God wills it (Lenka Sýkorová)

The times in which we live are characterised by the overuse of cultural historical symbols becoming empty phrases. The resulting impulses show that the Christian tradition, which is part of our European identity, is often an nonchalant empty phrase. Petr Dub’s installation processes this moment of emptying cultural patterns related to the theme of masculine conquest of women against the background of medieval chivalric culture.

In addition to paintings, unusually, Petr Dub presents a number of prefabricated, so-called ready-made worksreferring to consumer society. He creates a space for historical and cultural references while looking at the cultural and ideological void we are surrounded by. Visual communication, in which we are inundated with an endless stream of information and visual stimuli, makes it increasingly difficult for us to read meanings and grasp them correctly. Self-identification thus becomes an increasingly complex process and the search for new cultural patterns often leads us down paths of alternative worlds. At the same time, the installation carries an element of escapism that flows through one layer of the part of the objects referring to contemporary aesthetics of seemingly endless fantasy series, larp culture, or neo-romanticism in contemporary art.

A certain turn to historical sources, specifically a fascination with the medieval juxtaposition of words and images with the theme of chivalry and the depiction of masculinity and femininity, became the key starting point of the exhibition DEUS VULT – GOD DEMANDS IT. Here, Petr Dub makes a direct and loose reference to Pope Urban II’s proclamation at the Council of 1095, which launched the Crusade at Clermont. The author asks the crucial and openly utopian and helpless questions related to the present: What does God demand now? What new authorities are on offer?

In contrast to the generation of “snowflakes”, which he relates to the contemporary grasp of masculinity in Western culture, the author opens up themes related to the contemporary grasp of feminism. The masculine role of conquest but simultaneous protection is thus contrasted with the position of femininity, which is inherently fragile but at the same time strong within newly won social positions. The exhibition can be read as a search for new fields of interpretation. The medium of the painting is thus eliminated by Petr Dub to a certain frame, in which the appropriation of historical medieval images reaches the very essence of the grasp of adoration towards women.