In collaboration with artists Ben McQuillan and Yumi Janairo Roth, we created this work while in residence at Galerie Klatovy-Klenova in the Czech Republic. This project is our attempt to translate a small town’s cultural landscape while trying to connect to the village of Klenova. We were interested in combining some of the visual language from the gallery and the sculpture grounds with the vernacular of the village, using patterns gleaned from the local architecture, painted on objects we found confounding to our American sensibilities. Unlike stationary objects in a sculpture garden or park, the modified structures (which we came to learn were the local firefighters’ practice equipment) will likely be moved and resituated to suit the various needs of the village.
From the gallery guide:
Minor Landmark/Opomíjená Pamětihodnost is our attempt to translate a small town landscape in the Czech Republic, while at the same time connect to the village of Klenová. At the center of the village, we found an apple orchard and a collection of objects that to our American sensibilities were confounding. This led us to consider several questions including how did the village use the objects, were the orchard and the green space a commons, and what were we allowed to do in that space. What was at first inscrutable to us was immediately recognizable to all Czechs; those objects belonged to the local firefighters, used for training and competition. Moreover, those objects and the surrounding space served many more purposes than their primary function. The wooden forms were play structures and props; the orchard provided apples for individuals to eat and the community to raise money.
As artists working with Galerie Klatovy-Klenová, we were given nearly free reign to develop work in and around the castle grounds. Curiously, the village seemed just beyond the gallery’s perimeter. The outdoor sculptures that punctuate the castle grounds are absent from village and despite the shadow that the castle casts, it seems that its art activities are somewhat separate from the day-to-day activities of the village. We were interested in combining some of the visual language from the gallery and the grounds with the vernacular of the village, using patterns and colors gleaned from the local architecture and painted on the firefighter obstacles. Unlike objects in a sculpture garden or park, the modified firefighter obstacles will likely be moved and resituated to suit the various needs of the village. In the process of developing Minor Landmark we met people from the village who graciously invited us into their homes, brought us beer and strudel while we worked, and let us join them in harvesting apples at the end of the season.