The Steam, The Eye and The Island 

Kateřina Konvalinová, Matej Pavlík, Piotr Sikora

20/10/2019 18:30

Mântuleasa 4, Bucharest, Romania

Drowning, flooding, sinking and dissolving in water. This is going to be about one very specific island – Ada Kaleh – seen by a watery eye (after all eye is nothing by pressurized water). We are going to trace its history, analyze the context, and mourn over its end – inevitable just like the Great Flood. The direct reason for talking about Ada Kaleh is publication released last year in Prague by a group of artists: Lucie Rosenfeldová, Matěj Pavlík, Jiří Žák, and last but not least Pavel Sterec. We took a trip along the Danube River – to the place where the island used to be located – and paid a visit to Băile Herculane to infiltrate yet another physical state of water: vapor. The steam blurring our perspective on the island will be a trigger to open conversation on Ada Kaleh without the conviction that water is this unbiased crystal clear lens through which we observe the world.


but water has other logics



18:30 Doors open

19:00 Introduction 

19:15 The story of the Island: Ada Kaleh 

19:30 Stay hydrated: tasting of transparent liquids: water, mineral water, liquid acid, vodka

19:45 The story of the steam: materials from Băile Herculane

20:00 Pouring motion pictures 

21:00 Open discussion 


Ada Kaleh 

Since the late 17th century, Ada Kaleh was inhabited mainly by Ottoman Turks after they captured the local Hapsburg fortress. At the time the treaties were signed after the Russo-Turkish war, the island was forgotten and thus it remained a de iure Ottoman territory. In 1970, the island was flooded by the Danube during the construction of the Iron Gate Hydroelectric Plant and dam. The Romanian government decided to provide a replacement in the form of a copy of the island town built on the unsubmerged Simian Island, located a few dozen kilometers away. However, Ada Kaleh’s residents refused to live in the quickly built, unsuccessful replica. This led to the recreated town falling into ruin, and the area is now vigilantly guarded as it lies on the EU’s external border. Today, the residents of the new town are mainly birds living amongst the self-seeded trees, whilst the original island of Ada Kaleh is a haven for fish.


Kateřina Konvalinová

Kateřina Konvalinová (b. 1991) is a student of the Academy of Fine Arts, studio of Intermedia. Her recent works were related to the theme of Love. Love is understood on the one hand as an empty term: as there is no widely accepted definition, this creates a situation when it is quite ease to abuse love’s vague positive connotation. On the other hand, through a certain re-definition, Love is also understood as a transformative force and also as a way of politics in opposition to nowadays politics of power. In her latest work she explores the previous, and taking the motif of ego dissolution as a way of collective treatment for today’s psychosis of our society with the inspiration of contemporary research in the field of psychedelics (psilocybin) assisted therapy and psycho-spiritual crisis. Kateřina works primarily with video and performative forms.

Matej Pavlík

Matej Pavlík (b. 1991) most frequently works with photography and video. Currently he tends to address the form of short experimental documentary.  The artist sees documentation itself as a search for poetic symbols in reality together with identification, that symbolically could be violent. Similarly he used the apophenia as a method of documenting for his short film Masking Captivity. While within the film relations and images could be questioned since their meaning refers to apophenia as a symptom of paranoia or schizophrenia, the artist sees apophenia rather as some “ability” to organize happening beyond ourselves. Matej Pavlík’s work dwells within artistic and curatorial practice. Together with visual artist Lucie Rosenfeldová, he prepares a series of exhibitions for gallery Etc. in Prague, which carries an umbrella theme “The Right to an Image and Visibility of Protest Movements.”

Piotr Sikora

Piotr Sikora (b. 1986) studied Art History at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Critic and curator. Member of the Polish Section of AICA. Curator of “The Czech Pope” and “Slav Squatting and Its Discontents” exhibitions at MeetFactory where he works as an artist-in-residence program curator. Lecturer at Anglo-American University in Prague. Ardent player of bike polo. He lives and works in Prague.