Black Lantern
Stone Projects / PRAGUE (Czech Republic)
01.03.2019 – 14.04.2019

Last December a team of archaeologists made a stunning discovery in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. On the broad fields of a local farm, they found an ancient stone circle, resembling by its morphology the famous Stonehenge. Similar structures usually date back 3500 to 4500 years. Their purpose despite the continuous long-term research still remains a mystery. What a disillusionment it was for the researchers when the previous owner of the fields came out in front of the media with a revelation that it was he who actually built the structure in the 1990s. The press release of the local council stated: “It is obviously disappointing to learn of this development, but it also adds an interesting element to its story. That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation, and engagement with the archaeology of the region by the local community. We hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed. While not ancient, it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.”

By means of blockbuster movies, the newly re-established mythological canon of comic book heroes finds its roots mostly in the mid 20th century. Some of those supernatural individuals were presented on pages of magazines for the first time before the Second World War. Current global popularisation of this longstanding pop cultural phenomenon places its protagonists to our present times, without apparent regard to their original timelines. There are of course exceptions, for instance, Captain America or Wonder Woman speak to us from the silver screen while holding to their complex historical contexts, therefore bridging the established narrative of modern history leading up to the present day. The hero of Green Lantern touched for the first time the source of its mythical power in 1940, and Black Panther brought his African legacy to the racial inequality turmoil of the US in the mid-1960s.

Questioning the integrity of historical narratives and their loose re-combinations are typical tools behind Dvořák’s practice. Medieval strongholds, heraldic symbols, and reminiscences to chef-d’oeuvres of the art historical canon are forming a backbone of a non-nostalgic search for an epic legacy of the past manifested in times when the ruins of the grand narratives remain covered under an impermeable veil of the post-truth phenomenon. Black Lantern is thus not only an oxymoron relating to an impossibility of translucence, or a direct allusion to the established mythology, but rather an open subjective evocation of feelings naturally embedded in the connotations of those two words. An authenticity of given references is not relevant anymore, maybe only at the level of emotions. No matter if they resonate for you on a scale of pre-coded cultural consciousness or learning experience, no matter if you find your source in realistically looking stone walls that are actually made from styrofoam or generated by an algorithm. References are becoming independent of their pre-configurations, forming not only adapted but genuinely new realities. It doesn’t make much difference if something was conceived thousands of years ago, in the year 1940 or the day before yesterday, what is important, is your personal sensation.

Curated by Jen Kratochvil

Courtesy of the artist and the Stone Projects
Photocredit Ondřej Polák