Friday, August 10, 2012

Rituals and Sacred Spaces of Bohemia

by Drew Martin
Last week I set up for and attended the opening of Rituals and Sacred Spaces at Galerie Califia in southern Bohemia. The show was inspired by sacred clay figures from India that were collected by a Czech doctor, Jan Petránek. A video by the art group Rafani loops in the main gallery. Petránek has an adjoining room with an installation of terracotta figures that are viewable through a peep hole in the side of a wooden crate. There is also a two-meter-wide print of a photograph he took of Tubrad hill in India. Veronika Richterová  installed a pagoda made of colorful recycled plastic bottles, which also looks a lot like a bell and sounds like a clunky wind chime when a breeze enters her space. Another room has a video by Alejandro de Tuddo and a small installation of photographs and a glowing sink by Natalia Vazquez. She also wrote phrases in Spanish and English on walls with the tips of burned wood found in a local campfire. I have a room as well where I hung a large silk print of a photograph I took of my neighbor's hands. Central to the space is a shrine I made to the town, using found objects that I gathered there for two days. A few other little shrine-like pieces fill the space and I made line drawings along one wall with a blue chalk line reel, which my grandfather had owned. Another key part of my room is a multi-paneled series of drawings and text I made during my three-day "pilgrimage" from Newark to Horažd’ovice. The show opened with a nice crowd and included a performance by Tereza Damcová with an improvised collaboration by Peter Boyce Le Couteur.