8 Angel Mews
GB-N1 9HH London
artist / participant
Cubitt Gallery presents That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles, the fourth step of an ongoing project by Czech artist Kateřina Šedá.
In 2006 a Hyundai factory was built in fields at the centre of Nošovice in the Czech Republic. Socially and geographically it has divided the town. Roads that once led through the fields now stop abruptly in dead ends around the factory. A short walk to a neighbour’s house takes four times as long around its circular perimeter. Šedá describes the people of Nošovice as ‘caught going round in a circle’ and the greatest problem is that they are resigned to that fact.
Three years ago Šedá set out to re-connect the townspeople through the very thing that has divided them: the inaccessible blind spot in the centre. Firstly, she asked them to imagine standing within the factory and draw everything in a 360-degree circle around them, literally standing within skirt-like circular canvases. These were turned into embroidered tablecloths (with holes in the middle) and placed on tables, as objects that ‘bring people together’.
Šedá often asks people to draw their surroundings in order to look at them differently. She directs actions in which a social or physical barrier – for instance a simple garden fence – is turned into something that connects rather than divides people. In post-communist Czech Republic, Šedá says ‘someone’s always fencing something off and everyone else has to go round it’.
In other projects, once the action is completed Šedá moves on. Nošovice is different. The divide is so visible and concrete that the search for a solution has become a longer, more complex process. The first attempt, rather than solving anything, revealed the problem more clearly. From there she asked the townspeople to draw what they thought should be in the centre on plates and other circular objects. Many drew water, which led Šedá to involve inhabitants of Sicily to imagine Nošovice as an island surrounded by sea. One attempt has led to another. That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles at Cubitt shows the progression of steps so far, including the most recent, fourth attempt.
Over time Šedá imagines another centre of production slowly forming around the Hyundai factory, one where new, hybrid, handmade objects by and for the people of the town are created. The project could continue for 40 years or until the factory has shut down, leaving an empty shell behind. According to Šedá, nobody – including her – is ready for a solution yet.
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles
Kuratorin: Fiona Parry