Introducing Viktor Dedek: The Place of Family
Trade Fair Palace
Prague | Czech Republic
The exhibition will be a part of a new exhibition season 2019 of the National Gallery Prague.
Full-time dreamer and part-time trickster, Viktor Dedek (*1993) is a quixotic regisseur of polyphonic worlds, suspended between the unlimited fantasy of a computer game and the unruled laws of imagination. The artist boldly reaches beyond the performative, towards the multi-sensorial experience of extended reality. Fictive narratives of phantom-like protagonists collide with the visual collages of phantasmagoric sites, loosely based upon a deceiving memory, non-identified cartographies of a lost mind. Dedek’s universe is both a utopia of the unknown as well as the comfort zone of the artist’s own self-confidence. Guardian of a cognitive labyrinth, the artist leads and misleads the viewer through the avenues of illusion (delusion?) and the theatrics of post-truth. Seemingly hard to grasp and hermetic, his conceptual practice mimics the vocabulary of computer-generated hyper worlds of super-human and alien tactics, challenging the perceptive skills and investigating human (in)ability to memorize, act and imagine. Dedek provokes the viewer, unsettling his/her experience of once familiar reality and setting up a doubt in the given idioms of today’s world thus awakening a sensitivity of artificial intelligence and hardware logic of new minds yet to be mastered. Have we already moved to the land of a too well-known and predictable future, or do we keep inhabiting an extreme present of zwischendinge and deselfing? The artist is a post-romantic poet of a technocized reverie, an agent of a revised sublime for the (on-line) age of inevitable humanitarian decline.
Pursuing his identity quest, Dedek’s new project, especially developed for the Trade Fair Palace’s Presidential Lounge and entitled The Place of Family / Místo rodiny, is a topography of a (biographical) utopia, scripted by a childhood memory and filtered by a social apparatus of educational progress. Mirrors amplify a sense of (intentional) lostness which penetrates the artist’s spatial narrative of fragmented self under construction; estranged zones of heterotopia and vehicles of Lacanian play between self-knowledge and self-image, they facilitate a passage to imaginary sites of multiple options and provide a resistance to one-dimensional realities and complete scenarios. The Place of Family / Místo rodiny is an anti-oedipal undertaking, a therapy of sorts, leading towards liberation and emancipation of a suppressed subject. The ambiguity articulated by its Czech title (the word místo meaning both a place and instead of) underlines “choose your own path” strategy applied in computer gaming. The viewer becomes a player in Dedek’s installation acting as Duchampian bachelor machine (machine célibataire) which in Deleuze/Guattari’s view generates a new subject and pure intensive qualities through its desire production and autoeroticism. An uncanny experience of longing for a simultaneous presence and absence seems to dominate the artist’s intimate narrative of separation and love. Thus, here too, in this immersive act of daydreaming, Dedek manifests his investigative drive, unveiling yet another layer of a palimpsest and portraying what transpires through his entire practice so far: a vulnerability of human exchange and deflation of communication in alienating times saturated with alternative realities and multiplied selves.
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