The project purpose is to make contemporary art accessible through realisation of art and design works in public space, thematically defined international exhibitions and international interdisciplinary conference.
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.
The exhibition Gardening of Soul: Introduction is the first public output of the long-term project of the Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, which focuses on the issue of artistic reflection on the phenomenon of garden and gardening understood in a broader social, economic, environmental and cultural context.
In September, members of the project team and artist Robert Vlasák visited the project’s partner, the People in Need in the house in Předlice. Director Vít Kučera and his team of colleagues also participated in the meeting.