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Czech crates / 2014

/plywood, leatherette, 130x60x95 cm/

The Czech vaulting boxes are inspired by a construction of a classic vaulting box and simultaneously by a standard shape of a podium. The essential feature of both elements is their stability. When involved in a sport activity or when receiving an award for the best performance, it is important that the athlete automatically trusts that he stand on the object safely, that it will not slip under his feet, that he will not collapse etc.. The Czech vaulting boxes guarantee no such thing though. Their use is damn risky in fact. It is impossible to stand upright on them, as it is common on a podium. Undignified swaying relativizes the success. One little swing and one is in for taking an effort necessary to get back into position. As a practical thing the object is perfectly absurd. It can be as good as a mere swing for children.

Organised sport competition was once invented as a compensation of a desire for the real fight, desire to release one’s aggression in a physical confrontation whichever way motivated. They actually became a sign of a civilized society. In the Czech Winner series, or the object of the Czech vaulting box, the sport elements, competition as well as a potential victory in it serve as a metaphor for any effort of our national team member to succeed in the world. Taking for instance the visual arts as a sport discipline, our national colors will be sufficiently Anglo-American, i.e. with the natural potential for being in the spotlight  , to impress and win, however for a representative of a small country without functioning art market the chance to succeed is very small.

The vaulting boxes are based on the principle of dismountable parts that can be adjusted according to the skills and height of the athlete. This potential of adjustability and thus a potential to overcome seemingly endless hurdles on the way to imaginary victory unfolds itself also in the Czech vaulting boxes. The victory, which is for a Czech winner similarly absurd, unstable and wobbly just like the podium, which he longs to stand on.

The vaulting box, which in Czech is known as a Swedish box, really has a Swedish inventor, it was Pehr Henrik Ling. He became a master of martial arts after having trained with Ming, the Chinese trainer, for a few years. Ming influenced Ling in many ways and Ling then began developing new method of exercising and cultivating the body. For instance, he invented a special massage, gynaecological exercises, but also wall bars, known by the Swedish word ribstol in some countries.

The vaulting box is athletic equipment created by a set of dismountable, cone-shaped parts that mutually fit in and have a rectangular base. There is usually 3 to 7 parts, with the top one being suitably upholstered, covered with genuine or artificial leather for a softer contact with the gymnast. The fact that the parts are dismountable means that the equipment can be used for various body exercise and sporting games of gymnasts of all possible age and height. Vaulting boxes represent a basic equipment of each school gym.