After the Magician

by: Lea Petříková

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2020, single-channel video, 18’18’’, color, sound

Lea Petříková’s work After the Magician (2020) draws on the film Le Magicien (1947) by the French writer and surrealist artist Alice Rahon (1904–1987). The film tells the story of a magician who tries to create a new humankind after a nuclear catastrophe which destroyed the world.

The plot of Petříková’s video begins where the unfinished, and now considered lost, film ends: the Magician was exhausted by his vain attempts and is overwhelmed by the desire to have a woman by his side. The film starts with several shots of mountains, monoliths and a volcano. The sky darkens and black clouds gather in the background. Afterwards, the viewers see a woman with an old-fashioned camera in an ivy maze, and the camera passes in an arc around her, until it becomes clear what she is filming. This character, played by Petříková, represents Alice Rahon. The camera travels through the black rectangle into a new scenery. The Magician, whom Petříková presents as an incarnation of the mountain and whose narrative is accompanied by the music of Ondrej Zajac, speaks about his failed attempts to create a new humanity — a woman draped in black appears in the mountain landscape. Petříková’s film has an open ending: the female figure walks along the bank and gradually disappears from the viewers’ sight.

Using overlapping narratives and images and the allusions to the myth of creation allow Petříková to re-write the myth and trace the feminine lineage in cultural history.

Lea Petříková is a visual artist and filmmaker. In 2016 she received her master’s degree from the Center for Audiovisual Studies (CAS) at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague and in 2018 her second master’s degree at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (VŠUP), Prague. Currently, Petříková works on artistic and film projects and also on theoretical research within her PhD candidature at FAMU. In 2020, she became a laureate of Jacques Derrida Prize, awarded by the French Embassy in Prague to the best PhD candidates in humanities and social sciences.