The introductory part of a series of exhibitions under the common name Anything Goes (2019, artists: Svetlana Fialová, Pavla Malinová, Nana Mandl, Titania Seidl) and its sequel Anything Goes pt. 2: Techno ed. (2020, artists: Botond Keresztesi, Nika Kupyrova, Alex Selmeci & Tomáš Kocka Jusko, Céline Struger, Nik Timková) outlined the potential of interconnecting the artistic scenes of neighbouring countries. Confrontation of art works, the possible emergence of new dialogues, the stimulation of artists across the countries through exhibitions, and the (often premiere) introduction of foreign artists into our country’s context have become the key project elements. The project’s rules have never been narrowly defined, much less firmly tied to diversity, in nationality or media. The primary project goal is an organic selection of high quality art works (whatever that means for each person) and creation of a natural flow in the exhibition environment.
The concept of the international exhibition Anything Goes pt. 3: Phoenix has naturally evolved from the previous part, defined through the coldness of the digital environment, a dystopic atmosphere, and emotions resulting from a post-apocalyptic reality. The feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and questions related to the survival of mankind corresponded to the mood in the pandemic society, and were combined with the quest for a restart or desired return to normal. This time I will, however, omit the unpopular c-word from this context.
The chosen motif of the mythological Phoenix, which dies in flames and is reborn from its own ashes, has been adopted by many cultures or religions. The exhibition’s central point has become the principle of transformation and the symbolics of moments between life and death, the beginning and end, existence and extinction. The selected art works not only accentuate the real transformation of matter but also transformation at the ideological and symbolic level, with a strong emphasis on emotions and emotionality, inner experiences, and a rediscovered interest in refreshed ideas of romanticism or the power of unrestrained nature.
The curator’s project Anything Goes pt. 3: Phoenix concentrates on artistic mystifications, formal deformations, or material reconstructions. The selected art works appropriate various materials and sources of inspiration, snatching details from different contexts and regrouping them into new forms. They are characterized by the uncertain yet fascinating moment oscillating between the form of a depicted subject and our perception of it. The art works intentionally offer a blurred reality camouflaged by the poetics of contemporary visual arts. Thus fractions of popular culture converge, with flashbacks into the history of art or architecture at one point, followed by the principles of recycling, mimicking forms, and regrouping of the matter. The art works have here ventured beyond the digital space, demanding to be experienced in the physical world, where truly anything goes.