20 May 2006 at 05:08 a.m.
The happening that opened the 1st station of Kristek Thaya Glyptotheque at the source of the Moravian Thaya near the village of Panenská Rozsíčka was held at sunrise, just after five in the morning, which was quite unusual for the artist, who loves the atmosphere of the night. But Kristek sees the source as the start and the primal font, so the happening had to take place at the moment when the first rays of the sun broke through the depths of the night. A procession consisting of hundreds of spectators set forth on a narrow path to the source, and the red morning light illuminated the entire scene.
In addition to the spectators, Messengers arrived from all sides – figures in long robes of various colours, with crowns made of stripped willow wands and wearing masks with crooked beaks. Their costume was faintly reminiscent of a plague doctor. The Messengers from the happening possibly bring a medicine, and possibly are protecting themselves from the infection of the world around them. Kristek appeared in a hat with fruit and clothed in a long white train borne by two children with flaming torches. In the same way that the spring is the germ of the great current of the river and the start of the flow, the torch is the flame anticipating the purifying fire.
The veiled spring gave birth to a baby, which Kristek took into his arms and christened Thaya. The Messengers took off their masks and laid gifts at the spring, in the magical place on the wimple of a hunchbacked old woman. Then from the gloom emerged a large white horse, which carried the newly born and christened girl Thaya downstream along the river. The horse is a significant symbol in Kristek’s work. It is the bearer of dynamism and changes, and it often moves the action forwards. In the picture All-sided High Tension (1975–1976), horses get the static events moving, they blow away the cobwebs deposited on the hourglass – a depiction of time that has come to a stand still. It was similar in the happening, when the morning horse Valmont sets the flow of events in motion, links the 1st station with the following one, and bears the newborn Thaya off to meet her fate. The white horse symbolises the connection to the deepest instinctive sources.
Then Kristek underwent changes. In the dance, he turned into a jester accompanied by live music - as if the jester from the picture Cemetery Sleeping Beauty (2009) standing behind the bars in a landscape full of crosses had come to life. But in the happening, the jester freed himself and turned into a bird. Only the bird form allowed him, with the assistance of the Messengers, to unveil the first sculpture from the cycle Kristek Thaya Glyptotheque, called Birth. A blue-white apple tree with two apples growing from the source of the Moravian Thaya. Fairies with floral headbands passed amongst the spectators, linked them together with a cord and wove them into a common net. The sun rose from behind the horizon. The opening of the pilgrims’ way had commenced.
The happening had many forms, to a significant extent depending on the perception of the spectator. The mystical Messengers were the true representatives of the individual stations of the Glyptotheque, mainly mayors, who brought true christening gifts for this joint work (flowers, wine, a commemorative seal, etc.). The parents of the baby expressed the wish that Kristek should christen the girl. So the artist christened her symbolically with the event and "blessed" the child, along with the source of the Thaya. The happening fluctuated between theatre and a ritual of transition. On this day, a new function was determined for the place – the start of a tri-national pilgrims’ way. Further happening openings followed, always on a weekly basis.
Video: happening at the 1st station of the Glyptotheque
Text: Iveta K. Pavlovičová
Iveta K. Pavlovičová (born 1974) is a Czech theatre studies specialist and director of the Research Institute for Communication in Arts in Brno.
She has long been engaged in the postmodern theatre and its sources. She is the author of scientific-research projects supported by the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Fund for Development of Universities, Czech Literary Fund and the European Union (European Fund for Regional Development), as well as theatre projects supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Czech-German Fund for the Future. She participated in the 3rd and 4th International Symposium of Theatre Anthropology at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing arts Brno (JAMU), where she lectured in the years 2003–2004. She also gave a lecture at the Masaryk University Institute of Anthropology in Brno. Since 2009, she has worked on the forming of an exhibition programme at the Baroque Palace of Riegersburg.
She published the article Modely v nás a možnost jejich změny (Our Inner Models and the Possibility to Change Them) in the magazine Vesmír (2/2005) and a teaching video programme for high schools. She is the author of the textbook Tělo, znak a rytmus (Body, Sign and Rhythm) for JAMU and the book Divadlo Neslyšících a nové cesty (Theatre of the Deaf and the New Ways, 2002) that was published as part of a publication project supported by the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.