Michal Baror & Amalia Vargas: Bite the Bullet
Curator: Lucia Kvočáková
In the opening scene of Billy Wilder’s Some like it hot (1959), we see a hearse carrying a coffin surrounded by mourners. A moment later, the car is being chased by the police, and only when the bullets begin to hit the coffin, which starts leaking, do we understand that it is not carrying a dead body but contraband alcohol. We learn that instead of a funeral, the car is on its way to a party. It’s an uncanny moment when the coffin starts leaking and we, the viewers, who expect the coffin to behave as a solid body and stay fixed as the bullets are hitting it, end up witnessing a very different material behavior – the liquid liquor leaking. One can almost imagine that, at this point, the coffin itself becomes a dead body. The transformation of the coffin can be used as the starting point for the dialogue between Amalia Vargas (FR) and Michal Baror (IL) who met in the summer of 2018 during their MeetFactory Residency.
Amalia Vargas uses objects and images as tools and is interested in the editing forms of the space where the assemblages are combined. Her sculptures present hybridizations where collective and individual histories, traditions and mass cultures coexist in their own iconology. She continues to work with raw, available materials, fragments, signs and forms that she has transformed in an almost humorous way in order to look at the society.
Michal Baror abandoned her familiar modus operandi: rather than starting with research or an idea as she is used to doing, she used her eyes and intuition, moving from one image to the other, connecting and separating, only using their parts. Her photographs were taken spontaneously and randomly during her walks in the streets of Prague. She combines them with images taken in various local museums. Baror’s camera flirts with the tourists’ viewpoint, especially so since the locations of her images are museums and monuments around the city. Yet, the camera refuses to look at the iconic and prefers neglected corners and dark corridors.
With different media and approaches, the two artists are trying to look in parallel at both the modernistic operation – which organizes reality under fixed categories and creates hierarchical divisions – and at physical reality – which is erotic and chaotic, violent and impulsive. The usage of images and sculptural objects creates unique landscape where objects become living creatures, inhaling and exhaling, while the living body freezes. It is an exercise for our point of view – an attempt to stop calling things by their name without erasing their meaning.