Gardening of Soul: In Five Chapters
Placed within the international art context, the project Gardening of Soul: In Five Chapters focuses on establishing connectivity between current artistic expression and the various social activities that have begun to emerge from the desire to cultivate and nurture one’s surroundings, which can be symbolically described as a tendency manifesting itself through various forms of collective gardening. The garden – and the work associated with developing and maintaining it – are without a doubt metaphorically linked to the determination of an individual to enhance and share a specific space and, at the same time, use this space to ensure both material and existential needs.
Although the phenomenon of gardening does naturally change in different communities and under different climatic conditions, it always has enormous potential to generate the cooperation, communication, and shared production that is vitally linked with the surrounding natural environment and the common purposeful activity of a specific community. Through the realisation of 17 artworks installed in public space, the project will bring together participating art institutions and invited artists from ten countries on four continents with community representatives from these countries. It will provide them with the opportunity to work together in an effort to construct symbolic places growing out of a dialogue between various forms of artistic projects and the act of improving forgotten or otherwise neglected locations. These may include localities scarred by economic exploitation, dilapidated post-industrial areas or socially excluded communities, but they could also be diverse spaces where there is a rich interaction between specific social groups and community activism.
The selection of artists will stem from the locations in which the artistic institutions participating in the project operate, thus strengthening the emphasis placed on working with a specific place and a specific community.
Ústí nad Labem House of Arts
The Faculty of Art and Design established the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts in 2016 as an exhibition institution and organises its programme on an ongoing basis. The exhibition and research activities carried out by the House of Arts significantly contribute to the presentation of a wide variety of contemporary visual cultural forms. The House of Arts strives to serve as a gateway to the dynamic structures of contemporary art, opening itself up to the diverse impulses of the international art scene. Its exhibition concept is focused on presenting important artists and the key artistic trends and themes that currently shape Central European art. This institution’s programme combines artistic, research, education, and publication activities, which are consistently implemented in an international context and in collaboration with a number of partners.
The House of Arts’ key objectives include the professional production and presentation of current artistic outputs; the promotion of international collaborative efforts through organising joint exhibition projects; and creative research in the field of contemporary art carried out in collaboration with institutions of higher learning with a similar focus. The House of Arts collaborates on individual exhibition projects with curators who represent local professional workplaces as well as with partner institutions, mainly international ones, and invited freelance curators. The gallery prepares around 10 exhibition projects each year (for more information, see www.duul.cz).
University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem
The University of Jan Evangelisty Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem (UJEP) is a state-of-the-art scientific, education, and cultural centre in the Czech Republic’s Ústí nad Labem Region. We are proudly committed to the municipality of Ústí nad Labem, and make a significant contribution to the region’s development. UJEP was established in 1991 and today is the umbrella institution for eight faculties: the Faculty of Art and Design, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of the Environment, the Faculty of Health Studies, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Social and Economic Studies. We have more than 8,000 students and a staff of about 900.
The lead applicant of this project is the UJEP Faculty of Art and Design (www.fud.ujep.cz). We consider the Faculty of Art and Design to be an art and design school that respectfully views art history, philosophy, and science as traditional academic values to be vigorously developed and used to frame innovative artistic and theoretical views, while tackling current social and cultural challenges. We endeavour to preserve and develop traditional craft and artistic techniques while simultaneously seeking ways to explore new technologies that exploit the possibilities of artistic creation not only for the sake of personal reflection but also to take part in identifying current trends based on scientific findings and shaping the contemporary so-called artistic community.
We believe that art can – and should – inspirationally shape the imagination and the richness of life in the traditional aesthetic sense as well as at the scientific and technological level. We believe that contemporary art and design have enough energy to raise the level of social interaction and the environment. For students and educators, we create and support an international environment through internships abroad, exchange programmes, workshops, and exhibitions.