‘States of Mind / Beyond the Image’, the new permanent exhibition of GASK – Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, isn’t a traditionally designed one. Instead of an ‘encyclopaedic’ sequence of artworks from GASK’s collection arranged in chronological order, the exhibition is based on the diverse spectrum of a person’s emotional and mental life. In each gallery space there are thematic pairs – either contradictory or complementary – to which the exhibited works relate. These include solitude–friendship, courage–fear, irony–respect, confinement–freedom, alienation–meditation). This not only creates a context that is symbolically ‘charged’, but also an expressive dialogue between two distinctive areas of the spiritual life of man.
The aim of the exhibition is for viewers to understand artistic expression as a vivid testimony that is able to address us regardless of its remoteness in time or differences in cultural or national identity. Together with the artistic experience provided by the exhibits themselves, the ‘atmosphere’ of the individual spaces is further enhanced by short quotations or aphorisms that focus on the given theme in text form. They are poignant insights expressed by artists, philosophers, writers, musicians – anyone whose perceptive remark has ‘hit the nail on the head’. The role of an imaginary ‘constant guide’ is played here by the painter and writer Josef Čapek (1887–1945), specifically the timelessly relevant moral-critical thoughts he expressed in his posthumously published book ‘Written into the Clouds’. The dialogue between the exhibits is thus enhanced by another dimension – the dialogue between a conceptual (verbal) idea and a visual idea, resulting, we hope, in a stimulating environment for the viewer.
Richard Drury, curator