Tuesday 30 August 2011

From Morning Till Night

New commission by Kateřina Šedá

Saturday 3 September 2011, 06.15-19.44 - in and around Tate Modern.

For this new work commissioned by Tate Modern, the artist Kateřina Šedá has invited eighty residents of all ages from Bedřichovice, a small village in Czech Republic, to perform a one-day action in London.

From Morning Till Night takes inspiration from a text by Šedá describing the daily lives of Bedřichovice's inhabitants, who leave the village at sunrise for work and return at sunset. This routine limits their social encounters and residents meet only when they bump into one another accidentally. Her wish to bring the village, Bedřichovice, to the city, London is to do with enabling such 'accidental' meetings in an unfamiliar context, and so highlighting them. By displacing Bedřichovice, socially and physically, the artist aims to enable the residents to see each other in a new way, and to explore the conventions and behaviour that unifies and divides them. In so doing, she creates a real exchange between both places, collaborating with communities around public spaces in London such as churches, libraries and local businesses.

The eighty volunteers from Bedřichovice become participants of a game, created and orchestrated by Šedá, for one day: from sunrise to sunset. The rules are simple. The volunteers must be available on Saturday 3 September, hold a valid passport to fly to London, and be willing to perform publicly a series of daily activities within a designated area. The zone chosen by the artist extends from Tate Modern to St Paul's Cathedral with the church of St Benet at the centre. The village's borders have been literally mapped upon the capital. London hosts Bedřichovice for a day.

An additional eighty UK-based professional and amateur artists have been invited to assist Šedá in representing theses imaginary borders. Each of them positioned at the outskirts of the 'new' locality, draws and paints a specific angle of Bedřichovice while facing the urban landscape of London. The borders miraculously appear throughout the day and Bedřichovice finally unfolds itself to the public.

In discussion with the artist the villagers have collectively decided upon activities to perform together in London. The suggestions are varied and some unexpected. They plan to present their choir, play Football-Tennis, clean windows and sweep pathways, greet all passers-by in Czech, organise a barbecue, go to the church, bake traditional cakes and organise children's games. Kateřina Šedá has produced a situation in which the villagers are now free to inhabit as they see fit. Together they will create new encounters and forms of togetherness which cannot be predicted by the artist, and which will - in turn - affect the locality in which they are performed in London.

The materials Kateřina Šedá chooses echo her past projects: a community; a group of volunteers; the Czech Republic and a set of activities. She once again works with the individual and the local, neighbours and families, to stage a choreographic mass-action. Šedá invents a framework and a set of tasks to create a collective experience and to question ideas of community, with humour and lightness.

The performance presented on Saturday 3 September is only a partial illustration of the project as a whole. The process leading up to the mass-action is an equally important component of the artist's practice. As with previous works, her method includes investigation, discussions with each resident; letters and posters to communicate within the village and staging meetings and workshops, in order to convince a group of people, previously unknow to her, to believe and take part in a seemingly absurd idea. The everyday activities presented by the villagers are unavoidably altered, acquiring a new meaning when performed outside of Bedřichovice. The success of such a social experiment is measured in the long lasting, but subtle effects upon all who take part in it and us who witness it.


Kateřina Šedá was born in 1977 in Brno, Czech Republic. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and the School of Applied Arts in Brno. She has had recent solo-shows at Cubitt Gallery, London, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen and Millennium Gallery, Sheffield. She also exhibited widely in several group exhibitions in 2011, including this year's Venice Biennale, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels and Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin.

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