June - PhMuseum

June

Tereza Červeňová

2016 - Ongoing

June is a body of work, which unfolded as an autobiographical response to the EU referendum. Since then it grew to become an all-encompassing chronicle through which the photographs emerge as not only a record of daily events, but also a timeline of significant dates that will, or have already become, marker points in history. Taken in various locations across Britain and Europe, each image is titled simply by the location and date in which it is made, the significance of which becomes apparent when read on mass.

When I started working on June I was first looking for symbols. It started as an impulse to respond and make sense of the deeply upsetting and precarious situation. I knew that the vote would leave an indelible mark on my practice due to the diaristic nature of my work. And whilst going through the process I recognized the essence of my artistic imprint, which lies in my desire to not divide between aspects of my personal life, artistic practice and commissioned work. They all permeate and inform each other. So in fact, in the year that so many things ruptured, embracing entirety became a gesture of resistance.

Then, in March 2018, there was the biggest public outcry in my native Slovakia since the fall of communism in 1989. After a murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancé, public occupied the streets, protesting week after week against the unjust and indecent actions of our government threatening one of the main pillars of democracy – the freedom of speech. The events of that spring made me realize that the work is not only about Brexit as such; it is about the shifts in Europe and about what Europe means to me.

I realized that Europe as an entity isn’t just an idea. It is a heritage. At the time of writing this, and despite the erosion of the now almost three years, it is also still my day-to-day ground. So the loss at stake now is for me constituted in a loss of certainty and stability of the reality I took for granted. Through my work I still attempt to bring back a semblance of stability and to give myself some answers, which are not coming from the people at power. The foundations that I created through June help me to bypass restrictions of any given style, genre, or aesthetics. It is a flow.

The core of the work became an artist book, in which the work has been translated into booklets (each representing one month) collated together with an opening ring – a metaphor for the easily breakable union, where the beginning and the end can be easily manipulated and the linearity of historical events shifted. Each and every booklet / month have their own message and strength, theme and place, but when viewed together they give away the whole story.

Even though the photographs often capture intimate and private moments, the work becomes a vessel for communicating larger ideas and messages. June is a clear evidence of that, where the personal is inseparable from the social and the political. It became an organic and natural way for me to express the fact that the work is still evolving and growing, taking turns and unexpected shifts, just like the reality of what it comment on does.

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  • Borough Market, London;
    8th June 2017

    (The day of UK’s SNAP elections, 5 days after the terror attacks at Borough Market and London Bridge.)

  • Dutch coast, The Netherlands;
    15th March 2017
    ...
    (The day of Europe’s first post-Brexit elections, in which far-right candidate Wilders fared worse than expected.)

  • Tomky, Borský Svätý Jur, Slovakia;
    August 2016

  • St James’s Park, London;
    2nd July 2016
    ...
    (The date of London’s first big anti-Brexit march.)

  • Hammersmith, London;
    July 2017

  • Helsinki, Finland;
    early December 2017

  • Big Ben, London;
    February 2019

  • Latimer Road, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London;
    14th June 2017

    (The day of the Grenfell Tower fire.)

    (An overexposed negative as a result of a mistake done in pannick and moral struggle, when after a day spent volunteering at the site, I dared to take a photograph of the tower, but instead of opening the curtain between the film and the lens of my rangefinder, I opened the back of the camera by mistake and burnt the negative.)

  • The United Kingdom, Europe;
    23rd June 2016
    ...
    (The day of UK’s referendum on EU membership.)

  • Brixton, London;
    early December 2016

  • Square of Slovak National Uprising, Bratislava, Slovakia;
    16th March 2018

    (The day of the biggest public demonstration in Slovakia since the Velvet Revolution of 1989.)

  • Shadwell, London;
    27th January 2017
    ...
    (The day President Trump signed and legalised his “Muslim ban”.)

  • Hyde Park, London;
    February 2018

  • Crossbones Garden, London;
    8th June 2017

    (The day of UK’s SNAP elections, 5 days after the terror attacks at Borough Market and London Bridge.)

  • Bratislava, Slovakia; late December 2017

  • Berlin Wall, East Germany;
    11th November 2018

    (The centenary of the World War One Armistice.)

  • White Cliffs of Dover, Kent;
    July 2017

  • Queen Elizabeth Gate, Hyde Park Corner, London;
    20th October 2018

    (The date of the vast ‘People’s March’ in which 700 000 people demanded a vote on the final Brexit deal.)

  • Palace of Westminster, London;
    11th December 2018

    (The day when the PM Theresa May, facing a definite defeat, cancelled the first sheduled meaningful vote on her deal.)

  • Brighton Beach, Sussex;
    September 2018


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