The Prophecy of Things

Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová, Banska St a nica

“When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Eric Bristow’s only 27.” This infamous line, delivered live on air by BBC sports commentator Sid Waddell in reaction to Bristow’s win of a darts tournament, is synonymous with a particular brand of self-mocking hubris. A similar darts game might be taking place in central Slovakia: it took 47000 volunteers two years to build the 21km long Railway of Youth line to Banská Štiavnica… Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová have in one gesture created a departure place for all journeys.

Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová, The Prophecy of Things, Banska St a nica, 2017

As the 2017 commission by Banska St a nica for the now sleepy train terminus, a 1950s symbol of past industry, prosperity and hope, Chişa and Tkáčová have covered the station waiting hall with a monumental textile installation. A rainbow of coloured streams emanates from an abstractly-patterned door that resembles a damaged mobile phone screen. This composition brings to mind 20th century propaganda landscapes in which the sun, synonymous with the political leadership, brings all kind of enlightenment and wealth to everyone who cares to bathe in its rays. The rainbow arrangement in Chişa and Tkáčová’s Prophecy of Things sits comfortably with the optimism remnant in the in the Modernist architecture of the train station, signalling a future that’s nominally bright and uninterruptible, even though its source is ultimately corrupt and doesn’t offer much useful information.

Chişa and Tkáčová are no strangers to hyperbolae. In their practice, potent symbols and humble objects have swapped places or abandoned their functions, utopias and realities coexist as thought without syntactic conflict. Here also, the monumental form of the work overrides questions of any specific conflict, difficulty or discomfort, insisting that its aesthetic value alone is more than enough to go on with. I have followed Chişa and Tkáčová’s work in formal institutional contexts for some years, but this is the first time I saw them in action close to home, in situ. It doesn’t matter that that darts are a minority interest, nor that they make very poor television.


This text was originally published in Flash Art CZ/SK, September 2017.

aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin

A solo exhibition by Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová

waterside contemporary, 2013
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159
Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová
aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin  waterside contemporary
http://waterside-contemporary.com
info@waterside-contemporary.com  2 Clunbury Str
London N1 6TT
+442034170159

Encompassing installation, video, text and performance, Chişa and Tkáčová’s work re-configures and unsettles established social and political power structures, to allow for a notion of alternative world orders. Bringing together ideas from disparate sources, the duo expose cracks in our habitual formulations of power, value, gender or political desire. The artists’ collaboration itself is a constant mixing of the individual selves to create a new temporary entity.

Central in the exhibition is Either Way, We Lose, a giant inflatable fist. Throughout history, the raised fist has been a universal symbol of protest, adopted by (often contrary) social groups. Here, the call to action is confined by the gallery’s architecture, deflatable, and animated only by a constant supply of pressurised air. Alongside, sits Freedom Trash Can, a hobo’s stove fashioned out of an empty oil drum. While the work’s (disputed) original of 1986 would have helped Women’s Liberation protesters set their bras on fire, the Can’s ‘eternal flame’ carries on only as decoration.

This humorous relationship with futility is Chişa’s and Tkáčová’s attempt to collapse the historical, philosophical pillars of society. Retreating into jibe, gossip or mantra, the artists’ work exists in a plane that is beyond economic, legislative, political control. aCtivaTe aMok, not a causaL chAin is a call to arms; the artists even furnish us with the stones to throw.