Depredations or replicas of Roman Ondák. By: Gonzalo Carrasco Purull.
Until 20 May, the Modern Art Oxford presents the first sample is the individual that the Slovakian artist Roman Ondák done in England. Ondák that earned notoriety for his work to the Czech and Slovak flag version number 53 of the Venice Biennale in 2009. Occasion where he set up an exact replica of the gardens of the Giardini of the Biennale Publicity, doubling the landscape through which they moved the visitors of the exhibition.
If the replica mounted Venice Ondák functioned as an echo or déjà vu in the middle of the exhibition tour, the paper presented to the Modern Art Oxford, entitled «Time Capsule», that relationship has become less clear or at least more suspicious . In the middle of a room in semi-darkness, Ondák presents a replica of the capsule, «Phoenix 2,» which served as vehicle rescue half of the 33 Chilean mining in late 2010 were trapped inside a mine, at 700 meters deep.
Ondák this strategy shows its limits, especially from a political standpoint. While the theme of the garden at the Venice Biennale – and its intrusion into the exhibition space – could be seen as a double infiltration of the artifice of the garden and artifice that is contemporary art, in the case of «Time Capsule» replication appears to display a show in which all critical to economic policies that caused the accident have been minimized. In the room in semi-darkness – which aims to replicate the experience of the mining face of death – the art has become a spectacle. A performance that moves beyond the mirror, to fully enter the predation.
If conceptual art had its strength precisely in its negation of the object and the fetish in art, «Time Capsule» work of art not only focused, but comes from playing an iconic element. It is not trivial, therefore, that the same illumination of the capsule has many affinities with how the lighting of objects from archaeological samples, exhibiting many times masks, ritual objects or fetishes of primitive cultures. And this is where politically Ondák work becomes more suspect. What is an object replica to the place where it is displayed, it reaches a status of work provided a certain exoticism. Exoticism that is manifold: not only exotic theme (an accident in a developing country with a happy ending), place (the wild scenery of the Chilean desert), time (a way of exercising that refer to mining another time) and especially technology. Because if something appears to be constant in the work of Ondák is the sort of malaise in contemporary culture born in a reality full of mediation. Where we need an artist like Ondák through a replica of a garden we do put before our eyes the nature of a reality which increasingly seem to have less relationship.
And it could be any other way always mediated our relations with contemporary technologies are destabilized through the display of a device loaded with all the exoticism own technologies such as those generated in the capsule «Phoenix 2.» A device built with the same technologies that could build a barrel of oil. Technologies rather than the nineteenth century and that Ondák XXI appear loaded with all their exoticism.
But all exoticism involves predation. An act of taking and carrying, to remove. And what is strange in any mining operation, is the context without which what is taken is complete. In «Time Capsule» which Ondák extracted with its replica of the capsule, «Phoenix 2» are not miners – that here they disappear into the anonymity of the images transmitted by the screens in the hall – but all those relationships that made the accident context of the miners a fact politically charged. An act of predation that replicates what is fetish and what is shown is an empty space filled only by the artist as a daffodil, stops at a mirror image that restores his own work.VKPK.