Sun. 11 -5 p.m. Councll-Jaroslav Prokop basement of the British if are Prokop's photoof British theater and artists taken on tour in the Czech lie. Ends April 25. nf 1.0, Prague 1.-New • Open Mon.:"'Thurs. 9 -7 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-4

Described by its organizers as a "self-conscious moment of taking stock," the "Reality Check"·exhibition at Galerie Rudolfinum, presenting photography and videos by 16 yo\mg British artists, forces the viewer into confrontation with intimate realities. Six of the artists employ video, while nine use still photographs and Turner Prize-winner Keith Tyson opts for mixed media. The word art, with its connotation of aesthetic intent, seems somehow insufficient to describe much of what's on view in the exhibition. Petr Nedoma, the director of Galerie Rudolfinum, prefers the word information in describing s'ome of the works. "Photography is something like TV or newspapers," he asserts. "It is not about aesthetic matters.',' COURTESY PHOTO While many of these Uke his counterparts, Graham Fagen eschews aesthetics photographs and videos for more-direct confrontations with everyday life. are low on aesthetic merit, there is certainly no shortage of candor. From Alan Curra!J's self-starring Message to My Best Friend, adisarmirlgly honest seven-minute video paean in which he coyly admits that he "can't imagine anyone ever being as important to me as you are," to Nigel Shafran's Washing-Up series - seven shots of his kitchen sink with only the dishes changing, accompanied by a diary of what was consumed and with whom - the unflinching sincerity is arresting, In many of these photographs the meaning is not to be found in their comp-osition or technique but rather in the rich details they present of
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in its entirety. Narrative also plays a starring role in the video works in the show. Artist at Galerie k r buxey takes control of the pornographic genre with Negrophilia, in Rudolfinum which she recounts ~ graphi~ terms her lust for black men while the moniEnds June 8. tor portrays her havmg sex With her ex-lover. Alsovo nabf Of the various themes explored in "Reality Check," voyeurism is partic12 prague' ularly overt. Dryden Goodwin's Closer is a study in surveillance at a time 1-Old Town when the United Kingdom, with some 300,000 closed-circuit cameras in 0 en Tues :.. operation, leads the world in public scrutiny. Goodwin's quiescent camera S~n 10 . is soundtracked by industrial murm~1t scans offices, homes and a m'-6 p m cafes to mesmerizing effect. And)mxey's Such a Feeling's Coming Over ... . Me shows her flirting outrageously with the camera in a parody of Japanese porn. Viewers may feel distinctly uneasy watching video artist Michelle Williams play dead on her living-room floor while her dog probes arid licks her body. Gallery director Nedoma seems to welcome critical reactions that these pieces may raise, stressing how important it is to "provoke a reaction in people." The refreshing thing about this exhibition is its complete lack of pretension. None of the artists are offering an interpretation of reality - instead, they directly engage their own reality. For its sheer boldness and innovation, "Reality Check" is worth checking out.

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As part of the show's accompanying program, artist Phil Collins gives a talk at the gallery Wednesday, March 26, at 8 p.m. Check the gallery's Web site at www.galerierudolfinum.czforfuture events.

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