The Ostrava exhibition points to two types of exceptional states of memory.
The first series concerns imagination focused on the future. The age-old idea of what the world will be like decades, centuries or even millennia into the future has led to moralizing about utopias or anti-utopias, science-fiction or apocalyptic visions, or passively ignoring the unknown future. With the mastery of an analyst and manager of the human imagination, Pepperstein enters into this uncertainty, designing spiritual, urbanistic, civilizational and anthropological phenomena at which the mind boggles – in stunned amazement at its own possibilities, affected by the unbridled force of hallucinatory thinking.
The second type of reflection on (collective) memory concerns Greek myths and their reinterpretation. Pepperstein does not alter the age-old content of these well-known subjects, but he gives them a new intensity linked with the mythology of suprematism, which signalled a crucial turning point in the history of modern art and thought. A canonical series of visual narratives comes into being, opening up an entire field of ideas and new semantic series, including figurative motifs contained in landscapes revealing the influence of Chinese culture.
Pepperstein does not see memory as a fixed reservoir, but neither does he believe in forgetting or the possibility of ignoring memory. His claim that “memory is over” refers to new ways of dealing with the past and the future which intervene in our thinking and perception through their psychedelic urgency.
Pavel Pepperstein (*1966) is an artist, writer, theoretician, film-maker and fashion designer. He studied in Prague in the 1980s. In 1987 he set up the late conceptual group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics. His projects examine cultural, historical and political issues in the broadest sense – for this purpose he makes use of various media and genres, and the legacy of science and culture (including Eastern spirituality). His main techniques are commentary, interpretation and illustration, and he frequently works with imagination based on hallucinations and altered states of consciousness.