Meteo body painting


Meteo body painting, performance, 1991, brown-coal in Předlice


On my own body I smeared on a layer of special emulsion that had the characteristic of changing color and consistency when coming in contact with moisture. After that I descended into a deep pit and squatted down. Into my rectum I inserted a dowel, which served as a handle for controlling the paper kite that was hovering high over the earth where a powerful wind was blowing. Down in the pit I had not anticipated the effects of such a powerful wind blast on my body — its presence I was very intensively aware of through the pull of the kite. It was a lot of hard work for me to hold the dowel in my body, and after a while it caused me to break into a sweat. My body gradually began to form a red foam as the emulsion reacted to the sweat. (At that time I was very into the language of visual transformation connected to emotionality. I was exploring, for example, the influences of stress, euphoria, joy, etc. changes in the body in relation to what surrounds it. Most of all, the world of coral fish, cuttlefish and the octopus fascinated me).

  1. I prepared a mixture, which had a special property — its color reacted to moisture. To be specific, it was able to change color after a contact with water, from the skin color to red. To obtain this mixture I used “Šumák“. (A sherbet powder which starts effervescing intensively after being mixed with water. Before 1989 it was a popular soft drink.) Another component was “Duha” (Czech word for a rainbow, a textile powder color). I stirred both components in a gridding mortar, and after mixing them I obtained a powder of approximately skin color.
  2. Then I spread Nivea cream all over my body carefully, and on it I applied the above-described mixture.
  3. With help of on assistant we got a prepared paper kite in the air.
  4. I performed this action in the area of a coal mine by reason of suitable meteorological conditions – there is usually wind strong enough to fly a kite I got into a prepared pit under the ground to prevent feeling the mind on my body. I inserted the wooden string holder of the kite into my rectum.
  5. To hold the string pulled by the kite flying in the wind on its other side in my body, I had to strain muscles in my body with all my might. Due to this strain I started to perspire and the sweat made the mixture on my react. This reaction colored my body deep red.
  6. This way the surface of my body changed due to influences happening outside my body which I could not feel on my body directly. However, these actions were transformed into my body in another form and were expressed on the body surface through to inner processes. In simple words, we could say that outer atmospheric phenomena were expressed through my body reaction on the surface on my body.

Severočeský hnědouhelný revír (a mining company), surface coal mine in Chabařovice, 1991.




video documentation Meteo body painting (1991, 10 min). This event took place in the North Bohemian brown coal mine Předlice. We have not yet mentioned the Christian tradition, which Černický confuses into conceptual and encyclopaedic procedures. Perhaps this is related to his idea that the postmodern age needs heroes as much as the modern and pre-modern age. They may fail a little and be less perfect than the previous ones, but they still have to set, even utopian, goals. In this case, one cannot help but think of the iconographic representation of St. George and the dragon, where George is George, but the dragon here is his sidekick, who is more animal and thus more connected to the elements of nature. This red dragon is a kind of membrane, a sensor that transmits the action of the wind into George’s body, through a cord and a pin that the artist has inserted into his anus. His body is hidden from the weather in the pit and the transformation of the elements into the artist’s body is then visually emphasized by the red colour of his back. The substance applied to his back was gradually discoloured by the reaction of his body (which was sweating in an attempt to keep the stake in his ass) with a mixture of powdered soft drink of the brand Šumák and textile paint of the brand Duha, both very famous products of the socialist era. The real dragon, then, may be the giant excavator standing nearby. A red dragon like a grasping tentacle gropes the body of the cold machine and the whole situation captures the strange relationship between the naked man, the insecure hero in the devastated industrial landscape and the dinosaur technology. This strained relationship ends with the firecracker setting the dragonfly on fire, breaking the physical bond. What is interesting within all these metamorphoses is the sexual subtext of not only this work, which could also be related to transgender openness, although Cernicki was clearly not concerned with gender. Others may see in the work a commentary on the post-revolutionary struggle of environmentalists to stop mining in the area. This commentary, however, cannot be read explicitly and critically as a relationship of man versus technology, as the relationship of the performer to the excavator is filled more with curiosity, caution and a call for communication.