Jan Pfeiffer: Hidden Power

Artist: Jan Pfeiffer

Curator: Michal Novotný


From 25/11/2014 to 04/01/2015

When Martin Luther translated bible to German in 1522, he did that "even the last German farmer could read bible as I do." Despite Luther's unquestionable translator's qualities and perfect knowledge of the original text the German farmers have not been reading bible in the same way as Luther did. On the contrary their interpretation was significantly different. Two years of the German peasant wars followed and during all this time Luther stand firmly on the side of contra-reformation. More then hundred thousand of people had been killed.

Nowadays we often do not underline that Protestantism also attacked one important pilar of Catholic Church being the conception of "secret". We consider that possibility of being burned alive as heretic just because of the ownership of bible, a situation which lasted almost all the middle age era, is highly repressive censorship one. But often we do not take in consideration that the positive evaluation of terms such as "transparency" or "uncovering" is consequently a result of a specific ideology. For a person living in the Middle Ages it was not at all surprising that faith cannot be "brought to light". For it to be, from its very definition, faith as the activity of trusting, it had to remain hidden. 

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that the overall spread of atheism will set the humanity free of its in-debt feeling. Apparently he was right and the feeling of gratefulness for life and world as a gift had disappeared from the European culture. But since we still cannot do anything else then trust. Our fates are being no more driven by anyone and the mechanisms of the world we live in are even more non-understandable then ever before. But could we actually ever had been believing that one day we would discover all? 
Mircea Eliade suggests that the sacral didn't disappeared from our lives, it had only been transported to our subconscious, where it remained as nostalgies and pulsions.

The installation of Jan Pfeiffer could be simultaneously a grave and a sanctuary. The space belonging to silence and darkness where the absence of light and spoken allows the spiritual and the mystery to appear. Pfeiffer builds on the archetypal bow and escalated line but the arcade, the steps and the gate all do not lead anywhere. As fragments they only relate to the unseen by its absence. The harmony of the pure white forms and shapes is however disturbed by the presence of the sleeping one. He, who relates to us, in a similar manner as the forever just awaken bodies from the Pompey with a peculiar insistence is also only a fragment, archetype of a human body turning to us its face. Forms used here are symbolically pregnant, are image and its presented experience in the same time. 

It is unquestionable that forms do structure our experience. The question however remains whether this experience comes directly out of those forms or whether are forms and consequent scenarios in some sort of symbiotic unity with us.