Works > Installations > 2013 Bohemia Rosa


Milos ŠEIN

I, a tree / Dream About Bohemiae Rosa, The Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland National Parks and Nurten Yüksel

It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our braun and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream. I shall never find in the wilds of Labrador any greater wildness than in some recess of Concord, i.e. than I import into it

HENRY DAVID THOREAU Journal, August 30, 1856

When Simon Schama was finishing his Landscape & Memory in 1995, from which I took the motto for this text, the idea for the Bohemiae Rosa project has smouldered in my mind for several years already. I too understood landscape as a stratified body, readable using words laid down by history of human imagination. A vision painted by words is also an image, one that is never static but metamorphoses in time. In time and language of thoughts, images, language of art, time and language of landscape and all that is around and within us. How does one grasp and express this feeling? From this departure point it is only a step toward linking images and words, body and space, perhaps with assistance of many or maybe all domains of art and science.
At that time I taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and it was very logical that I have explored these relations in workshops. A studio may be perceived as a laboratory, but a workshop provides openness, especially if it has a logical structure. The first stage was an inspiration by a well-known map drawn by Christopher Vetter for the famous Miscellanea Historica Regni Bohemiae by Bohuslav Balbín during 1679 - 1687. The centre of Europe and Bohemia is depicted there as a stylized rose. The individual petals depict important locations throughout the land – my country. And the time has come to explore those petals again, in a method that is new and compliant with today’s perception of landscape, a perception that sees landscape as a unique and yet universal body of being, life.
The very first Bohemia Rosa workshop took place in 1995, in parallel with the publication of Simon Schama’s book. Frank van de Ven partnered with me for this workshop having an experience with Japanese Maijuku Performance Company and continuing to evolve and modify work with the body and space. Min Tanaka has developed this style a long time ago and called it the “Body Weather” as it is deeply connected to and in intercourse with the surrounding space and landscape. Many facets of this work corresponded deeply with my personal creative methods and I have been cooperating with Frank van de Ven regularly ever since, initially on a periodical, two-year cycle basis, and later freely, via organizing the SITE/BODY/EXPLORATION workshops, where we strive to shift the exploration of relations between bodies and spaces even further and into new domains. Sites and people change, same as methods and means, and all remains open.
This year, in 2013, we focus on the Bohemian & Saxon Switzerland National Parks. These parks had been spaces of inspiration for the Dresden circle of romantic landscape painters, especially for Gaspar David Friedrich. The landscape lies before us as an open book and we enter into this book. Many things failed to come out as planned and sometimes we enjoy substantial successes. I continue to hope that each participant in this workshop has taken some of the sap generated by this intercourse with landscape into their blood and I am convinced that this confluence will be permanent for many.
I would especially like to mention Nurten Yüksel’s participation on this workshop. The events taking place during protests seeking to save trees in the ... park in Istanbul forged a marvellous conjunction with the aforementioned histories of landscapes and understandings of languages. A strong social subtext has remarkably patched itself into the understanding of historical layers of European landscapes. Workshop straddling two formerly permeable and warring states has also made it possible to understand the body in a new dimension. Nurten uses a wide expanse of tools in her oeuvre, from the new media to classical media and her body reacted scenically, and we may perhaps liken that intercourse to a tree. Her video recordings are divided by verticals in image series, evoking a forest. Her paintings inspired by hurled silhouettes of forms and her own imagination knit themselves into trees. The resulting installation is hard bound to a tree and viewers may experience the time of its origin and slow decline and disintegration. Sheaves of drawings on paper fall away with the wind like autumn leaves. Experiences of human soul become a part of the body and the body becomes a part of landscape. This is not romanticism of a dream for wilderness; it is a result of exploring one's own identity and identity of a place.