The many faces of a city

Kateřina Šedá : Líšeň Profile @ Sheffield Millenium Gallery

Kateřina Šedá: Líšeň Profile, 2010 - work in progress. Photo © Michal Hladik

What is identity? What is the “true” face of a city?

Your guess is as good as mine, but the latest exhibition by Kateřina Šedá, called Líšeň Profile, takes a stab at this question.

The premise? Get people to go to the city centre in Stará Líšeň and look at the horizon, with an emphasis on the church tower. This horizon must be done as a facsimile, whether drawn or with bits of and sticks. Then walk around and find a native from Stará Líšeň whose profile sort of matches the horizon of the city centre.

The profile of the person is drawn in a piece of paper. This profile doesn’t have to be a perfect drawing, but an horizon is expected to be seen when turned 90 degrees horizontally.

So, yes, basically, the exhibit (or installation, if we want to indulge in art argot) is a collection of 500 drawings from people, with style wildly changing from a simple profile drawing to pointillism to something that looked like bits of moss growing in a rock.

Like her exhibit in last year’s Art Sheffield 2010 – Life: A User’s Manual exhibition, Lisen Profile is again a collaborative effort done in a community. And again, it seems Kateřina Šedá’s focus is more about community than anything else, with the twist being how an outsider perceives said community, instead of asking for a self-assessment.

To be honest, the exhibition is a hard sell. You won’t spend more than 20 minutes and some of the drawings are a little too basic, but if you give it a bit of extra time and let your imagination run wild, you’ll see some very strange shapes (I swear I saw Daredevil and Butthead). Maybe, in the end, this work is more about perception, and, hopefully, getting more people to pick up a pencil and let loose in empty sketch pads.

The exhibition runs until May 30. Entrance to the Millenium Gallery is free but donations are accepted at the boxes inside.


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Words: Sam

Photos: © Michal Hladik

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