ZBYNĚK BALADRÁN: DIDEROT’S DREAM
24|10 – 6|12|2014
hunt kastner is very pleased to present its second solo exhibition by the artist Zbyněk Baladrán. The exhibition will present two video works inspired by the philosophy of one of the great liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment, Denis Diderot. In his new installation, comprised of the two video works entitled Apasia and Repressed Memory, the artist examines the origin of dreams and their role in contemporary capitalistic society and asks if it is possible to use them in another way.
Zbyněk Baladrán (born 1973 in Prague, Czechoslovakia) studied art history at the Charles University Philosophical Faculty in Prague and at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the studio of visual communication. The artist characterizes his own working method as a search for links between the past and its construction in relation to prevailing epistemological patterns.
Baladrán has exhibited extensively in the Czech Republic as well as internationally, including his joint exhibition “The Nervous System” with Jiří Kovanda at the Milano Kunstverein in 2011, the presentation of his film “Liberation, or Alternatively…” at the Pavilion of the Czech and Slovak Republics at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and his solo exhibition “Dead Reckoning” at the CAC in Delme, France this year. His work is represented in various international private and public collections both at home and abroad.
Diderot’s dream? To paraphrase the title of the famous philosopher’s “This is not a story”, this is not Diderot’s dream. It might be Baladrán’s dream, but it isn’t his dream either. Or someone else’s? So who is dreaming? What is a dream? How to describe it? Let’s start by taking a detour. If we ask, generally, who dreams, then it might be anyone. In other words, everyone. The living and the dead. From the past and from the future. Definitions of dreams fail to keep up with the times, and offer only a partial explanation. A dream can be a condensed field of thought. Supposedly, the better we think things through while awake, the fewer dreams we have, but that means that we have more areas where our mind has never wandered. We shape our lives under conditions that are not of our choosing, and yet we have at least some control over it. What is a dream? Is it a repository of images and constantly repeating hereditary patterns? Again, who dreams? Is it an endless cavalcade of subjects, discourses, and policies? Can we precisely determine where a dream begins and where it ends? The boundaries of dreaming and waking are not clear. Reality is eroded within continuity. Not even rationalization, to which any explanation of a dream is subject, can change this. Our social status does not improve our dreams. Today, people regularly say that dreams reveal hidden meanings of our waking state. Maybe yes. We have no other choice than to ask on the go, since answers are not eternal, but must be sought out anew. We are the ones who are here; nothing else and no-one else is here. If we apply Diderot’s denial to any action, the resulting paradox might just help us towards a better understanding of what our dreams are and whether dreamwork is not just a construction of our inner world without any chance of changing the real one. This is not Diderot’s dream. Nor Baladrán’s dream. Who dreams? What kind of dreams are these? Where do they come from? What are they saying? And what to do with it? (zb 10/2014)