Barbora Zentková & Julia Gryboś at Karlin Studios / Prague

Barbora Zentková & Julia Gryboś
Tiredness Quotes

exhibition 7.3.2020. –

Karlin Studios, Prvního pluku 2, Prague

Photo:Tomáš Souček

temperature dropped to twenty degrees below zero on that day. It happened at
the beginning of the turbulent year 1972, when the Red Army Faction gunshots
could be heard around West Germany, which was why the police, as well as the
authorities, were closely watching all, even underground concerts. It was at
that time, on January 9, when a krautrock band
Can was
playing at the campus of The Technical University of Berlin, the epicenter of
student radicals. There was a rule in the country for the police to stay clear
of academic grounds unless riots come about. The cars and troopers had to
patrol outside.
flew off the handle, they gave over to ritual jamming with its monotone rhythms
and psychedelic synthesizers bubbling in-between them. They were adding one
one-hour-long piece after another to test the patience of the police. “We were
like a football team, but we had no idea where the ball would end,” Holger
Czukay from Can describes almost telepathic connection between him and
other band members. There was weed being smoked inside the hall and the people
stuck out the joints provocatively out of the windows and towards the freezing
policemen. “After two hours of playing,
Can were
totally exhausted but also in a good mood – and they added another one-hour-long
encore,” as one of the participants recalls. In the end, the concert took 6
hours and when the crowd began dispersing, almost nobody from the police patrol
remained on their positions.
is when the power of a jamming band was fully demonstrated. It doesn’t solely
have to be a hypnotic experience and expression of a close-up connection
between the audience and the musicians, but also a political statement and a
demonstration of defiance. Or even all of the above mixed together and much
more. The collectivity brought exhaustion which was expressed on several levels
: in
the drummer’s strung muscles as well as in the more and more zonked audience
members and, on the other side, in the bone-frozen policemen. Similar details,
signs of exhaustion, deterioration and degradation of material constitute the
focal point of Barbora Zentková & Julia Gryboś artworks, in which they
often work with the medium of jamming group, further exploring its dimensions.
current exhibition Tiredness Quotes elaborates on the same topic and
follows up to Ostrava’s project Potential Causes of Afternoon Tiredness
which the couple set into one of the abandoned buildings in the city center,
between the rusting hangers and dingy movables. For their installation in
Karlin Studios the artists borrowed a tiny part of furniture from the bankrupt
shop and added some new weaved
á & Gryboś will let musicians play the motive of
the song Dancing in the Dark among the objects to document the way the
song gets asymmetrically deformed as a result of fatigue. The exhibition is an
admitted citation of Bruce Springsteen’s song from 1984, in which he was
venting out his frustration, creative block following a successful record,
concerns about not being able to build on it further, and anxiety of the
pressures of his record label. During the four-hour-long performance, the hired
musicians are going to constantly come back to the song while abandoning it at
the same time. Nonetheless, the message is not only in the melodies and tones:
it dwells in the drops of sweat on the musicians’ faces, as well as in the
guitarist’s sore fingers and in the broken guitar strings and in the
pussyfooting of the audience.
not merely a concert at an exhibition opening, but also a sui generis message
about the current mindset aimed at constant performance and acceleration of the
production. Contemporary sociology works with a so-called drudgery index
which recalculates the acceleration by the number of hours that a person
earning average salary needs to work to pay the rent in an average flat in a
city. In the last 70 years, it has grown in North America alone from 45 to 101
hours and thanks to globalization the situation won’t be much different in the
First World. That’s how the current neoliberal system is invariably and
uniformly creating debilitating anxiety, where the head commands us to work but
the body refuses to exert actions, it fails and protests. Is there really
nothing left for us to do, just to “
jam” till we drop?
come home in the mornin’
go to bed feelin’ the same way
ain’t nothin’ but tired
I’m just tired and bored with myself 
Text by Miloš Hroch