Marek Meduna: Heat and Mist

The exhibition of Marek Meduna (1974, Prague) is dealing with figuration underlining the ambivalent disorienting impact of images. Chain of stereotypes abstracted from western mass media, stylistically somewhere between educational illustration and caricature cartoon, urges the viewer with the impossibility of coherent interpretation. Extremely sexualised, racist, xenophobic, islamophobic, obscene and generally cliched motifs oscillates in between repulsion and fascination. The feeling of aversion, yet the impossibility of averting one’s eyes, is further accelerated with the depiction of visceral body parts, excrements, genitals, warts and other repugnant elements. Canvases are however hypnotizing in a constant movement of the gaze from each elaborated detail to detail, concurrently not allowing the viewer to focus on the whole.

The paintings of Marek Meduna are therefore simultaneous accusation and conviction of the viewer from voyeurism and vulturism. A rupture, collision and consequent breakdown appear in the construction of meanings and paintings become in a sense a visual non-speech. Lacking clear linguistic sense, but still carrying strong emotional response. The exhibition at FUTURA gallery presents a complex scenography including the paintings into an overall sculptural-installation.

The Visitor finds themself in a partitioned labyrinth of repeating identical segments without an obvious beginning and end. A Kitschy fakeness, but also the certain brutality of slashed curtains and hanging chains surrounded by the belching, coughing and farting of a character that is interchangeably similar to the current American president, animated on the background of Prague’s and Czech republic’s typical imagery. Bodily sounds associated here convey a certain uncouth small-mindedness, but also physical proximity and together with surroundings of constantly favoured vulgarly vernacular elements, supplements Meduna’s critically equivocal suggestion that “Czechia is also part of the World.”

Michal Novotný