Západočeská galerie v Plzni / West Bohemian Gallery in Pilsen
25.03.2010 - 06.06.2010
Milos Sejn works in the fields of visual art, performance and study of visual perception, and conducts workshops, such as Bohemiae Rosa. At present he teaches mixed media and the relationship of nature and art as intrinsic needs of the mind at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, and focuses on immediate creative possibilities, based upon the relationships between historical humanized landscapes and nature as a whole.
In his work, which takes the form of touch paintings, processual scrolls, books, as well as of body and land art, performance, video art and poetry, he captures and expresses his experience from communicating with nature and with the landscape, at the same time it captures aspects of nature and natural processes. The exhibition concentrates events and works in which the artist’s own body is used as the exclusive medium of expression and as a visual medium, and which can be preserved only in a video or audio form – on photographs, video or film.
Šejn’s work is rooted in an ingrained interest in nature that has demonstrated itself since his early childhood. At the beginning of the 1960s, when he was wandering in nature, he took photographs, drew, collected and labelled his observations of nature. The fundamental quality of Šejn’s work is the way he relates to nature: the fusion and permeation of the objective, cerebral, observational approach to the world of nature with the subjective, intensely physical and experiential. His artistic creation would have never acquired its uniqueness and depth if it had not been founded in the lifelong systemic observation and learning of nature and his deep knowledge of the processes that take place there.
Since the late 1960s Miloš Šejn has been consciously trying to transform his impressions of nature into a form that could be described as art. The first part of the exhibition recapitulates – by way of an edited capsule of his early body art – the artist’s walking, meandering, body contacts, rituals and meditations which often occurred in caves and gorges, as a reaction to the space, morphology and the perceived forces of the site. The environment of caves and rock labyrinths inspired Šejn to create a series of unique fire drawings (in particular Delimitation of the Space by Fire in the Mažarná cave in Velká Fatra mountains, Slovakia, July 1982). The photographs capture the artist’s exploration of the cave using the medium of light – a lit torch – which he carried through the underground labyrinth.
In mid-1990s, Šejn’s work was significantly influenced by his encounter with the Body Weather method, developed by the famous Japanese dancer Min Tanaka – in part as a reaction to the techniques of the butoh dance. Video performances and the simultaneously taken colour photographs from the last fifteen years, that make up the focus of the exhibition, represent Šejn’s newly found emphasis on the transformation of transient sculptures into permanent audio and video recordings of the body – aesthetic artefacts. They are not just a record of communication of the body/mind with nature and the landscape, but also a continual validation of ways how to translate such fleeting encounters into a permanent, aesthetically consequential art form.
The recordings of the author’s body art open new vistas of the moments of touching, blending and permeation of the body and the landscape. The most recent work shows this tendency along two lines: some photographs depict Šejn’s body sculptures set in the bezel of a broader landscape; others, on the other hand, are images fixing the moments of micro-integration of the body and the landscape. The ephemeral, seemingly trivial moments the existence of which one hardly realises in the flow of various doing, but which are the fundament of Šejn’s touching and interfusing of the body with the earth, water and air. Photography and video recordings of performances are accompanies by a selection of stones and other natural materials collected by the author during his rambling and staying in nature.