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CURATOR: Šárka Basjuk Koudelová

FaVU gallery, Brno, CZ


Photo: Polina Davydenko

Whenever the main character of the Fleabag series falls in love, is morally hungover, gets emotional or even makes love, she gazes directly into the eyes of those watching behind the displays. It is easy to identify yourself with the confessive series, in which the fourth wall sometimes disappear, and to experience liberating rapport. The commentary, with which Fleabag accompanies her long and significant looks, is sometimes sharply sarcastic, sometimes funny, and often covers the heroine's fragility by irony. But the reason why Fleabag is so easy considered a "soul-sister" is not in the absence of the fourth wall or in the amount of irony with which she talks about her love life. The whole formal situation of her role can be seen as a bitterly humorous metonymia of female existence in a society that still keeps an eye on women and judge them to demand shame, explanation, and apology.

The joint exhibition by Denisa Štefanigová and Asztrid Csatlós is an impressive scenography for two players. Although in daily life, exactly like Fleabag, they feel the pressure of society judging their love life or their capacity for empathy, and in the exhibition, they also allows the viewers in, behind the imaginary fourth wall, they got rid of the manipulative feeling of wrongdoing. Their thematic straddling between consuming sensuous desire and yearning for freedom interconnect textiles as a procedural means of liberation - frivolously colored remnants of a boudoir robe on one side, and no longer necessary sleeping bag, faded by running for safety, on the other. For both authors, fabric and garment serve as a memory of the night predator, which still remains warm. In her painterly expressive figurations, full of tender details, personified animals and instructive titles, Denisa confesses out of a desire for pleasure, which she wants to embrace and master without both societal and self-reproach. Her installation with drawings in the back room is an intimate dive into the corners of her own wildness and fragility, which she may be publicly exhibiting for the very first time, as well as the concerned drawings. Asztrid regularly walks along the road a short distance from her home, where she finds traces of the night before - a pile of dirty jackets, a piece of tent, sometimes it is a shoe. The route between the fields has been a refugee route towards the West since 2015. She uses these ready made installations as natural habitats for her sensitive watercolors, impressively framed in papier maché. We are used to perceive refugees with empathy and we usually feel a kind of superior necessity to help them. From her position of a direct observer of the traces of the night run, during which they "devour" the given resources and leave the remnants behind, Asztrid emanicipates them effectively and hands them their own power and real human characteristics.

The exhibition Tools of Liberation represents a decorated room of a fortune-teller, where the symbolism of mythological animals can be interpreted, weaknesses revealed, solace found for turbulent passions, but where you can also desperately wander in a dystopian battlefield littered with seductive shreds of unattainable freedom. The installation of the exhibition responds to the actual space division of the gallery - in side, smaller rooms, each author is devoted to her own story and perception of the bodily imprint, while in the center largest room, the approaches of the two artists meet in a symptomatically passionate dialogue, in which even paintings and framed watercolours become organic material. Pieces of fabric somewhere imitate the material situation near the refugee route, elsewhere as if it was a smooth piece of clothing which slipped from a body to the ground, recalling the wild night in the morning. Above all, the fabrics together form a common, imaginative and amoebic body that does not succumb to any external demands.

Šárka Basjuk Koudelová

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