"A House Freed from its Floors", Meetfactory, Prague, curated by Chiara Vecchiarelli, photo Michal Ureš, 2015
A forgotten tale haunts with its inversive dynamics the walls of the house that Zuzana Zabkova and Lucie Micikova have built for their joint exhibition at Kostka: it is the story of a man who had a reverse house, a house whose inside was behind its walls, located in a place where the whole world would be dwelling, the outside being, in turn, the man’s own dwelling. This man, of whom we ignore everything but this anecdote, had created for himself a place always capable of hosting not only all the space, but also, within itself, all the relationships and gestures of which that very space was made. If this man felt at home outside it was not necessarily because he was in the open, but rather because he had come to inhabit a region of the world akin to the one that among Persian mystics was known as “the land of no-where”, a land possessing an extension in space, yet exceeding the logic of locality as it was commonly understood. Unlike any other of the regions of the world, each of which corresponding to a sphere physically localisable, this land, indeed a space, was not to be found anywhere specifically: it was, instead, the “where” of all things, at all times. An inversive gesture escaping the logic of property, it unveiled a space that could only make the object of spiritual belonging. It is the exhibition space itself that is now susceptible to be redefined, as by the invisible fencing strokes of two sabers designing transparent pavilions made “of sumptuous shapes, light and airy, full of sweeping turns, floating domes, bridges, arches, and slender towers at each corner”. Quite like those strokes creating the net that is portrayed as the flight of a bumblebee in the novel Dictionary of the Khazars, the interventions by Zabkova and Micikova touch lightly on the space, so lightly that it is by just leaning on it that they reverse it, letting anyone who experience it find themselves, out of the blue, in outer space. In the novel, the sober held by Averkie Skila not only gives shape to an invisible structure; it also opens the slit that makes it possible for its holder to break free. Similarly, Zabkova and Micikova reverse any given space with their transient constellations of drawings, moving images, ephemeral paper stripes, invisible drafts and performative gestures all interwoven in materiality and therefore in meaning. As Gaston Bachelard reminds us in The Poetics of Space, a house is first of all a geometrical space, that it ceases to be as soon as it is inhabited, and dreamed about. Zabkova and Micikova take that object that a house initially is to the vaporous space of contracting and expanding things. Smoothly deformed under the pull of their practices, geometry is transcended as space relaxes. Feelings of cosmicity and co-belonging merge blissfully into one another, in the House Freed from its Floors where the very distinction between inside and outside becomes elastic, a full range of intertwined affective tonalities exuding from its fading walls.