“A plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful”

The title of the exhibition is based on the two meanings of the word “fence” – in Czech and English. On both levels, they capture the basic essence of the work exhibited by the artist EPOS 257 in the Berlinskej Model Gallery. If we work with the Czech meaning of the word, we get to the formal form of the presented project. If we relate to the English translation, we approach the procedurality and the principle of the work’s creation. I perceive EPOS 257’s many changes and shifts mainly against the background of our long-term friendship. If I were to disengage from melancholy and begin to schematize, the first stage of EPOS was undoubtedly the often mentioned anchoring in the graffiti scene and participation in its formation (the period of establishing friendship). This was followed by a turn to public space and work with it as a basic material (a period of random encounters). And the current position based on “wandering around the urban landscape and its intensive experience” 1 (establishing cooperation). The installation in the Berlinskej Model Gallery is then based on the mentioned second stage. Specifically, it is the elaboration of a subtle intervention in public life called 50m 2 of public space (2010), in which the artist bordered the square of Palackého náměstí with a mesh commonly used in the management of city property. He restricted free movement through an “invisible” barrier to an officially approved public gathering area without prior notice.The central motif of the exhibition in the Berlinskej Model Gallery is a metal-pressed, aesthetically intensive block with a name of 49.76 m2 of public space. In essence, this is the result of exploring other possibilities of the well-proven principle of work, now transferred to a much more “guarded” territory of the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. EPOS 257 verifies the sensitivity of the authorities, the safety and the attention of the inhabitants in the urban environment of Berlin. The installation is located in a similarly exposed place in the area of ​​embassies right in the city center. EPOS plays out the starting points of previous work in formal and semantic levels. In a Kafkaesque way, he develops the absurdity of the fenced area with another layer of fencing. The building comes close to the monument to Leopold I., but evidently, unlike the figural motif on the pedestal, it is not considered a communicative sign. Over time, illegal poster stickers appear on the mesh and are disposed of as part of maintenance, but the structure itself remains intact. The “statue” lived its own life in the center of Berlin for an estimated year and a half, much longer than in Prague, where it was removed after 54 days. EPOS 257 also brings other artifacts to the Berlinskej Model Gallery refering to the origin and processuality of the entire project. The origin of the work itself is documented with a video recording. The inconspicuous photograph installed in the first space of the gallery (view from the window of the Czech Center) represents the paradoxical institutional protection of the whole work. The resulting building, 49.76 m2 of public space, installed in the Berlin Model Gallery, went through several stages of presentation and at the same time changed its appearance.

Jan Lesak

1 Pospiszyl Tomáš, Epos 257: Roots, branches, tendrils, press release for the exhibition, Prague, 2018