Monika. Museum of People in the performance "Ice". Gladbeck. 2005

When I mention to Pormale that she could still help organize the Quadrennial, she answers that, in a sense, she has already achieved this, too. A couple years ago, at a theater festival in Columbia, Pormale met a professional from Prague. Without any special reason, Pormale mentioned an interesting idea: that alongside the professional and student competitions, an exhibit could also feature artists whose daily work isn’t closely linked to the theater, but who work very spatially. All the artists would have the same rules of the game—the same allocated space. Pormale explains that an such a large, international exhibit, which takes place once every four years, a few countries have grandiose pavilion; they, of course, can be noticed more easily. That’s why her desire was to create a unified point of departure for everyone: a space of the same size. Up until now the tendency has been to direct works more toward the outside—to show, like shop windows—but this year the expositions will invite people inside.

Pormale will participate in this year’s Quadrennial with two works. The first has its own history. The idea comes from Alvis Hermanis’s New Riga Theater production of Ice, after the novel by Vladimir Sorokin. The performance could be seen in Frankfurt, Gladbeck, and Riga. The novel describes a strange sect of blonde people who are searching for people like them, in order to speak in the language of the heart. This gave rise to an idea to discover what it’s like to speak in the language of the heart. Pormale began to photograph people involved in the project, who hugged one another in various public places—two strangers listening to their own thoughts and heartbeats and those of the other, displaying a unique expression of tenderness. At the Prague Quadrennial, Pormale will search for volunteers who wish to take part in a project to create a display case with a living sculpture.

The second project is a meditation on the craftsmanship aspect of Pormale’s profession. “This era has made me master new forms of presentation. If a mockup or sketch used to be sufficient, then today new technology can visualize everything, even in 3D. That’s why craftsmanship skills are dying, because they are no longer necessary.” Pormale has a great reverence for craftsmanship skills, which are just as valuable as the idea itself. In the exhibition space allocated to her, Pormale will create a museum atmosphere. “On the wall there will be a painting in a golden frame, which depicts an old person’s wonderful hand, toughened by work. They are hands that, on a daily basis, build tiny pieces of furniture and sew red velvet curtains.” Visitors will be able to see this furniture, too, displayed alongside the hands at a scale of 1:20.