Hunting for Authenticity

While working on the Luck Project, I have been trying to produce art as authentic as possible.  However, it is not always easy. My own art pieces are based on the real luck-bringing sculptures and personal amulets but a pure copying of the items didn’t seem to do justice to this concept, therefore I aim to make moulds of the real luck-objects in order to produce my pieces. This process, I believe, allows for maximum authenticity. Well, the small hitch in all this is the fact, that the “lucky sculptures” are usually in public spaces and are mostly regarded as heritage. As I do not wish to explain to any police officer that  the silicon compound I am using is harmless (I did enough research) and hardens within 5 minutes, I need to do my authenticity hunts in ungodly hours.

Due to these circumstances and the very limited time, the forms are not perfect but this fact, I believe,  adds on authenticity.

As a result of this process, I am also never short of exciting/stressful experiences and funny stories. Who can say that they have been making molds at 5 AM on the Charles Bridge in Prague, while the police car crosses slowly there and back and a mad photographer is frantically trying to capture a bizarre family portrait of two adults, two little girls dressed in ballet gowns and two husky dogs just in front of the sculpture I needed to use???  Or that they crossed the city of Barcelona at 5 AM, while the La Rambla buzzes with all the drunks and other questionable existences, only to find out, that the desired lucky sculpture is unexpectedly guarded by uncompromising security guard???

Do you hunt for Authenticity in your work? I would love to hear about it…

 

 

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Superstition & Art making

Today I came across this fabulous picture by Bobbie Dunn-Komarek from the Magic Monkey Media. This protective eye is watching over the firing process in the kiln of the International Ceramics Studios in Hungary. The studios bring over professionals from around the world to improve practice and do research. I find this little sign of superstition quite cute. It is yet another proof, that although we are firmly “down to Earth”, a little superstition still has place in our lives. I’m sure that the artists in the studios are experienced ceramicists but as soon as they hand their clay work over to the kiln, anything can happen, so a little watchful eye surely doesn’t hurt.

To find out more about Bobbie and her photographs, click here and the fabulous website of the ceramic studios is here. The place looks quite magical…

Do you have any rituals or amulets in your artistic practice? I would love to hear about them…

Bobbie Eye on kiln

Exporting Luck

Did you know that it is possible to export luck? Well, believe or not, the Czech cultural minister did just that. During the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, the Czech Republic exhibited LUCK – more precisely, the “provider” of luck, the relief of St. John of Nepomuk. It is one of the most famous sculptures in Europe for bringing luck or granting wishes when touched. The exported relief is normally a permanent part of a bigger sculptural complex on the Charles Bridge in Prague. For the duration of the Expo, was it simply detached and replaced with a copy. According to the Czech press, was the Expo exhibit a success, visited and touched by thousands of visitors.

The moment when the relief has been taken off…

Sundavani nepomuka

Funny enough, not even this relief is the original! The one made by Jan Brokof (1683)  is actually safely stored in the museum of Charles Bridge. If you go to see it, you will notice, that the little head of the poor Nepomuk is not as smoothed as the one that currently resides on the bridge.

Can you guess which of these spent more time on the bridge?

Do you believe that these public “luck bringers” work even if they are removed from their original location? It is usually the power of the legend that makes people believe (even halfheartedly), that it might work. But the legends are usually connected with the place as a well as with the object. At least the one about St. John of Nepomuk is. It has been said, that the poor John – the confessor of the queen Zofie – was punished for his refusal to reveal the contents of the queen’s confessions to the King Wenceslas IV.  For his insolence, he was thrown into the river from the Charles Bridge. The legend has it, that the actual spot on the bridge has been marked with a double cross in the bridge side. The historical truth lies somewhere else. It is more likely that John’s unclear dealings between two enemies (the king and the bishop) brought him eventually the highest punishment.

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In theory, if the potentially innocent confessor John really has the powers to bring luck, we should only touch the cross in the  side of the bridge, right? We used to touch it (more than 20 years ago). Back then, there was no “floating” John relief above it, nor was  there the legend about touching the relief on the big Nepomuk sculpture. But that is something, what the Czech cultural minister did not bother investigating.

IMG_3868

So, is it possible to export Luck???  What do you think?