in collaboration with Claude Johann Čierny
Online exhibition: March 31 - May 7, 2021
Gandy gallery is pleased to present the third solo show of the artist Pavlína Fichta Čierna following The Bird's-eye view (2006) and Almost Beautiful Life (2011) available to the public online from March 31.
The project AS PUNISHMENT is the result of a collaboration between Pavlína Fichta Čierna and her son Claude Johann Čierny. It is based on their personal experience with the process of transition that makes this testimony authentic and unique. The journey of the young trans man and his mother was successful but not without obstacles, fear, or feelings of helplessness. Although they also met acceptance and support, the inadequate legislation, the prejudices, and ignorance of the society were present in almost every aspect of their struggle. Therefore, Pavlína and Johann decided to share their story to draw attention to the specifics of the situation of trans people, often ignored or overlooked by the majority not only in Slovakia but in many other countries as well. They also want to appeal to parents in similar situations and encourage them to stand by their children and fight for their rights.
The photographs are presenting the body of Johann captured in postures evoking vulnerable and exposed conditions. The authors adapted the project originally presented in Artwall Gallery (Prague, 2020), specially for the Gandy gallery‘s online exhibition. Now, the series of photographs is presented autonomously, parallelly to the brief dictums reflecting not only the frequent stereotypical reactions trans people are confronted with but also the problematic formulations of the applicable laws. The selected parts of the manifesto "MOTHERS OF TRANS * CHILDREN, UNITE!" are accompanying the two above-mentioned narratives, together creating a complex dialogue of images and texts.
Through the online exhibition we wish to spread this message and to remind, that even if these problems become less visible for various reasons, they did not disappear. Recent legislative changes in Poland and Hungary restricting the freedom of women, trans people or other minorities are warning us, that the fight for an equal and accepting society is not over yet. We would like to live in a world, where nobody will feel their life as a punishment!
For Pavlína Fichta Čierna (1967, SVK) art is naturally interconnected with everyday life. Many of her works are emblematic examples of multimedia and media art in Slovakia after 1990. They are characterized by a strong discursive character and through media art, film, and interactive projects, she focuses mainly on the topics of social exclusion, politics, and personal trauma. She is known as an author of quasi-documentary portraits, in which the positions of the social outsider and the admirable hero are intersected. Fichta Čierna has realized several important interactive works, specific spatial multimedia installations, collective and individual performances.
In addition to individual projects, Fichta Čierna participated in numerous collective exhibitions, e.g. the exhibition Open House (Casino Luxembourg - Forum D´Art Contemporain, Luxembourg) in 2002, Positioning, In the New Reality of Europe: Art from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (MOCA Hiroshima, MOT Tokyo, NMAO Osaka) in 2005, Formats of Transformation 89 – 09 (House of Arts Brno and MUSA Vienna) in 2010 or Changer d'image (mumok, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien) in 2013. She received several awards, among others the Oskar Čepan Award in 2002, the LOOP AWARD in Barcelona in 2005, and she was awarded at the Festival of Short Films by Women (York College/CUNY, New York) in 2010. The artist's works are present in the collections of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, the Małopolska Fundacja Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej in Krakow, the Museum d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and other significant institutions.
Besides being a visual artist and director, Pavlína Fichta Čierna is also known as a producer, curator, and activist. She has been engaged in pedagogical activities for many years and currently lectures at the University of Žilina. In cooperation with the New Synagogue culture center in Žilina she leads her discussion format focused on science and art and she is active in the cultural and social field as well. As the mother of a transgender child, she has been publicly advocating for the rights of transgender people in recent years. This experience is reflected in several of the author's works, particularly in the video Post-Eclipse Transfocation (2018) presented in different institutions and film festivals such as Tranzit Bratislava in 2019, Visions du Réel (51st. Festival International de cinéma, Nyon) in 2020 or East Silver Market (23th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival) in 2019.
Claude Johann Čierny (2002) studied at CATS College Canterbury in England, where he actively participated in student conferences (MUN London, MAC Norwich). After passing the IGCSE exam at King's College in Bratislava he is currently studying at the PORG Libeň Grammar School in Prague. He is interested in science, politics, philosophy, and art. In his projects, Čierny tends mainly to photography and performance, currently focusing on the topic of transgender identity and experience. He has participated in several public presentations and exhibitions. Last year, he realized a performance in cooperation with other young transgender people at the Tehláreň Festival.