The project comprises an exhibition of contemporary art as well as an expansive community program
The first edition of the Biennale Matter of Art entitled Come Closer will be open from July 22 to November 15 in Prague and spans five locations across the city, including the Prague City Gallery at the Municipal Library building, Prague Market in Holešovice, a pedestrian underpass at Nádraží Holešovice station, Panorama Hotel Prague and the DBK Shopping Mall Plaza.
The exhibition as well as the community program is accessible free of charge throughout the duration of the biennale. All venues have wheelchair access.
*Come Closer* is the title of the first edition of the Matter of Art biennial of contemporary art. The works of art that you will encounter at this exhibition communicate emotional and physical experience that is both ambivalent and complicated. “Come closer,” the selected works tell us, but this closeness can be uncomfortable. The exhibition recalls the concept of the pedagogy of discomfort, which focuses on ambivalent emotions and holds that they play a central role in questioning dominant ideologies and social habits. Emotional discomfort can lead to a new emotional understanding of how to live with others. Come Closer asks us to engage in physical and mental closeness. It can be a sentence spoken by an adult to a small child, it can be an erotic come-on or a friendly invitation, but it can also be a threat. Encounters can play out in the spirit of mutual understanding just as well as fundamental misunderstanding. Closeness and empathy, the exhibition’s two main themes, are basic human needs and expressions of caring, of the emotional work we perform for others and for ourselves.
Can art mediate experience across class, gender, and cultural lines? Is it possible to emotionally and sensually feel someone else’s experience, someone with whom we have nothing in common? Can we share an experience that, by its very essence, is alien to us because we come from a different socio-cultural environment and have different experiences? The exhibition presents events that directly or indirectly affect us all, that are universal but that at the same time do not hide (and sometimes even emphasize) the fact that they are based on culturally, economically, and socially defined experiences. All this is done with an awareness that galleries and museums traditionally prefer some types of experience while suppressing or ignoring others.