From the Archives

Czech out the DS Archives!

I know, cheesy pun but too good to resist. And it’s relevant because today’s look into the DS Archives features Czech artist Monika Fryčová and the group exhibition, There is Nothing There at the Czech Center Gallery in NYC. The two exhibitions demonstrate the countless ways in which Czech artists and people interpret their lives in the current social and political state in the Czech Republic: “a tension suspended between the failure of the communist utopia and relentless capitalist expansion.” (Czech Center Gallery)

The following article was originally posted by Marilyn Goh on December 15, 2011: 

Monika Fryčová, Perpetuum Mobile, 2011. Image: Kling og Bang gallery.

Monika Fryčová’s show Perpetuum Mobile at the Kling og Bang Gallery propositions that the relationship between the visible and invisible is constantly in motion and ephemeral.

Locked behind the socialist borders in then-Czechoslovakia, stories of local culture were the only narratives that Fryčová heard. Like many artists who were restless for new physical activity and renewed visions after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Fryčová became in her own words, a traveller who charted her own routes and made her own narratives without maps or guides. Consequentially, Fryčová’s works are highly improvised, and dependent on the indeterminacy and spontaneity of human interactions.

Monika Fryčová, Monika & Trabi in train station, Prostejov, 2005. Image: Monikafryčová.net

A red automobile-turned-limousine was an early, physical manifestation of Fryčová’s desire for mobility, which she drove to school in 2005 and finally made it to Berlin some years later where she was arrested by the traffic police for the car’s non-regulated standards. Intended as “moving sculpture” and created for the purpose of performance, the red Trabi is Fryčová’s assertion of artistic and political freedom beyond the spectre of the Iron Curtain, but also the artistic vindication of the dynamic flux and non-linear processes that characterise aspects of human nature.

Monika Fryčová, Open Springs no. 2, 2009, ongoing project. Image: Monikafryčová.net

Having investigated the artistic gestures that were given freer reign after a period of enforced socio-political isolation, her research now speculates upon the less charted regions of human existence: principles of chaos, intuition, perceptions and mythology. At the Kling og Bang Gallery, Fryčová’s framed photographs of herself shot in various positions and in diverse locations are perched on a peculiar machine acting like a turnstile that expends energy into rotating endlessly. Perpetually in motion, her static photographs disallow the viewer any prolonged contemplation; instead, we are forced into forming fleeting impressions of ambivalent spaces where specifics are really inconsequential. As long as Fryčová’s works situated themselves in that strange gap between motion and stillness – with a distorted sense of space and time embedded within -,  any attempt at linearity or continuity can only remain illusory.


Monika Fryčová was born in Prostejov, Czech Republic. She lives and works in both the Czech Republic and Iceland. Perpetuum Mobile runs until 18th December at the Kling og Bang Gallery in Reykjavik.