Roman Štětina is one the most distinct artists of the incoming generation. In his work he sensitively interconnects his interest in sound and the spoken word, especially in the relationship to radio, sometimes TV broadcasting, and the strong visual aspect of the objects or situations connected with it, which he captures using video, installations, audiovisual interventions and other media. Štětina is the laureate of the ESSL Award from the year 2011 and the winner of the Jindřich Chalupecký Award in 2014.
One of the leading sources of inspiration for Štětina is the radio studio as an imaginary backstage, which remains hidden from the final recipients of the broadcasting. It is a sort of non-place, which disposes with completely original, period aesthetics. The first time the artist brought attention to it was in the exhibition Studio – Room, where carpets represent the air, which took place in 2011 in Gallery Jelení. The dramatic sounds installed in the front, otherwise empty room of the gallery, were alternated with the revealing of their origin in a video presented in the second part of the exhibition. The objects used to create ordinary sounds that are used in radio plays, such as going up stairs or a storm, became remarkable sculptures by revealing their physical “faces” and their sonic potential was gradually uncovered through a manipulation with the actor. Štětina further developed this motif in the project Studio No. 2 (Polanský Gallery, 2013), where he replaced the original sound of the clapperboard with a record of the sound of gunshots. Within the overall installation, a renovated panel absorbing sounds appeared here for the first time as a ready-made. Lifting objects relating to studio aesthetics and functionality from the original context and playing with their possible autonomy and shift of meaning in the gallery environment became Štětina’s supporting theme. He grasped it magnanimously also in the installation Auditorium (2014), where he reconstructed a monumental curtain that was, during 1965 – 1980, part of the interior of the so-called stereo-auditorium in the building of the Czech Radio in Pilsner.
In addition to the physical aspect of the objects that are in one way or another connected to sound, Štětina is interested in the language and message, in its media transmission and possibilities of its manipulation. Already in his relatively early works, the artist intervened television or radio broadcasting (for example, Nocturne, 2009 – 2010), he intervened film material found in order to create a fictive dialogue (Talking about Art, 2012) or, on the contrary, he enhanced the tension of the film by removing practically all spoken word (Murderer Hides his Face, 2010). In his most recent videos, Štětina stages personalities connected with the recording of the spoken word, from the technical aspect (Tongue-Twister, 2014) or rhetorical aspect (Lecture, 2014), to situations that give a theme to the relationship of the meaningfulness of a testimony and slips of the tongue, or mistakes.
Štětina’s occasional cooperation with other artists, who enrich his approach by other levels, represents an interesting aspect of his work. Together with Tomáš Moravec, the artist created a series of performances, actions and installations (i.e. If, 2010, Piercing Tires, 2010) that are connected by a boyish humorous exaggeration, as well as by artfulness and the desire to (physically) exceed their own possibilities. The collective project with Dominik Gajarský and Tomáš Hrůza called A Skeleton Is Coming to the Academy (2011), was carried out in a similar spirit. One could call it a playful institutional critique presented by a trio of young artists searching for a treasure in the garden of their alma mater using a metal detector, as well as for the oldest student works in the archive of the school, the “tracks” of which were introduced beside the large format contact photographs capturing views into the present look of the studios during an exhibition of the final school works.
Štětina’s work as a whole can be characterized by the relationship to archive materials that the artist updates and remoulds into mechanically distinct executions, which do not lack intelligent humour or inventive content. In connection with the media environment and the theme of sound that Štětina has practical relationship to as an active musician, and with respect to his work for the Czech Radio, his work has a distinctive form already while he is still studying.
49. Mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary
goEAST, 14. Festival filmů střední a východní Evropy, Wiesbaden, Německo
48. Mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary
ARTER, Istanbul, Turecko
STUDIO (TAKE 1), STEIM, Amsterdam
PAF: Video objects, Union Docs, Brooklyn, NYC, USA
Jan Lesák: Fenomén archivu ve vztahu k fotografickému médiu v kontextu současného umění
Tereza Jindrová: recenze výstavy STUDIO No. 2, Koncert pro oko a ucho (Artalk.cz)
Viktor Čech: Profiles - Roman Štětina, English Issue Flash Art CZ/SK 2013
Člověk by měl poslouchat především sám sebe (Protisedi.cz)
Karina Kottová: Studio - Místnost, kde koberce znamenají éter (Flash Art CZ & SK, No. 23/24, 2012)
Viktor Čech: Intruder (katalog k výstavě ateliéru Floriana Pumhösla)
Karel Císař: 6. Zlínský salon mladých, 2012
Radim Langer: Za meze interpretace (recenze výstavy Popis obrazu v galerii 207)
Jakub Stejskal: Estetický modernismus dnes, Dějiny umění v rozšířeném poli (Praha: VŠUP, 2011)
Monika Ticháčková: Šance pro začínající umělce, A2, 1/12
Michal Pěchouček: Things normally unheard, katalog ESSL ART AWARD 2011
Karina Kottová - Klukoviny Tomáše Moravce a Romana Štětiny (Artalk.cz)
Marika Kupková: TZ Mluv, abych tě viděl, galerie Kabinet TIC, Brno
Jiří Havlíček: TZ Studio No. 2, Polanský gallery
Rado Ištok: TZ Živé hodiny
Lumír Nykl: Studio - Místnost, kde koberce znamenají éter
Viktor Čech: TZ Povídání o umění
Nina Michlovská - TZ Studio, místnost, kde koberce znamenají éter
Rado Ištok - TZ Přijde kostra na Akádu
Dušan Zahoranský - TZ IF - (training in materials and tools)
Michal Pěchouček - TZ Někdo na Tebe myslí (CZ)