Artists: Julia Gryboś and Barbora Zentková
Title: Tea Bags on Eyelids
Venue: TIC gallery, Brno
Text: Ivana Hrončeková and Marika Kupková
Photo: Polina Davydenko
Sound Performance: Jan Tomáš
Another exhibition in the exhibition cycle by Barbora Zentková and Julie Gryboś focuses on the theme of collective fatigue and exhaustion. Each following exhibition carries clues from the previous one. Rather than a program-conscious composition, it is a spontaneous commixture of meanings, manners of communication and to an extent of material rendition. Metal objects are interwoven with textiles and have an ambiguous media character that blurs the lines between a genre category, such as fine and applied arts or two-dimensional painting and a three-dimensional object.
A reference to painting, on which the artists focused previously, is apparent within the framework of media diffusion. Metal meta-furniture constructions can be perceived as a frame which is interwoven with abstract painting composition. Objects form a complex spatial environment that activates various senses of the audience members. However, the authors are careful, not manipulative, with enticing emotions. At the same time, they are aware of the importance of aesthetic captivation of their works which they, however, use as a means to articulate individual themes, often containing aspects of extinction, crash, or degradation. The answer to the current culminating crises, be it societal or personal that always immediately follow, is the necessity to slow down and keep calm. The ritual of relaxation is encoded within the installation in Galerie u Dobrého pastýře on many levels, the most apparent being in the way in which the thin cotton ropes are woven into the metal constructions. They are reminiscent of the almost forgotten techniques of macrame and weaving. Persistent and intricate handwork arouses meditative, escapist satisfaction. The title of the exhibition Tea Bags on Eyelids not only reveals a lifehack how to ease the tension in tired eyes but also a source of the cotton yarn pigmentation.
The color palette is formed by refracted shades of ocher, yellow and blue as a result of an infusion of different types of tea leaves and herbs. Additionally, it is the first time Julie Gryboś and Barbora Zentková used this natural pigment in their object work. Tired eyes can also be observed through the repeating motif of tears in the morphology of interwoven metal constructions, beeswax filling separating walls or boards on the floor similar to a spa floor tiling. Beeswax is another material present in the installation from the relatively limited range. Tear-shaped modules were created by melting down relaxing aromatic candles. Even some yoga asanas release emotions and can activate weeping. Between the escapist relaxation and existential anxiety of the current crisis there is a sense of vibration. It can be seen in the strings of screen dividers containing grainy pictures and heard from the strings of a guitar played by Jan Tomáš who composed a musical composition specifically for the installation.
Even though the skepticism springing from the crisis is rather serious, it is communicated empathetically and nonviolently, particularly through an easily digestible and, in fact, rather pleasant melancholy. The range of perception is among other things apparent not only in the imaginativeness of symbols through which the authors formulate their themes but also in the respect towards creative autonomy which is a crucial requirement for a collaboration in an artistic duo.