The Secret Garden

year:           2023
place:          Entrance gallery
curator:        Veronika Čechová

The group show The Secret Garden is the first exhibition in the new space of Entrance gallery in Prague. The former space of the gallery was located in the orangery of the Brevnov monastery.Because of the increasement of the rent, the gallery needed to find a new space.

The exhibited projects of three women artists and one artist thematize from different positions the paradoxical perception and definition of the garden. Although it is often depicted in artistic practice as a place of fantasy and unexpected or even magical experiences, it is primarily the result of an effort to create an area of a kind of controlled nature, which in its final form would not have arisen and would not exist without the initiating intervention of man. The concept of garden already in its definition implies a kind of closure, limitation. But at the same time, due to its organic nature, it can never be considered complete, because the processes of growth, dying and decay are constantly taking place in it.
The initial inspiration and name for the exhibition comes from the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who in 1911 published a story about a secret garden hiding much more than just beautiful fragrant flowers. In the book Secret Garden becomes a place where an abandoned and bittergirl discovers friendship and gradually, the joy of life. The artworks of the exhibition work with the different experiences and stories of garden and similar human-controlled natural environments.

The site-specific intervention of architect and artist Savka Marenić elevates the empty storage rooms of the former store into a new gallery space.The intervention is based on the audio story- fairytale “Mystery of Ms. Warden”. After the city raised her rent, Ms. Warden had to give up the store. She could not afford the rent increase. Ms.Warden needed to find a new home, but financially it was not easy for her. She decided to squatt in the overhead storage space that served as warehouse. An audio story located in her green room in the ceilings of the gallery space tells story of Ms.Warden’s difficulties in leaving already established home and way of life, but leads to a good ending, helped by a newfound love of gardening and caring for plants. After some time, she found new job and passion in a gardening firm. The fragments of her new life are scattered throughout the whole gallery in the form of sewed plants and seeds, turning the space into a garden. 

photos   ©Martin Bražina