Česká centra, Czech Centres

Česká centra / Czech centres - logo


Windows on Madison - Blind Spots

Windows on Madison - Public space art project located on the windows of the Czech UN Mission. Blind Spots by Tereza Severova.

The set of photographs called Blind Spots (Slepé skvrny) is intended as an installation in public space, which changes its form and meaning as it is installed in a natural environment. Windows are an architectural element which can be seen as an intersection between exterior and interior, between private and public space or as an intermediary of another dimension of the world. Manipulated photographs that are to be placed in window frames promote this dialogue and raise it onto the level of communication with passers-by. Common traffic participants become viewers taking part in the game with their own perception.

They are called on to ask fundamental questions concerning the perception of reality and truth.

A blind spot is a place on the retina where the optic nerve enters the eyeball where it is not distributed into fine nerve fibers containing light sensitive elements. It is a place in the eye lacking photoreceptor cells. It was first described in 1668 by a French physicist Edme Mariotte. As a result of this native predisposition, every human has a part in the visual field through which they cannot see. It is a phenomenon that is not normally noticeable, since the brain of the observer "fills in" the blind spot.

In the world today, we face the everyday flow of factual and visual information carrying a seal of authentic reality. We have grown accustomed to perceive these images as a specific part of our world. But do we understand the fact that not everything is real, although it seems so?

Are we capable of a critical look at the world around us? Are we observers who are sensitive to all layers of our reality, or art?

It proves that "seeing itself is invisible" and we, the seeing ones, cannot see "what seeing is" (Mitchell). In other words we find that visual experience is deeply conditioned by codes or formal etiquettes of the culture it has arisen from. Therefore, the question arises whether cultures as specific forms of life sharing certain modes of perception would be able to create means for stepping over its own boundaries (of seeing). Mgr. Ondřej Dadejík, Mgr. Martin Kaplický - Aesthetic (and) visual experience.

Maybe our perception includes some kind of blind spots we are not aware of...


About the Public Space Art Project Windows on Madison
The Czech Center prepared a series of exhibitions by contemporary Czech and international artists that will be presented on the windows of the building at 1109-1111 on Madison Avenue where the permanent mission of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York is located.
The aim of the project is to address the broad public that walks by on this luxurious avenue and to use this space for a dialogue of artists with the public.
Artists will create their works specifically for this outdoor space. They will deal with social, economic, environmental, historic and cultural themes that are common for people all around today’s globalized world. The exhibitions will alter after approximately three months and introduce various attitudes of public art to current wide-reaching challenges.


Previous Project of WINDOWS ON MADISON:

Visit Photogallery Windows on Madison - Dominik Lang

The content of one’s pockets, often consisting of bizarre configurations of diverse objects, represents idiosyncratic groups of objects related to daily activities; these can be considered as a specific, though partly random, portrait of their owner. A pocket represents an original micro world within a complex of objects inhabiting and co-creating the intimate space of any one of us. The content of emptied pockets may evoke familiar everyday reality; however, pockets turned inside out may as well allude to identity checks, e.g. when walking through a metal detector at the airport, during a visit to a hospital or prison. In his series called simply Pockets, made for the Windows on Madison project, Dominik Lang presents a reconstruction of the content of his pockets on February 2, 2007 during his New York stay. Consisting of little “ready-made” objects, the content of each of the pockets represented “material” for a series of intimate installations, the composition of which consisted in their simple arrangement next to each other.

The output of the project consisted in photographic records of these collections presented as individual installations; e.g. the right trouser pocket, the jacket breast pocket; evoking rather documentary scenes than elaborate still lifes. At present, they are exhibited in the windows of the Czech Mission to the UN on Madison Avenue. Stuck in a spatiotemporal loop, with respect to the link between their creation and their current presentation, they represent an inverted reflection of the personal world and private history in the public space of a busy New York street. The passers-by are immediately confronted with a quick glance into the artist’s privacy; however, the metaphorical message of the images rather invites general reflection, concerning personal stories as well as the relationship between personal space and identity, the boundary between the private and the public sphere, the mutual blending of the two, as well as the communication possibilities of public art.

The artist mentions an archive of objects, identity perceived on the basis of everyday activities as well as random personal discoveries. Including primarily installations and spatial realizations, the artworks by Dominik Lang are characteristic of a generous and complex use of space. Many of his projects deal with the theme of the gallery environment and the visitors’ experience, leading to a polemic with their institutional framework. His works also frequently discuss the problem of the internal and the external or the relationship of the artwork and the context of its creation. Many of these features are present in the current realization. The Windows on Madison project focuses on the presentation of engaged art and current cultural-political issues. The Pockets series represents a non-spectacular statement addressing some of these issues in an intelligible way; e.g. the problem of the relationship between private and public space, the theme of identity including potential abuse, the possibilities of gallery practice etc.; however, all of these are rather secondary. The series primarily provides an introspective insight, looking deeper than to the bottom of one’s pockets.
Marie Haskovcova



Our Partners