Martin Vongrej – Orange

3/12/2020 – 16/1/2021

The exhibition is supposed to be about an orange, and we do see an orange at the exhibition, but only in a photograph and just once. Other than that, it’s just orange peels thrown into the trash until even the last bits disappear and are gone. What does the exhibition tell us about the orange? I think nothing at all. We only see it within the context of one specific situation that is already in the past. The orange, the presumed protagonist of this exhibition, no longer exists; it has been eaten and is not present.

At the time of writing, the exhibition doesn’t exist yet. The artist exists, as do his works, the exhibition space, the plan – but not the exhibition. For now, it is merely an idea, a possibility, an objective in which tension and thoughts are accumulated. We might ask ourselves: When does an exhibition become an exhibition? When is a multitude of potential paths suddenly concentrated into just one? And who decides? The answer doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is. Dreams of and aspirations for an exhibition are intertwined; they struggle with and confront each other until something comes of it all. And even after the exhibition exists, it seems as if everybody has their own idea about it, everybody sees it differently. We can almost question whether it is just one exhibition or an infinite set of imaginations that oscillate between what we see and perceive on the one hand, and what we think about it and imagine on the other. An exhibition is like a nebula. It expands with the number of associations that viewers create, and grows denser with the increasing number of interpretations.

It is interesting how absence can make established structures and systems of thinking visible. In my email inbox, there is a series of messages containing detailed instructions on how to realize this exhibition in case of the artist’s absence. When it becomes increasingly clear that Martin Vongrej cannot come to install the exhibition, he sends me further instructions. Again, I read everything and try to reconstruct Martin’s ideas in my mind, but over the course of this process I begin to realize that his ideas are becoming mixed and interconnected with my own. I think about how this situation changes the relationship between artist and curator and how this subsequently changes the meaning of the exhibition itself.

Martin has asked me to create a black-painted cross of stretched string in two places in the exhibition space. When you see this cross at the exhibition, try to look at it as lines that diverge and converge at a central point according to a principle similar to linear perspective. I see this point as the moment when glass falls to the ground and shatters into tiny pieces, or when a magnet attracts a bunch of iron filings. I imagine it as a point of accumulated energy and a place of concentrated possibilities that expand and retreat back to their center.

I observe this movement and again think about the situation surrounding this exhibition. I think about the absence of the artist and the orange, about the exhibition that doesn’t exist yet, the idea of which I am unable to properly describe. I think about how incomprehensible it all is, but also about how it allows me to explore myself, to step back and think about the established rhythm of my thoughts. I return to the orange, but this time I look at it as an intuitive choice whose randomness sets into motion a thought process and imbues it with a consciousness.

curated by Viktória Beličáková