May first of last year marked the comeback of a much anticipated exhibition in the pandemic-stricken art world. Boros Collection #4 couldn’t have been launched at a more fitting time – amidst the sudden wave of optimism following a two-year period of COVID-driven stagnation, we find ourselves crippled but devoutly yearning for a reappraisal of values and a rejuvenated sense of affirmation. Curated by Karen and Christian Boros, twenty-five contemporary artists reflect upon the marginal times we live in alongside the consequences of an ever-digitising world on our bodies and social dynamics. Relentless metamorphosis, alienation and isolation are part of the themes that frame the essence of the exhibition which takes place in a converted Second World War bunker and will be on display until 2026.
The works of more than twenty artists reside in the sanctuary of an impregnable bunker – a solitary construction of swingeing proportions turned visionary oasis. The tall, robust walls of the building trigger a sense of isolation and allude to bygone days of mass seclusion. Much like the etiquette rules we are instructed with upon entry into a gallery, the imperative here lies in the spirit of the setting, which demands a diversion of the senses in an inwards trajectory, towards the subject and the anima. Only those who have managed to uncloak themselves and stand defenceless and vulnerable in the most secure of buildings can relish the ingenuity of the art. The thorough selection of works here is not a mere aesthetic choice (though it certainly checks that box), but rather a narrative generator, at the heart of which lies the post-pandemic, technologically wired individual.
The somewhat lewd, yet captivating female sculptures of Anna Uddenberg are loud, weirdly realistic and almost tacky. Bent suggestively in half, a helmet-doning, fully clothed figure grips a selfie stick, hovering it over her privates; smartphones, however, are missing. This is not the case with Klára Hosnedlová’s painstakingly embroidered paintings which blend in effortlessly with the concrete walls they’re hung on. Part of the Czech artist’s Nest series, half-naked female bodies, each holding a smartphone, are carefully constructed via coloured cotton threads and mounted on terrazzo frames – Hosnedlová draws parallels between the iconic architecture of the Ještěd Tower in her home country and our highly digitalised world today. Berenice Olmedo’s kids’ leg braces demonstrate their haunted dance as they sporadically stand up and start walking – the Mexican artist’s take on technology in the absence of the human (contrary to Uddenberg‘s work which lacks the technological element). Both Olmedo and Uddenberg’s works puckishly interact with the audience in a game of fill-in-the-blanks, which leaves us wondering just how far we’ve gone in our insatiable quest for technological advancements and how long until we become ghosts in the shells of abandoned silicon and iron constructions. Similar themes are explored throughout by the likes of Anne Imhof, He Xiangyu, Bunny Rogers and other artists from all over the world.
The latest edition of Boros Collection stands shrewdly progressive and contemporary, and is a definite must-see for any passers-by. Scheduled to run for another 3 years, the exhibition has already established itself as an unparalleled cultural destination throughout the years – an aberrant echo of the present and an oracular peephole towards what’s to come.