Joyful Lock

2021, site specific installation

Kotolna Gallery, Kosice, Slovakia

"The artist makes reference to the 1931 Franz Kafka short story The Burrow. Kafka’s story depicts an unspecified anthropomorphic animal as it feverishly builds its burrow - a labyrinth - to protect it from the outside world. The creature lives in constant fear of attack from its enemies, which leads it to compulsive attempts to make the burrow completely safe. While the creature wants to enlarge the burrow as much as possible so that it has many escape options, its inability to control all of the escape routes cause it even more anxiety. The creature’s supposed safe haven has become a prison built from its own fear.

According to the artist: “A parallel of the story can be found in the current pandemic situation, in which everyone has become a potential enemy - a carrier of disease. Remaining locking in at home brings a fleeting sense of security that is constantly disturbed by TV news from the outside world.”

The semantic reading of the features of the installation therefore operates on several levels. The installation consists of black wooden prisms which are randomly stacked in the middle of the room to create a kind of metaphor for a building. Nails no longer fulfil their original function as a structural element, but instead resemble sadomasochistic decoration and reflect the danger of entering the interior of the building. The video projection graphically fills the contrasts of space with its psychological effect of imprisonment. The installation also includes infrasound (19Hz), which affects the viewer’s on an emotional level and may cause a sense of uncertainty and restlessness. Balúnová has an authentic experience of the topic of “habitatis” through her stays abroad, where for a long time and in several countries she has researched and compared the relationship of city dwellers to urbanism, their homes and countries, and examined the contrast between the public and private environments. With this exhibition, she offers us a detailed examination into the novel situation and updates her artistic expressive possibilities."

Curator: Martin Kudla

Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council