Description of a struggle room two

This Isolation Collection was initiated in Prague, in an even more Kafkaesque climate than usual. Artists witness and reflect upon world events, and for those of us who cannot stop being productive, even in lockdown, we have created this platform.

We have invited international artists to share their thoughts, stories and works relating to and/or born during these unusual and transformative times...

Barbora Mastrlová

The Big Jump is an old, but still very important installation of a diving platform on a balcony of Kafka's house during Art Prague 2014. The meaning of borderline between two worlds - the world of thoughts on one side and the world of acting out on the other side - this meaning in the current situation got a brand new emotional charge. Are we able to dive back into this still not so safe world? We are standing on the platform, which is shaking the more we are afraid.

It is not such a funny game anymore, or is it?

The Big Jump | Installation at Kafka's house | Wood, Steel | 90 x 60 x 200cm | 2014

Masa Hilcisin

This experimental video compiles documentary footage and fragments of daily life. Irregular dynamic, noise, and disjointed interrupted shots communicate chaos/disturbance/unrest/shock caused by the huge contrast between isolation and back to “normal”.

Shots of my personal daily trips by public transport are interrupted with a mixture of noise, uncertainty and personal inner conflict to return to outside life, public space, fast pacing, exposure to intensity...

a shocking return to "normal" (Whatever normal is?)... missing of quietness, intimate space on my own... It feels very strange to be suddenly exposed again to all this noise and intensity…

“Returning to…?” is questioning inner and outer struggle... struggle to return to "normal"... lack of desire to return to the kind of world that it used to be before the outbreak... all these weeks have been a complex inner journey on many levels...

Returning to...?

Video | 01:04 | 2020

Richard Edson

May 29


It’s night time. Spooky and tense time. About 200 are people gathered on the corners of 1st and Spring, a block from the police headquarters and 3 blocks from where I live. Mostly college age kids. Equally white, black and Latino. Lots of weed. Everyone’s wearing masks. Lots of screaming confrontations with police who are markedly stoic and restrained. Fuck you! Fuck the police! Something’s building. Tensions rising. I walk to the next corner. A much, much larger crowd. A much angrier, on-edge crowd. Itching for a fight. Itching for violence. A police helicopter circles overhead, its blades whipping up noise and frenzy, circling away then back again, over and over. Police walkie talkies shout updates. More screams: Fuck the police! Fuck the police! This, the sound track to a riot! Most protesters wait and see. Others push it. Firecrackers and fireworks explode on the surrounding streets. Huge, cavernous smoke bombs go off right in front of the cops. Electric fear. People run away. Shots: Ping! Ping! Ping! Rubber bullets. Kid filming with his phone had his phone ripped out of his hand by one of the rubber bullets. Every time the cops stop and make a stand the kids run back, taunting and yelling. Fuck the police! Fuck the police! Back and forth. Someone threw a bottle that fell ten feet from me. Lousy aim. A weak arm. Friendly fire. There’s a lot to be careful about. My eyes and ears are wide open. Looking around. Looking at everything. Checking for the exit route. Just blocks from my apartment. And the shit goes down. Bottles and stones are thrown at the cops. Cops still stoic, restrained, begin pushing the protesters down the street. More smoke bombs. More chaos. No one’s backing down. As the police continue to push us backwards whatever could be is thrown into the middle of the street. Windows get smashed by cement rocks, baseball bats, golf clubs. The glass door on a residential building is shattered. A Latino Security Guard comes rushing out trying to stand down the crowd, trying for the fierce intimidating look yet he was scared, his limbs shaking. Another man, maybe a tenant, a manager, a white man, came running out. Both the white guy, and the Latino Security Guard thrust out their chests posturing hard. A provocation. There’s yelling, pushing, one push too many. Punches thrown. The two guys are swarmed. They go down, try to get away. Much more than their macho posturing has bargained for. On hands and knees they scramble away and the protesters move on. Down the street a window at the Petit Café is smashed. Two guys grab the pillows from the couch in front of the window and try to set them on fire with a portable lighter. The pillows won’t light. He throws the pillow back inside and runs away.

Earlier this afternoon there are a group of about 20 protesters standing silently in front of the police HQ, all of them holding protest signs: BLACK LIVES MATTER. HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT. END POLICE BRUTALITY. I asked one of the kids if all this anger is more than just about George Floyd, but also about the fucked up state of the world not the least of it being the virus. He agreed. Things got to change, he said. He seemed like a sweet kid. Are you afraid of the violence? He shrugged. Not really. And then he smiled kind of shyly behind his mask. I want more violence, he said in a whisper. I talked to some others. None of them knew about Boogaloo. Do some research, I said. They’re infiltrating the protests. They’re chaos agents. They shot seven people in Louisville last night. They look at me and don’t know what to think. Look into it, I say, and leave them with that. And this is all-too true. Boogaloo is a term white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, and virulent racists use to refer to their desired upcoming civil war and race war. You say it can’t happen? Think. Who has all the guns? Which side do you think the militias, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers, and the millions of die-hard, insane Trumpers line up with? And our dear president is doing everything he can to fan the flames.

After coming home to get something to eat, to rest and restore, I figure maybe it’s all over. A friend calls. She’s watching the news and tells me the news helicopters show the police separating the downtown crowds and pushing them in opposite directions but then the live TV ended. Maybe it’s died down for the evening, she suggests. Maybe, I think, and I can stay in. I am beat but high with adrenalin. I don’t want to stay in. I’m a selfish, hungry photographer. A citizen journalist. After a little lull there are more sirens. And more. From every direction careening all over downtown. Then explosions. Then more sirens. A local news internet feed says 250 demonstrators are surrounded in front of the police headquarters and were sitting on the ground waiting to be arrested. The streets running towards Police HQ are lined with cops. Sirens. Explosions. I grab my bike, head in the direction of where the helicopters were circling. Windows everywhere are smashed. Graffiti is scrawled on every wall. Groups of protesters roam around. Mostly black and Latino. Little action except for five or ten cop cars, their lights flashing, their sirens blaring, racing around the city. Kids shout, give them the finger. One girl with long, curly, flaming red hair and a jog of vodka bring pieces of cement to another group of kids. One asked, ever so politely, if he could take one. Of course, she says. She’s drunk and high on adrenalin, violence, and vodka. Cops cars race by, they shout and curse and wait to throw stones till the cars are way down the street, too far for any of the stones to come close. No one seems scared in the least. Just the opposite. Exhilarated. High. Still it was only one small group and there’s no real action, and I’m exhausted, I go home.

Ben, a photographer friend calls. It’s around 1 o’clock. He’s heading downtown. What do you see? I ask. Nothing much yet, he says. Call me when you get closer. A minute later he calls. Just cops everywhere, he says. Keep looking, keep driving. He does. Nothing, he says. Nothing. A pause, then, O shit, a huge group in Pershing SQ. Park and I’ll meet you, I say. I grab my camera and hurry out. Sirens everywhere. Fireworks. Explosions. Smashed windows. Graffiti. We meet at 4th and Spring. You can’t get to Pershing SQ, Ben says.. He stops at a shattered window, sheets of shatterproof glass unwilling to let their frames go. Light reflects off it like a thousand flames of glittering white diamonds. We’re mesmerized, start taking pix. Wait, I say. This ain’t it. This ain’t nothing. Let’s find the action. I’d overheard people saying there was looting, Ben says. We head over to Broadway and Sixth. Big stores. More police. More groups of protestors, ten, twenty, thirty roaming the city, shouting, cursing at the cops. Broken glass everywhere. Cars of protesters, horns honking, drive around. One guy parks, his stereo blaring Wu Tang: BRING THE RUCKUS! BRING THE RUCKUS! He gets out and stares down the cops 100 feet away. On the corner of 6th and Spring the Starbucks is completely destroyed, all its windows shattered, everything inside tossed and tumbled and destroyed. Across the street Downtown Mac, my computer store, is completely ransacked. One dude stands out front telling another, yeah, they just came in and took everything. Five minutes and the place was empty. I was one of their first costumers. I’ve bought computers and had them fixed countless times. Nice guys. Small business. I hoped they have good insurance. Five minutes, the dude says. Five minutes and it was emptied out. Unbelievable. I feel bad for them, my friends the small business owners.

On Sixth on the other side of Broadway a gate's wrenched away from its frame. I hope that’s not Sam’s, I say to Ben. I know them. I’ve brought stuff in to get fixed. My jewelry guy. There's a crowd in front. People going in and out. Sam’s a sweet guy from Lebanon. Always joking. Has beautiful stuff. I feel sick. More looters go in, grab whatever they can and run back out. I stick my camera through the gates take photos. It’s not Sam’s. I’m relieved. On Broadway the Adidas store is breached, the gate yanked away, an area just large enough for people to slide in and out underneath with whatever they could put their hands on. Cops on foot come down the street. Rubber bullets fly. Ping! Ping! Ping! Ben and I run to the opposite side of the street and watch. On another street a long line of police cars, lights flashing, sirens blasting, speed by. Inside a parked car, its engine running, its stereo blasting hip-hop, another woman with flaming red hair shoots fireworks at the police cars speeding by. Ben and I we walk around some more. I’m exhausted. It’s 3 in the morning. I’m exhausted. What is the difference between protestors and trouble-makers and looters? Sporadic encounters here and there. Sirens and explosions but it’s all dying down. Ben’s car is parked in the opposite direction of my apartment. We say good-bye. I go home and soak in a hot bath and don’t ever want to get out.

I offer no judgement. Right or wrong, it is what it is. Some of the actions – the looting and thoughtlessness of violence are reprehensible but that’s missing the point. The point being that the pent-up rage and anger at not only the death of George Floyd but an American history based on the ideas and brutality of white supremacy, chattel slavery and Indian genocide. The point being that that is understandable. But the real point, the huge overriding point, and that point that is most fucked up and scary, is that the fissures and cracks in the body politic and social contract is fracturing, breaking apart and widening. The point being that when you have a president that is encouraging and facilitating these breaks, when you have white supremacists and white nationalists who have been waiting for this moment and are chomping at the bit and licking their lips, then this becomes a much, much larger story than protesters busting up property and a virus that is still not contained nor completely understood. The worst case scenario: all hell’s going to break loose that will make the virus and the protests seem like the preamble to a horrific story that is just beginning.

Israel Rabinovitz

Setting Hope on Fire

HOPE (Tikva in Hebrew)

The word, the phrase, the slogan are all set on fire.

The fire consumes the word, its significance, the hope inherent within.

The fear, the heat, the ashes and the coal remain forever as evidence of what it was and what it could have been.

Puma Perl & Charlie Waters


I move through the country

from my bunker to yours

Nothing to do but get drunk,

fuck, and write poems

We stumble through the desert

half-naked, clothing shredded,

bodies torn and bleeding

Burn the boundaries

Tear down the gates

Trash the safe words

We talk in screams

of pain and ecstasy,

no difference anymore

between the two

Fuck me hard

Hit me harder

Make me know I’m alive

Don’t ask, just take

what is left

Everything we want is here

and all that we need is more

We never know the time

The moon shines

The sun rises

The light fades

We live in desert darkness

The air turns cooler

The mountains melt

Somewhere, pavements crumble

and everything is perfect.

Charlie Waters composed an original piece of music after reading my poem "Bunkers," written shortly after the lockdown began.

This was a totally virtual collaboration.


New York City has been a Ghost town for me since the 21st Century kicked in.

So many amazing artists and friends passed away in the 80's especially… and now the death toll is adding up once again.

This Pandemic has brought back bitter sweet memories of friends lost.

I am currently naturally isolated on a hilltop in central Portugal... so not directly affected with how this virus is reeking such havoc in NYC.

That said… personally I did contract the virus in early February - flying back from India via Dubai.

It is a Kick Ass flu... not be be taken lightly… 10 days of delirious night sweat fevers and intense body aches. Fortunately I had no extreme complication and was home medicated. I am 68 and considered High Risk but I Kicked it… It can be beatable.

All in all , I question my mortality in these surreal times. There will not be a “back to normal school day”. The world will go on but not as it was …nor should it.

We Fucked it up... We need to refocus and clean up our act… Big Time.

Mother Nature is Pissed.

Stephen Reichard | 1988 / International Crysis | 1987 / Kathy Acker | 1983 / Leigh Bowery | 1990 / Andy Warhol | 1983
Mae Alexander | 1980 / Cookie Mueller | 1980 / Alice Heimelstein | 1981 / Tina Chow | 1983 / Divine | 1981
Ethyl Eichelberger | 1985 / Jean-Louis Morin | 1984 / Patti Ramelli and Susan Miller (still with us) / Michael Wilson | 1992 / Robert Mapplethorpe | 1980

Tyko Say

And though she was

naked she had run

that stop sign &

slammed her honda

civic smash to

other car she asked

me for advice, a bystander

drunk on the way to store

for more—and I told her

to rid that blood pour

the young man passenger

forehead her boyfriend

I later found out who had

passed at hospital hours later

Never knew what happened

to her—her eyes

that midnight begging

for sorrow to me

who had but

moments ago

not known anything

of her had

been chanting the street

in full tune

to then witness

that drunken run

and though she did

have honest tears

could not know

her name—only her

years later when

visited me in sleep

that stranger at

45th and Brooklyn

was crying pleading

and asked me for

the naked rest the

anger of my body and

fucked her I did


in the dream

Summer Seattle, 2014

I fucked her sadly in a dream

Directed & Edited by Tyko Say | Filmed by Nata Tsintsabadze | Film Score by Roksan Mandel | Featuring Tyko Say & Orkida Braculla

Shot in Prague, Czechia, April 18th 2020 | Filmed on VHS



Healing, excitement, mourning, insecurity, euphoria, memories, anxiety, vision, determination and hope. All of these emotions and experiences trapped within a few square meters every day. The art process is unstable, when daily routine becomes artistic creation, and dreams mix up with the reality.

Cuarentona (13.03. 2020)

Almost in mid-March, I was visited by my longtime best friend, theater director Peter Butko. As the Czech Republic decided to close the border as part of an epidemic, I offered him asylum at my home in Madrid because he needed to get to Brazil. I will soon be forty years old, with Peter we discussed everything that may happen in the world, how we will be able to create, and we wanted after years to create something together again in the following few weeks to come. Meanwhile, the coronavirus situation in Madrid has deteriorated significantly and the government has declared a national quarantine. Quarantine is called "cuarentena" in Spanish, also “cuarentona” is used as a slang for an older frivolous woman over forty (cuarenta -in Spanish). The evening before Peter's last chance departure to Brazil, I hastily without any preparation improvised and created this Queer portrait inspired by the painting Clotilde con mantilla negra by Joaquín Sorolla and called it Cuarentona.

Santa Corona (19.03. 2020)

The situation in Europe is serious. Spain and especially the capital Madrid became the epicenter of the Coronavirus infection. There is a strict curfew, thousands of people die and almost a hundred thousand are infected. On Friday night, I received a phone call that my ex partner was found dead in a Barcelona apartment. The world is suffocating with the spread of a mysterious disease and my heart is bleeding. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I discovered an article about the fact that there is a story about a woman who was tortured, murdered and later canonized as Saint Corona. The history of her legend extends to Bohemia - Czech Republic my home country, and therefore I cope with my sadness, fear and anxiety through my own art work again, and I created this apotheosis of Santa Corona, even though I am not a Catholic. However, her character and this self-portrait is for me a symbol of what is happening and the way of dealing with my mourning.

Queer Portrait of my husband as a Frida Kahlo Tribute dedicated to Dr. Susan (28.03. 2020)

My greatest support not only in these difficult times is undoubtedly the three most important people in my life. My husband, my mother who lives 2209 km away in my hometown České Budějovice and a lifelong friend, Dr. Zuzana, who knows me like no other in the world. Her birthday is soon and I would like to thank her for everything. However, I am isolated in an apartment in Madrid and there is no chance for me to buy and send her a gift. Zuzana loves Mexico and has been there several times. The famous painter Frida Kahlo dedicated one of her self-portraits to her doctor, who took care of her health and mental condition caused by an injury from her youth, which paralyzed her body for life and she transformed her pain into her well-known art work. Inspired by her portrait, my husband, who is Mexican American, as Frida Kahlo is dedicated it to my dear friend Zuzana.

The Magus - as Queer as a springtime ( 10.04. 2020)

My best friend Zuzana, already mentioned here, sent me the latest translation into Czech, a book a psychomagic autobiography of my lifelong role model, artist, director, writer, mystic and psychotherapist Alejandro Jodorowsky. The book came at the right time, I really need therapy, so reading this book will again lead me to the interpretation of tarot cards. Easter is approaching, a time of traditions, celebration and customs that are deeply rooted in the Czech Republic. That is why I mix Czech traditions of coloring eggs in onion skins and I transform the Spanish traditional hat into the attribute of The Magus who is otherwise naked as if free from earthly reality.

The following two photographs should be signed by Oscar Canedo, that is my husband, my love, my dear friend, my patient supporter, amazingly smart and beautiful person and artist as well. It was his idea, he said: Show them the routine, the daily life, the ordinary moments of our quarantine in our flat of our queer life. So here it is, I painted his face and part of his body. Once in yellow like a sun, like a radiant dragon of creation, manifestation of the divine order in physical reality, opening the way to immortality. And once in purple like a prince, like a lord worshipped for his compassion, tenderness and love.

Yellow Quarantine (18.04.2020)
Purple Quarantine ( 26.04.2020)

Wheel of fortune (28.04.2020)

Photograph as a Tarot card interpreting the symbols and meaning through my queer aesthetic that combines different cultures and spirituality of the world, historical connotations and art.

In thoughts of Dame Edith Sitwell (30.05. 2020)

The world is far from recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic, a virus that affects the lungs. Horrifying images of the murder of George Floyd go viral on social media, capturing a reality of racism that has long existed, but can no longer be denied.

The chain of events triggered by the Black Lives Matter movement brought attention to the ubiquitous prevailing racism of the privileged white race. We must admit that not only Americans but Europeans as well are raised as racists.

I can never understand completely how it is to be and live as a person of color, but I can listen to their needs, support them, give them a chance for equal opportunities, educate constantly myself, help with the education of white people about anti racism and be an active ally for the community. This self portrait is an interpretation of the quote that I changed to have a contemporary connotation: I am patient with ignorance, but not with those who are proud of it.

Original quote:

"I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it."​ Edith Sitwell

Garçon à l'éventail / Boy with a hand fan (05.06. 2020)

A diptych of photographs that symbolically closes this series. At the end of February 2020, I already had a settled date with my friend Jorge here in Madrid, for a photoshoot. I wanted to take a picture of him as a boy with a fan, a paraphrase of a painting by Pablo Picasso: Boy with a pipe. I painted a background base on the painting on an old sheet, replaced the pipe to a hand fan, which is so typical for Spain till these days, knitted a wreath of flowers and on the back of the overalls I hand embroidered the quote: "I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel ”

Exactly on the day of the photo shoot, a state of emergency was declared, the city was closed and a curfew. So I had to cancel the photo shoot and wait. After 97 days, Madrid is in phase 1, which means that certain rules still apply, but we can finally get out and finally meet a few people. I immediately called my friend and photographed him according to the original intention. And this quote, originally: "America, I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel" by Allen Ginsberg takes on unprecedented relevance especially these days in June, the month that is the international Pride of LGTBQ community, in 2020, when, based on events, it is dedicated to the rights and visibility of the community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Marek Nenutil


Everything in our lives has accelerated

In the last year the world has moved at an incredible pace. We have seen a new world emerge in a flash, and without proper direction from world authorities and the struggle will be passed on to future generations, a world of hidden faces, closed off emotions. Limited movement. We have seen the brightest and smartest trying to give us the correct information, and yet, many ignore them. Lives matter less than economies, business more than health.

“If people were able to read each others mind, they would avoid each other” - Immanuel Kant
Everything In Our Lives Has Accelerated | 100x85 cm | Oil on Canvas

Memory place

We tend to think of our brains as some sort of computer. Logical, practical and capable of infinite storage. However it isn’t. It’s organic - so it improves and suffers like any organic matter. Feed it correctly and it thrives, neglect it and it withers. Each interaction and experience exerts an unknown quantitive reaction which result in positive or negative effects.

“Our consciousness, feelings, thoughts work back on reality in a way that can have remarkable results. It is just a matter of realising that consciousness is interconnected, and the problems are solvable.” Niels Bohr
Memory Place | 90x80 cm | Oil on Canvas

Rivers of emotions, part 1

One person went up the stairs to begin isolation. The time in quarantine created a new reality. A new me. I had time to think, worry, create and rage against a tide of terror. What emerges now, I don’t know yet. For me, for many, maybe the effects won’t be seen for many years. Sociologists will discuss and study this time for many years. Where the rabbit took Alice away to Wonderland, I felt like it released me to world that is different to the one I knew. The world, it’s people and I have changed, we just don’t know in what way.

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I say to myself that what I see is not really me. It looks like me, but it’s not really me. It’s not me now. It’s me as I looked a billionth of a second ago, because that's the time it takes light to get from me to the mirror and back.” Michio Kaku
Rivers Of Emotion.Part1 | Diptych | 2x80x60 cm | Oil on Canvas

Too much is not enough

What reality are we providing for future generations? What information will win out, the fake or the real? Which gives them the best chance to thrive and grow? Do we paint a picture of idealistic blinkered lies? Or do we take responsibility now, and provide them with the tools to take over when we are all gone? Here the knowledge is controlled from a single source, with invisible or masked agents in the background.

  1. “The stream of knowledge leads to non-material reality; the universe is beginning to look more like a huge idea than a huge machine. The mind no longer appears to be a random invader in the material realm, but we should rather celebrate it as the creator and controller of the material realm.” Sir James Jeans
Too Much Is Not Enough | 170x140cm | Oil on Canvas

Interior Ministry

Rosemary Rollins

Thanks to the quarantine I finally got some time to paint. My mama says: "Do something nice." I sold some art only once, but I still have faith. I understand that people don’t buy struggle, they buy pretty things, polished. No difficulties, no conflicts.

Do Something Nice | 89,5cm x 64,5cm

Sail away from the land you felt so much pain in. Sail away from the place where you lost so many fights, it had started to feel like you could never win. Sail away from the many cheap houses you lived in. From those expensive rents where walls are thin.

Sail Away | 80cm x 60cm
Urban Paranoia | 50cm x 60cm

Christoph Brandl

These photos I took in a near-by forest on the day the Corona lockdown ended in Berlin, Germany. I photographed with a 40-year-old Leica camera and used film which had expired in the 70's. Apparently there was so little exposed material on the negatives that the laboratory returned the film without developing any picture. They added a note apologizing for my apparent loss.

After I struggled with scanning the negatives myself, at first the machine wouldn’t read any information at all, I discovered that the film indeed showed some exposed sections. Some parts possessed a structure, colors, lines, even bright green lights.

After quite some work, I finally brought out these images: parts of a cornfield in the middle of the forest, cut through by a police band that would be seen at the scene of a crime, a sunlit path, a clearing, or something similar, the image that abruptly ends, which lacks a large part ...

Imperfection, incompleteness, inexplicability, was everything in vain? Where do these times take us? What is to come, what will we have to do to live?

There's something at once familiar? | 5 parts | 2020

The Isolation Collection

Description of a Struggle

“We build useless war machines, towers, walls, curtains of silk, and we could marvel at all this a great deal if we had the time. We tremble in the balance, we don’t fall, we flutter, even though we may be uglier than bats. And on a beautiful day hardly anyone can prevent us from saying: ‘Oh God, today is a beautiful day,’ for we are already established on this earth and live by virtue of an agreement.” _ Description of a Struggle - Franz Kafka

If you want to know more about the project, support us and/or the artists, or if you are interested in buying a piece you've just seen, please contact us at isolationcollection[at]gmail[dot]com

The Isolation Collection is curated by Robert Carrithers, Hagai Segev, Jo Blin and Michael J. Rowland


© The Isolation Collection, 2020

© all rights reserved to the individual artists


The Isolation Collection