Oto Hudec


gandy gallery

We are all carbon

Exhibition: December 11, 2019 - February 28, 2020


That man’s physical and spiritual life is linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature. Karl Marx

We live in a paradox. We depend on meaningful activity to live, to exist. Work defines us, work creates who we are. And to be present, to exist, we have to grow. We have to reinvent ourselves, we have to produce, we have to consume. We are part of the civilisation, yet, we start to realize, that the civilisation, as we know it, is unsustainable. It seems that the resources we need to consume have to be bigger than the planet can continually offer. And then- our work, our production and our consumption causes emissions of greenhouse gasses. The patterns of our existence as we got used to and inherited- are in contradiction with our own survival. Coal, a symbol of an obsolete source of energy is still used to keep our production and our comfort. Therefore, we are all coal. It is, as we are made of coal, gasoline, cobalt and other precise metals, plastic, water- materia. They are part of who we are.
We need resources to live.

The exhibition is trying to explore human existence through this particular lens. Our connection to materia. Coal, water, cobalt. Establishing a link between painting and a cobalt mine in Congo. Between heat in our flat and a surface coal mine in north-west Czechia. And opening a discussion, where it started and if we can even trace back the original source of current ecological destabilisation. The division between Man and Nature, the moment when we lost the contact with our natural surrounding and gave it a role of resource for us, the superior ones.
The paradox of Marx's statement is, that this citation from his early work seems to be in a striking contradiction with all the politics of natural exploration of a socialist state. But let's make no mistake – same exploration is happening in a capitalist model.
At the end, the coal gains life, gains voice and starts to express itself.
The coal, through new personality shows a desire to return back, where it belongs, to the mine, under the soil. And as it is searching it's original home, it might reflect our own confusion, and insatiable desire – as humans, we are a lost specie, divided from the nature, disconnected, and searching for “home”. Whether it exists, or ever existed, or not, we could at least try to approach the shape of it- the safe place.
We are carbon and water, but we are humans at the end. And as a container ship is sinking on a horizon, somebody has escaped from the wreck- and starts a journey for a new home.


Slovak multi-media artist Oto Hudec (1981, Kosiče) created his recent work in Slovakia, Austria, South Korea, Cabo Verde, Portugal and USA. He creates videos, murals, animations, sculptures and works for public spaces about immigration, refugees and the impact of globalization on the environment. His projects often involve utopic perspective as a way to shed a light on food production, industrial landscape, or decline of bees. While interested in ecological living, food production and sustainability, instead of searching for new scientific solutions, he is looking into how nomadic and indigenous people achieved this. He often cooperates on projects with children and youth from disadvantaged communities. Since 2013 he works on on the participative project with Roma children in Slovakia Projekt Karavantogether with artist Daniela Krajčová. He is a finalist of Oskar Čepan prize for young artists in 2012, Slovakia.  


Oto Hudec - list of works (pdf)

Oto Hudec CV 2019 (pdf)