A more mundane description of the everyday and economic, confronting the tendency of poetic escapism in the other works at the exhibition 'TITLED'. This obvious overlapping from communist times, which can not be contained any more, is negotiated around a real estate space of 75m2.
As a part of solo exhibition 'TITLED'
Meet Factory, Prague, CR, (www.meetfactory.cz)
Text and Photograph
English translation of text:
Confession no: 1
March 5th 2003 I bought two apartments. The apartments were sold under the condition that the tenants living there could stay. Those tenants have been living there for years and they have old contracts with indeterminate duration and state regulated rent. Apartments were offered for sale by a private real estate agency called PSN. Both apartments are located in the same house, on same floor. It is possible in the future to join them up. One apartment is inhabited by the family of Mr. Rybin, who himself was born there. In the second apartment lives Mr. Vagenknecht, whom I have never met, and all administrative issues with me is communicated through his girlfriend, also living there. The flat was given to Mr. Vagenknecht by the state, sometime in the 1980’s. About a year before I purchased the apartments, most of communal property were offered by the state office to be bought by the tenants.
Family Rybin and Mr. Vagenknecht either had no money or believed that the price of rent will not rise. They preferred to remain as tenants for the future. Most tenants in this particular house become self-owners and joined the Union of Apartment Owners. Meanwhile, in the country, the rightwing political party ODS grew steadily more powerful and the deregulation of the communistic rent system became a political issue. I hoped as well for a soon commercialization of housing, thus being able to use the flats for myself.
For both apartments, I paid in total 770.000 Czech crowns in 2003. Being the new property owner I started to charge rent and since 2006 I boosted the price by approximately 30% per year, based on the normative advice by the Ministry of Finance. The girlfriend of Mr. Vagenknecht is sending rent regularly, while the family Rybin is in minus since 2003 with the amount of 12.000 Czech crowns, approximately four months of rent. I wrote them seven letters asking for money. Then I got to know the following regulation: If a tenant owes more then three months of rent payments, the owner can by law cancel the lease. Based on this legal formulation I sent Mr. Rybin a notice of eviction. After a week I visited the family Rybin. They expressed disfavor for leaving the apartment. They settled up the debt and entered a lawsuit. I registered in the Tenants Association, where they offer to both parties juridical counseling. First court hearing in this lawsuit will proceed this year.
Prague April 9th 2008, Isabela Grosseova