The audio-visual installation Independant by Maxim Velčovský was originally conceived for the main space of a Milanese theatre, where it loosely followed on from the exhibition Monster Cabaret presenting a collection of glass art objects on the topic of monsters, anti-heroes, villains and outcasts. The seven-meter tall tower with 111 screens playing broadcasting channels on loop amplified the message being brought to the audience’s attention about fake news and their infiltration into the collective consciousness. This piece enhancing the entire exhibition of the glass monsters reflects on our (own or influenced externally) idea about reality, and a playful critique, meant altogether seriously, disrupts the state of affairs in our society. What is the truth?
Independant – “the counterpart to pendants” and a word play on pendant and independent – is an oversized object, which grows out of the ground in contradiction to its etymological meaning and evokes a revered totem with both its shape and symbolism. The work was inspired by hundred-year-old columns that used to stand on street corners or squares, covered in poster announcements about what happened or was going to happen. The surface on the screens made of fused glass bars disables clear transparency and thus mimics the ambiguous truths and the influence of public opinion. Velčovský explains: “ Independant is a video billboard of our times,” and adds with a dose of sarcasm, “the crystal glass screens help filter the content into crystal clear truth… It is only up to you, what you choose to believe.”
The subject of monopoly over “public truth” and demagogy of the society also appears in the glass statuette of Lenin, which Velčovský created for the Lasvit Monster Collection, exhibited at the same space. The ubiquity of the Soviet icon in the Czechoslovak public environment and consciousness during the artist’s childhood in the 70’s and 80’s had a pressing effect on the behavior and lives of people, similarly like the voices and more or less constructed realities emitted by the Independant.
Monster Cabaret, Salone del Mobile 2018