Artist: Anežka Hošková
Title: Lucifer’s The Light Of The World IV.
Venue: Pragovka Gallery (The White Room), Prague
Curator: Lucie Nováčková
To better understand Anežka Hošková’s Lucifer’s Light of the World IV installation, you need to be familiar with the personality of a musician, poet, artist and activist King Dude. King Dude is just a pseudonym, his real name is Thomas Jefferson Cowgill. He follows the long tradition of art born in a southern gothic style – Czech viewers most likely know the series True Blood and True Detective of this style. Thomas Jefferson Cowgill is known in the Seattle metal scene, but he uses his pseudonym King Dude in his solo project where he applies features of folklore influence, country and bluegrass music. However, he turns this narrative folklore tradition into dark stories, as in his composition Lucifer´s Light of the World, for example. The typical evangelistic folklore melody is accompanied by apocryphal text about paradise expulsion – you need to leave paradise and praise Lucifer for he is the one that allows certain things that God forbids in paradise.
Exaggeration and specific sense of humour in the text combined with melody evoking Christian evangelistic songs result in a body frisson (at least for me as for a person who went through Catholic upbringing) – so King Dude’s desire to compose “the most horrifying music in the world” is fulfilled. King Dude himself claims to be “fascinated by spirituality and religiosity, whether in a good or in a bad way.”
The same was also Anežka Hošková’s first statement after we started our conversation about the exhibition. Like her “guru” King Dude, Anežka is also fascinated by spirituality, magic and everything religious. She does not separate original and current meanings, maybe she does not even care about them. What she seemingly cares about is the intensity and the power of a given ornament. Its positive or negative meanings which we all are used to differentiate so much is not so important for her. In her installation, she placed two “crosses” (the first one is the Leviathan Cross, the second one is the pentagram symbol – an ancient symbol of positive meaning used during mysterious rituals) in their original Hebrew meaning, in onward alchemist meaning or as symbols adapted for Satanic Church? Or are they creating their own syncretistic ritual upon King Dude’s challenge for his fans, using his music and favourite symbols (which are put on leggings, sweatshirts and t-shirts with hoodie under the Actual Pain label)?
Anežka is in somewhat more difficult position here in Czech Republic than King Dude is in American context: in Czech Republic, this way of working with magic symbols in art is still almost indivisibly connected to metal music and it does not cross the boundary of this community. However, there are exceptions, like Anežka Hošková’s work, for instance. The tradition of being fascinated by spirituality, esotericism and magic was no longer there after the Second World War. Therefore, current artists have no other option than to cite, for example, Josef Váchala’s or František Drtikol’s works that were created more than fifty years ago. Or artists seek inspiration abroad and then they try to adapt this foreign tradition and experience for Czech environment. Anežka combines both influences in her work – she refers to pre-war mysticism as well as to her friendship with King Dude and his syncretistic attitude to symbols in which nothing is sacred and yet everything is.
In Lucifer’s Light of the World IV installation, we observe two “crosses” with unspecified meanings, while music with apocryphal story of paradise expulsion and praising Lucifer plays in the background. Lucifer is watching from the alcove so that the “levitating” painting on the floor could bring us back down to earth. This seemingly points out to one thing – the reason why people from any culture often turned to forbidden practises or Gods was to reach the impossible or irrational.
Anežka Hošková graduated from Painting at Faculty of Fine Arts of Brno, docent Václav Stratil’s atelier. Her work belongs to the trend of mystic, associative painting. It is presented in prestige galleries, both in Czech Republic and abroad. What is often important for Anežka in her work is the dialog with her closely related artists who create art in similar style and who appeal on Czech and foreign scene. In this particular exhibition Lucifer´s The Light Of The World IV, it is the composition of the same name by musician, visual artist and poet King Dude.