Barbora Šlapetová & Lukáš Rittstein: EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT

13 Mar – 13 Jul 2015

This exhibition, which takes place in the spirit of journeys to the stars, records an encounter between two absolutely different worlds – that of native culture and contemporary civilization. It is the continuation of a project of more that 15 years by sculptor Lukáš Rittstein and photographer Barbora Šlapetová, who worked with the last Papuan tribe, the Yali Mek and in recent years also with two NASA astronauts.

The skills and experiences of Papuan cannibal tribes have been documented by anthropologists, missionaries, and geological explorers, but never through the eyes of artists. Starting in 1997, Barbora Šlapetová and Lukáš Rittstein undertook several expeditions to remote areas of western Guinea and Papua-New Guinea, where they investigated local native tribes and their culture.

Papuans believe that the eyes of living things that sleep at night travel to the Heavens and observe their sleeping bodies. This is why the stars shine. Some members of local tribes also have the ability to travel by smoke to the upper reaches of the world, to the Heavens. Astronauts symbolically manifest the natives’ notions – they were in the Heavens and their eyes watched them from there. In 2012 and 2013, both artists arranged a meeting between several members of the Yali Mek tribe and two NASA astronauts, Leroy Chiao and Koichi Wakata.

Rittenstein’s sculptural series entitled Highway and Barbora Šlapetová’s photos and drawings, which reflect the image of the soul of the last natural people, are accompanied by a photo projection and two film experiments shot in the Papuan jungle. The first is the premiere of the film Smoke travelers (2015)*, directed by Jan Svěrák, which documents the encounter between the NASA astronaut and chiefs of the Yali Mek tribe, who were able to travel into the Heavens using smoke. The second documentary, Space Call (24 Nov 2013), captures a conversation between an astronaut and chiefs, which took place in a manner that has never happened before.

The exhibition will include the launch of a book by Barbora Šlapetová and Lukáš Rittstein, Jak se dotknout Nebe (How to reach the Sky, Euromedia Group, Czech edition, 2015).

*The film Smoke Travelers (2015) will be shown only on weekends.

Curator: Leoš Válka

Photos from the exhibition opening 12 March, 2015.
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