OKNA reopens its gallery by exhibiting a single artwork of contemporary visual art at a time. The weekly showcases invite the visitors to discover and take interest in the works of emerging artists from East Europe and its contemporary art on the whole.

MOSTRA #1 ( Thu 04.06 – Sun 07.06 2020 / 16:00 – 20:00)
Martha Kicsiny – Exercises in Perception
video art | 5’17” | Hungary, 2018

The artist made the video piece called Exercises in Perception as a reflection on the unprocessable weight of facing the moral responsibility of living with the heritage of colonialism and the benefits of neocolonialism. They were dealing with the process during which one becomes conscious of the power structures and atrocities which form the basis of their culture, identity and home, both in a practical and abstract sense.

The piece operates by using the symbolics of one’s relation to their personal domestic space. Masses of naked human bodies can be seen that together form the shape of a room, complete with them even forming the furniture, thereby they sacrifice their autonomy and individuality to create someone’s home. Then a figure walks into this space and uses the room in a normal manner, seemingly oblivious to the actual suppression, suffering caused by the power structures that create their home. At a point, the figure in the room becomes able to see these bodies and comprehend the situation. The four versions show that this recollection leads to the various central figures to react differently in each case. This ranges from attempting liberation to denial. Therefore, the work raises the question of how is it possible and how it is worth relating to the atrocities of one’s culture.

Furthermore, Exercises in Perception leads the viewer to unavoidably encounter the issues of society’s relation to nudity, that is to showing, hiding, sexualising and objectifying the human body. The piece offers a new and unconventional presentation of nakedness, since we rarely see female bodies in non-sexual contexts, while male bodies are hardly ever visible in any context. The human body is shown in a simple, equal and raw way. They are objectified, but neutrally, viewing bodies simply as abstract shapes, which can be used to construct homes. This unexpected depiction forces the viewer to reevaluate their views on what is acceptable and respectful regarding the documentation and representation of nudity.

Still, the interpretation of Exercises in Perception is kept open. It can be understood as the depiction of the hierarchy of society or of historical traumas and atrocities. Some associated it with the Holocaust, slave ships or more generally with the structure of society, while for others the piece provides an insight into an individual’s personal mental state.

Free entry.
Gallery maximum limit: 4 visitors.
Masks must be used indoors.
2 meters social distancing.