Here's a draft version, from our conversation earlier.
Apex Art Franchise Program Proposal
Pradelna Bohnice is a contemporary project space located 5 km north of Prague's city center. Set on the grounds of a psychiatric ward, it was previously a laundry facility for the hospital’s linens as its name implies (Pradelna means Laundromat). Only female patients worked there under the intense and often strict supervision of male Physicians. Immediately one feels and can imagine the working conditions for hundreds if not thousands of women who washed the laundry from 1909 to 1993, and the mechanized way the Institution concealed the hierarchy between female patients and male Doctors. The past is very much present.
Since the collapse of Communism in the Czech Republic, however, its misogynistic associations have begun to fade. With the influx of new political systems, more moderate attitudes towards women have been able to form, but what happens with the memories of such a loaded location? How does one reconcile with an inherited past of silence and domination? How can art be a tool for systemic transformation in a place that denied women the opportunity for change for so long?
Even though currently the space houses a gallery, bars still line all the windows. The sites and smells that linger in the Institution are still palpable. The interior of the building is still poorly lit, and feels cold and grey. Holes and missing tiles are everywhere, as well as randomly placed slabs of cement where machines and tables were arranged. The central entrance has very high ceilings which somewhat dwarf the visitor but is similar to an entrance of a chapel. Sound echoes up, especially high heeled shoes on tile. This tiling continues half-way up the walls; presumably there must have been gallons of water pouring in and out of this space at one point.
Gender inequality and the silencing of women’s voices is unfortunately an ongoing global issue. Our work addresses the pressing need for women’s stories to be told by women themselves, and advocates for a positive re-claiming of communal female history. What better way to begin than at such a loaded location? Tereza, perhaps here is where you mention that you are actually from Prague…?If not, it could be read as a bit colonial...?
Our work speaks to this compounded issue without using a bullhorn. We’re not burning our bras or proposing to paint with our used tampons. The planned installation quietly creates subtle spaces for catharsis. We intervene on the materials of a laundry mat, such as carving portraits of the women inmates on hundreds of bars of soap, and embroidering inner criticisms on hundreds of flat white sheets hung from laundry lines, as a way to process the inequities of the past and at the same time publicly open a space for intense emotional experiences. Conversations will become social sculptures; Story telling will be a shared exchange. Nothing will be for sale.
Cleanse description here?
Airing Dirty Laundry description here.
Closing paragraph or sentence here.