14 August 2010

Masopust, a short film by Tereza Buskova

My exposure to art tends to be infrequent, intense and a little idiosyncratic, which is just how I like it. Tereza Buskova's new film, Masopust, meets the bill.

The location

The small private viewing was held on the top floor of a mixed office block in Wardour Street (never found out why).

Here Soho maintains a low profile thanks to entrenched and enlightened property laws and so the not-too-distant Centre Point stands out defiantly and proudly above the clutter of chimney pots and roof gardens.

This is a world unseen and unimagined by the workers and tourists thronging the narrow streets of Soho below in search of pleasures that the area is famous for - and in this modern world I mean the many pubs and restaurants, not the establishments light in red!

The artist

I first met Tereza (she tells) me back in 2005 when as a student she briefly occupied a small gallery in Wandsworth. I heard this through my Czechoslovak connections and as Wandsworth was more or less on my way home I popped in and a few wines later I bought a picture that now sits in my front room prominently above the telly.

Since then I have been to a few more of her exhibitions in various galleries across London. She has grown in stature as an artist and has been promoted by the likes of the Czech Centre.

Tereza has also got married and is now healthily pregnant.

The art

The film is inspired by a traditional ritual performed each Winter in a small village in Moravia.

As you might expect, this involves colourful costumes (like the flowered hats the men wear), dancing and references to marriage / fertility / sex.

Colour, hats and sex are also themes common in Tereza's work.

The film records Tereza's version of the ritual being performed by people from the village with two of her regular models, both of whom were at the screening.

The ritual itself made little sense to me, not being Czech or Moravian did not help here, and on a technical level (use of camera angles etc.) the film is pretty simplistic but that is not what it is about for me. I loved the colourful shapes that Tereza made, nicely offset by the snow white background.

The event

As a tableau of separate images I found the film captivating and enthralling and I hope that I did a reasonable job of trying to explain why in the post screening discussion that followed where I was battling amongst people a lot more arty than me.

After the talk there was a second equally captivating showing followed by more talk eased by wine. I was able to exchange pleasantries with Tereza's mum, some other lovers of Glydebourne and with Martin who I met back at the first showing in Wandsworth.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening in ways that I expected and in ways that I did not. That's why I like living in London and being invited to these sort of events!

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