Unnamed

2017– 2017, Jakub Berdych, vase, glass, 19 x 34 cm, 21 x 40 cm, limited collection

If we leave to one side the magnificence of the intense emotions and desires that veil our true nature on social networks, we have to face the dark undertow of a virtual world-weariness, our fear of a world overwhelmed by doubt yet simultaneously full of the dregs of sickly-sweet hypotheses that are earnestly meant and even more earnestly received, with a profundity that matches the parameters of our contemporary means of communication, the tweet.

Comments and gentle nudges in a world of programmed emotion and fictitious friendship defined by pressing the “confirm” button; the comedy of errors that ensues from these friendships and internet discussions is the subject of Jakub’s almost semantic interest in the power and meaning of words, slogans and symbols.

In a world of ambivalence, all communication is open to doubt and all users are forced to constantly seek out the meaning and credibility of words. The phonetic anagram “boy f rent > boyfriend” on one of the glass vases alludes to this. But a similar kind of confusion can also arise in the otherwise sterile setting of real life. The entirely anonymous numbers and symbols on buildings or roads awaiting construction work are only meant for a small circle of initiates, whether they are street artists or civil engineers. When out in the city, Jakub appreciates their sense of mystery and their striking appearance, and they are his inspiration for decorating these vases and objects with numerical codes taken from the New Testament: “Matthew 22:39 > love your neighbour as yourself”, which urges users to use these vases for a reason that is naturally human, or alternatively users are confronted with the inscription “blow job” on a vase with a bouquet of roses that is nothing other than technical information indicating that the vase was hand blown.

 

Alongside these inscriptions, we must mention a passage that the artist has again quoted from a book that might be the key to understanding the formal aspect of his current work. “Since all integrating perspectives, be they religious, political, social or psychosocial, began disappearing from the consciousness of people on the threshold of the atomic and cybernetic age, there has been an all-pervasive disintegration of functional logic; form is replacing function” (Vratislav Effenberger, Surovost života a cynismus fantasie, Praha 1975) – in Jakub’s case we find rigorously simplified primary solids, or a classical model that is seen as an ideal, independent of content or time. This ideal is in ambivalent and surprising concord with the aforementioned interest.