Anthony McCall, Between You and I, 2006 / Installation at Peer/The Round Chapel, London, 2006 / Photo Hugo Glendenning / Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Gallery, London
CO-EXTENSIVE
Oct 19, 2023 – Jan 21, 2024
Galerie Rudolfinum
Prague, Czech Republic

The CO-EXTENSIVE exhibition is based primarily on two moments: the first is the observation that images (in the broad sense of the word, from the thousands of pictures that everyone has on their phone to social media to artworks) are a permanent part of the everyday experience of the world. The ubiquity of imagery has a number of implications that are not always easy to see. The key ones include the flattening of the experience of the world and the dominance of illusion in shared space. Representation brings about great openness to modification and manipulation, and so what often looks like an accurate representation of reality may not refer to anything real. Reality is covered with a layer of representation, often fictitious, and so is not easy to get to it.

The second moment consists of an academic perspective. One of the first impulses for the exhibition was the art historical question of how and what remains alive in contemporary art from the legacy of the style of art which can be referred to as minimalism. The answer traces the unfolding of image forms in the gap between reality and illusion. Here the almost automatic assumption of the autonomous space of the image is disrupted. The works – mirroring this disruption – suggest the infinity of the relational frame. Something real is always revealed in this happening: The defining moment of the exhibition is the intermingling of pictorial and real space. The presented artworks thematize different levels of perception of space, in which the usual oppositions of open/closed, near/far, flat/deep happen simultaneously. The images are put in an ambiguous situation: being an image and at the same time shaping the experience of space.

In this way, an image becomes space in the exhibition and space becomes, in some cases, an image. Or more precisely: some of the exhibited artworks give an experience of space and some others transform space into an image, but both on the assumption of establishing boundaries and their transitions. Thus, it is never a neutral emptiness and a non-participatory expansiveness. There is a sense of continuity and moments of intermingling, of which the viewer is a part. In this setting, both the individual works and the relationships between them are revealed, and the exhibition as a whole aims to create a complex situation with developed forms of experience of place and space. One can venture into the endless depths of the surface in the works of Ann Veronica Janssens and Michał Budny, or look through the surface of space in Larry Bell’s object and Jaromír Novotný’s paintings. In the works of Marion Baruch and Simon Callery, the viewer encounters the inseparability of the real space and the space of the image. Robert Šalanda develops the motifs of real and pictorial layering with his slightly absurd compositions, while the installations of Anthony McCall and Angela Bulloch make it possible to enter the image with sharp and subtle boundary crossings.

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