Female custodian (Marika Kupková)

Petr Dub (1976) entitled his diploma thesis prepared in the Atelier of Painting III in 2009 at the Faculty of Fined Arts of the Brno University of Technology as “Reframed”. He thus used the name of the curator of the Gallery of Youth, Jan Zálešák, for the exhibition which the author had together with Jana Bernartová in the afore-mentioned gallery.

The term of “reframing” introduced Petr Dub’s experiments with the painting’s format, with its spatial dimension and installation attitude, in which he conceives the gallery as another frame, both in the spatial and institutional sense. The “Reframed” attribute may also be associated with the current exhibition project of the Golden Ring House (City Gallery Prague), which represents the sixth episode in the Start Up II cycle, focused on the young artists of the local scene. (The authors presenting their works within this cycle include, for instance, Adéla Babanová, Nikola Čulík, Tomáš Džadoň, Adam Vačkář, etc.) Contrary to his usual abstract morphology, the drapery of the canvas creates a human figure: a female custodian sitting with resignation in the front wall of the space. Apart from thematising the frame in the spatial sense (the raw canvas serves as “sculptural” material whose installation makes use of the architecture frame of the given space), it also strengthens its social or institutional dimension. Interweaving the space with a nylon thread with two fishing rods offers various possibilities of reading the meaning.

The most literal one is a personal constellation of the contemporary art gallery operation: a symptomatic situation of an empty gallery with a pityingly guarding custodian, with the gallery (not the custodian) throwing the fishing lines to the visitors with a paradoxical result of making it inaccessible. The face of the custodian (with the appearance of Jean Baudrillard) is a powerful intellectual joke. The choice of this French post-structuralist philosopher allows reflection of the connections between simulacra, the state of the existing artistic operation, and the artist’s individual approach to their own work.

Surprisingly, the narrative dimension and and a critical view extend the author’s expression register. At the same time, the installation confirms the author’s concentration on the self-reflective dimension of the painting as a medium, visualising fundamental elements of the artistic operation. The simulacrum riddle came into effect when a custodian appeared behind my back, warming me not to try to walk through the installation.

Female Custodian (Marika Kupková, Ateliér Magazine, no. 11, 2011)