The art practice of Jana Kapelová (b. 1982, based in Bratislava) is often focused on the topics of work, personal fulfillment or alienation, on the functioning and relations in the art community as a specific kind of society. Her work has clearly defined purpose – to be a contribution to the positive change of society by personal emancipation.
The project "Nylon Relations" concerns the topic of the precarisation in the art and cultural field. It examines the state of economic and social insecurity and frustration which are the results of unstable and insufficiently payed work. Performed statements in the form of fictive dialogues name the connections which are well known but yet silently accepted or described with small degree of criticism and almost no effort to change the conditions. The statements are typical for the cultural field as well as for other spheres where the work is perceived more like a life mission rather than the way how to make a living.
"Jana Kapelová turned to her colleagues, the women among artists, art historians and curators, and asked them to write down and share their work experiences and describe their current work situation as it weighs on their private lives. These personal testimonies, with all their subjectivity and deformed through immediate perception, aren't motivated only by a need to disclose and publicize the unpleasant reality but also by the desire to express the general views of women working in culture. At first, it may seem as a pure complaining, unproductive fault-finding and passive pining at both suffered injustice and their own failures. Through a collective performance, though, she creates a space for awareness of the shared situation and self-reflection by comparison and by shared fellowship, i.e. the self-reflection that provides the emancipatory potential of becoming an active subject.
Performing the accounts compiled into fictitious dialogues highlights the relations that are generally known but are usually ignored. The only attention they draw yields only a weak critique and almost no endeavor to do something about them. One can usually find them in the culture but also in other areas where the work is motivated by self-fulfillment rather than by making a living. They stress the gender aspect of the problematic operation of the art world as a feminised area with its marginalization and pay inequality.
There is a similar paradox when we try to better the society but the unbearable conditions such as poorly paid or unpaid work, working on short-term projects and with uncertain funding are accepted as a natural and stable part of the system, i.e. the system that glamorizes and enforces individualism and competition at the expense of a positive social consensus." (Eliška Mazalanová)
2018 Conditions of Inability IV - Silent Interpretation, Kurzor Gallery, Prague, CZ
Art Is Work, Krokus Gallery, Bratislava, SK
2017 Nylon Relations, tranzitdisplay, Prague, CZ
2017 Collection Collective, tranzit.sk, Bratislava, SK
Nylon relations, Ciachovňa Arzenal, Žilina, SK