2018, A Guiding Dog for a Blind Dog, group show at Futura Center for Contemporary Art in Prague, curated by Lukáš Hofmann, flour, water, yeast, copper wire
They were born out of bread dough and the fear of loss of basic human values. They come in peace and bring a message by an ancient tribe – a tribe that valued sincerity, gratitude, humanity and respect for nature, the soil and their ancestors; a tribe that had its own goddess, alphabet and art; tribe that we can call the bread tribe. We have been visited by emissaries of modest visage, smelling of home, messengers with urgent tidings and warm smiles. They reveal that they were baked with a hot air gun instead of in an oven. Their liturgical purple eyes blink provocatively. Once they speak, will they have the voice of a preacher or an ironic clown?
The secret of the emissaries lies in the material. For the fictitious tribe and its creator Veronika Čermáková, bread embodies the warmth of home, the modest simplicity and eternity of tradition, a value seemingly lacking in today’s society. It is bread that awakens ancient memories of a better past with its taste. But it is bread which, from the outset, reveals fiction, lightens the moralistic tone and breaks down the construction of historical narrative that shrouds works such as We Come in Peace and Archaeological Findings.
Using bread as the material, Veronika breathes the lightness of humour, artistic honesty and hidden symbolic meanings in to the work. Through the mouths of her bread emissaries, she tells a story of nostalgia and pessimistic view of the present that are inherent to the nature of man, as is his love for homemade bread. The artist creates a cult with herself in the centre – holding a bread in her hand.
text by Kristýna Péčová
This morning it was either a group of liquindi
water-drummers or a PR-
drone advertising graph
paper that woke me up from a dream of you
flash of white,
of leash leading me
through darkness to more resonant darknesses.
smell of dough and moist heat, so I go
downstairs to see The Baker. She makes
all the loaves and raspberry pies we eat in
the camp, four meals
a day, so her life is a series
of yeast-based time cycles.
She sleeps in the kitchen,
stacks of VHS cassettes on
Rumi and Sufi mysticism
next to the barrels of flour,
dried currants (she used to
practice dervish dancing).
She once told me that her
breads are inscriptions, or
that they possess their own
alphabet and writing sys-
tem. People either say she’s
writing an autobiography in starch, or that her
loaves worship her as a deity (hands kneading
more dough all the while, sculpting, styling).
I think both, probably.
However, when I passed the row of ficuses
to get to the kitchen, the ovens were off
and The Baker was gone (note on the stain-
“Chained myself to a fracking drill, back later xo”.
I don’t have my phone
on me so I don’t know
what time it is,
or where I suddenly am,
and I’m no longer
hungry, and night
starts swimming in the vision as my ears ring.
text by Nat Marcus