Kryštof Kaplan: TENSION

12. 4. - 10. 6. 2019

Tension between stability and movement, peace and danger, between the organic and inorganic essence of matter, between its qualities such as heaviness and lightness, hardness and softness, flexibility or rigidity, as well as between the established function of objects and its contradiction – these are topics that sculptor Kryštof Kaplan (1987) has been systematically exploring from the time of his studies at Prague’s Academy of Fine Art in the Sculpture II studio with Professor Jindřich Zeithammel, where he subsequently also worked as an assistant.

At the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Kryštof Kaplan presents three situations that use the tension between appearances and reality as their main communication method. They pull the viewer into a semantic game in which expectations about properties and physical laws or about the scale and function of a specific mass or object are eroded and shaken.

He first applied this principle in his thesis series entitled Disappeareance, which introduces the DOX exhibition. The series contains five sculptures that metaphorically depict the phases one goes through when coming to terms with mortality, as described by psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. Here the artist works with everyday utilitarian objects such as chairs, old duvets, and bedsheets, which he places into aluminum industrial mechanisms that take into account interaction with the human body – in their own way they work as a sort of trap, and utilize the potential of physical confrontation as a functional aesthetic element.

In the second part of the exhibition, Kaplan built a site-specific installation that reacts directly to the architecture of the DOX Centre. Five aliens that grow through the building’s walls, expanding into the exterior in places where windows were bricked over in the interior, exhibit an obvious animal nature, but on that is relativized upon touching their hard fibreglass surface. The installation instils a feeling of isolation – the private space intended for contemplation is protected by a mere thin membrane that the external world tries to penetrate.

Kryštof Kaplan also uses organic forms cast from hung textiles in the third part of the exhibition. The admittedly decorative structure of the Tourniquet and Solarium objects contains a subtle aesthetic, perhaps even a sentimental aspect, but one that is then compromised by a coating of malodourous used oil, which could evoke morbid physicality in decomposition. This situation simulates the trap of contemporary shopping and body-building shrines, and adds a radical attitude of social critique to Kaplan’s work.

Kryštof Kaplan is the frontman of the bands Vložte kočku and Kaplan Bros.


Exhibition curator: Terezie Zemánková 


28 April - Guided tour of the TENSION exhibition with Kryštof Kaplan and Terezie Zemánková (in Czech)

Exhibition Partner:

DOX Prague, a.s