Matyáš Chochola: The Alchemist

12 Dec 2020 28 Feb 2021 Gossamer Fog

For his latest art project, Matyáš Chochola has become a druid–alchemist who sets out on a journey through space and time to temporarily set up his workshop in London’s Gossamer Fog Gallery and enable visitors to explore his healing potion hidden within an intoxicating perfume. The exhibition shows several atmospheric landscape installations accompanied by videos covering the story of potion making, the importance of potions, the birth of the druid and his pilgrimage. The spatial installation will include glass statues, healing magic formulas in a secret language made up by the artist for this project and the natural elements which are the source of the druid’s wisdom. Curated by Veronika Čechová.


Matyáš Chochola 
is a Czech performer and recipient of the Václav Chad Award (2012) and the Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2016. Chochola's multi-layered art is rooted in performance which blurs the lines between shamanic and ritual ceremony and produces artistic artifacts. These items are then utilized in unorthodox site-specific installations which often combine wild, powerful and animalistic qualities with the trash aesthetics of 1990s discos or spiritual ceremonies. He has exhibited in Berlin, Milan and at the prestigious Manifesta Biennial of Contemporary Art in Zurich, among other places.

Opening Saturday 12th of December 3 - 8pm
Exhibition continues 13th of December to 24th of January 2021

Covid-19 Restrictions  /  All visitors will be required to wear a mask and a limited amount of people will be allowed in the gallery at any time

Exhibition teaser

Curatorial text

Matyáš Chochola’s exhibition The Alchemist  thematizes the phenomenon of a return to an era previous to the intellectual age in which no small portion of western civilization currently participates en masse. Despite regular scientific progress increasing human knowledge of the world in which we find ourselves and of which we are a part, we can simultaneously see the blossoming of a number of alternative interpretations of reality and its principles of functioning. As if the magnification of the traditional Western rational approach, resulting in blind and careless misuse of the world around us, could only be reconciled by a dramatic turning back.

This speculative view of what is and what is not "real" is becoming more and more relevant as our lived reality becomes increasingly more distant from expectations of what a "great future" should be. It could be perceived as undiscerning, even naive, but provides comfort with its apparent simplicity found in references to nature and its elementary symbolism.

As a result, it is more of a sidestep into a parallel reality, in which the clearly reason-based laws of physics and humans do apply, yet simultaneously magic and unknown forces are at work, which reinforce the fate of the world in at least the same measure as human action, if not greater.

This imaginary escape from the passage of time manifests itself in various forms, with varying degrees of intensity. Some people occasionally consult a card reader or a fortune teller for support in decision making, while others cannot imagine their lives without regularly purifying their homes with the energy from crystals. Such practice of rituals and the belief in the influence of invisible and immeasurable energies also persists because it somehow does work, to a certain extent, at specific times.

In addition, to give over at least part of the responsibility for one's personal life and the collective direction of society "into the hands" of some higher power, whether it be unspecified forces, supernatural beings, or planets and stars, is certainly tempting.

Mythology is full of magical characters wielding supernatural powers which can influence the development of people’s lives and events. Matyáš Chochola has now enriched contemporary mythology with another legend. The story of a powerful shaman-alchemist is one possible answer to a call for help at a time when existing rational convictions are disintegrating, slowly but surely. In current circumstances, we would certainly welcome a mysterious character who has the gift of traveling across time and space and who offers assistance in difficult moments. This modern Celt, his body lent by the artist himself, has emerged from a rift in space and time which leads to a mythical world. In this temporary embodiment of an archetype, he is here to throw a line to his peers who are groping blindly. The mage's final reincarnation is attributed with a blend of the tools and knowledge of the urban environment and the primitive power of the elements and supernatural forces. Spells and magic potions are made with a unique integration of technology and magic.

Many have heard the legends of a mysterious mage who appears in various forms in times of need, offering advice, aid, or his magical skills to restore order. This is not the first time he has materialized out of thin air to use his physical incarnation and ancient occult teachings to guide the lost back to their path and to help those in need.

Veronika Čechová


Partners of the event

Information summary

  • Event title: Matyáš Chochola: The Alchemist
  • Date: 12 Dec 2020 28 Feb 2021
  • Venue: Gossamer Fog
  • Address: 186A Deptford High St, Deptford, London SE8 3PR, UK
  • Organizer: Gossamer Fog, Jindřich Chalupecký Society

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