The library and reading room in PLATO as a work of art by the visual artist Jan Šerých to improve concentration on reading and stimulate active dialogue of the reader with the space.
An exceptional offer of art publications, magazines and various materials on contemporary art and its context is available to the public (borrowing usually for the reading room only). You will find 10,000 books purchased by the gallery or acquired as a gift from a private library and the Library of the City of Ostrava which provided a set of art books to PLATO.
The subject of Mutual Investigations is the book, information and knowledge as an infinite and forever changing universe, when individual texts unexpectedly merge in an inspirational way and create more and more additional meanings and interpretations.
“The library is one of the crucial institutions preserving and disseminating knowledge, mostly in the form of texts and related storage media. It is always a unique dataset whose extent and content is influenced by a number of factors. In addition, the methods of its sorting and use are not determined a priori, but depend on the situation. The library therefore both stores and, at the same time, creates – relationships between texts, books, images, themes and users. The library is a performative and open system, regardless of how rigid and practical its outward impression may seem.
In collaboration with the artist Jan Šerých we are creating an environment as a nostalgic sigh for the time when a library was proof of the intellectual and social status of its owner. When the system of arrangement of the individual volumes without attributes for quick and precise retrieval of a particular work was just about to be created. When the library was a pulsating universe of desire, a garden of intellectual pleasure, a mirror and precondition of the birth of the subject.
The project is also a slightly ironic analogue variation on the digital world, where the algorithms fulfil our wishes before we are able to pronounce them (or type them into the browser). At the same time, by being incomplete it provides room for an alternative solution which could not be reached otherwise.”
Jan Šerých (1972, Prague, CZ), a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague; in the 1990s a member of the Headless Horseman group of artists. His output is characterised by minimal form and working with the language of geometry, sign systems and codes, which often hide processed emotional experience. His work is a mix of the “high” and the “low”; pure aesthetic of reduced forms with the sphere of pop culture and mass media; scepticism against the possibilities and significance of a work of art, exploring the limits of language or different ways of sorting information with purely subjective impulses. He lives and works in Prague.