Galerie moderního umění
v Hradci Králové

Ladislav Jezbera | Ego
17/06/22–13/03/23

curator: Judita Kožíšková | Foyer

The monumental and decorative Foyer of the Hradec Králové gallery used to be the entry hall of a bank. This space inspired Ladislav Jezbera to create an installation reacting to the monumentality of the entry hall as well as to the noble material used in its grandiose decoration – marble. The black-and-white annealing of the five-meter-long polyester blocks, from which he created three independent objects, is supposed to imitate the structure of the marble. Even the industrial mode of production used to create the blocks reminds one of the process through which marble forms in nature, including the accidental mixing of light and dark particles. The artist thus knowingly works with similarity and contrast between the marble paneling of the Foyer and the economically more accessible artificial material, the overproduction of which by “egocentric” humans is overwhelming the planet. It is as if, with their monumentality, the statues seek to compete with the entry hall. In the end, however, their “mimicry” causes them, rather, to blend into the space while also architecturally completing it and expanding the ways we can perceive it as spectators. The statues are ecologically and economically gentle – the borrowed, prefabricated polyester will be returned to the manufacturer after the end of the exhibition to be recycled.

In these monumental compositions, the author works with proportions, centers of gravity, and stability, often at the extreme of the static possibilities and capacity of the used material. Their position in space and instability of the individual blocks embody concrete philosophical thoughts, which correspond to the titles of the individual pieces. The invasion of the artist’s “I” in the entry hall is most obvious in the “obelisk”, which confidently announces Aristotle’s thesis that good is That which gives joy. That which is useful. That which serves virtue. Jezbera adds an amendment: That which I am, which expresses a firm, though subjective, belief in the individual as fundamentally good. Human history, however, repeatedly shows that good is a relative term, determined by the current reception of the individual, groups, or manipulated crowds. By hiding behind “objective good”, the individual avoids responsibility for one’s own actions, which is why one should never insist that something is good but rather: That is how I wanted it (Friedrich Nietzsche). An awakening from the feeling that we are doing something beneficial often arrives at a point when we can no longer run away from the consequences of our actions. Only then do we fully realize, that I cannot hide – that is who I am. (Emmanuel Lévinas).