BY ITSELF / SAMÉ OD SEBA 2015 – videoinstalation
Curator: Daniela Čarná
Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, Františkánska 2, Bratislava
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing.
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”
A few years ago, when I was making movies and photographs dealing with time, I was probably inspired by this Zen phrase. I tried to materialise the feeling from this phrase into image and sound, and I created a film sequence, which nowadays I call “ By itself”. It was not easy to find a form of presentation that would have bolstered the content of the film, in which nothing special happens at first sight. So that the viewer can focus on the images, I needed to find a space where they can be easily detached from everyday reality. I found such a space in the Gothic chapel of St. John the Evangelist in Bratislava, where I placed a videoinstalation assembled from a vertical film projection and photographic triptych.
Religious scholar Mircea Eliade considers the entrance to the temple to be the border where the transition from the profane world to the sacred world happens.
Even today, there are places that concentrate in themselves a sacred atmosphere more intensively than other places, and the temple is such a space par excellence.
The chapel of St. John the Evangelist, a significant example of Gothic sacral architecture, today serves as an active liturgical space and place for dialogue with art. To succeed in this dialogue is a challenge that not everyone can meet. Noro Knap attempted this. He uses the chapel space not only as an attractive exhibition hall with a specific genius loci, but he also communicates directly with its original purpose. He installs into the centre a specific
”altarpiece”- a large-screen time-lapse projection of photographs of seemingly trivial, and in the moment, difficult to capture event- the gradual blooming of chestnut tree. What seemingly happens automatically, “by itself”, the regular cycle of nature’s rebirth, does not only refer to the necessity or fatality of the passage of the world with its births and deaths. The author places the conversion or ”resurrection” of the tree above the sacrificial table, the centre of liturgy, during which there is transubstantiation process, converting the essence, the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood. By combining natural and liturgical events he invites us to a concentrated sensitivity to the uniqueness of the present moment and perhaps also to our own inner, though possibly slow and imperceptible transformation, or in the words of Ivan Laučik “to be sensitised to the birm”. The chapel of St. John is part of Franciscan church. We do not need to look far a parallel to the statement which inspired the author of this “land-art” instalation:
“Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day, and You give light through him. …Be praised, my Lord through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs… Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve Him with great humility. (Canticle of the Sun, St. Francis of Assisi)
By Itself 2011, HD video, 09:30min., sound